I would like to introduce you to Verna Eckman, AKA Nanny Eckman, tag maker extraordinaire. She is wife of one, mother of four girls, Donna, Diane, Denise, and myself, Nanny to nine and great-Nanny to one. Nanny has been helping and giving her input to our company before we were Meadowbrooke Gourds and this was just a dream and an idea. Back in November of 1993, a few years before Meadowbrooke Gourds even existed; Ben (the founder of Meadowbrooke Gourds and her son-in-law) brought some of his early ideas before a bunch of family members at a gathering at his house to see what we thought and to get ideas. He had been tinkering in his wood shop and had come up with several very simple gourd designs. Verna was there with her ideas and suggestions of what she liked and what she thought he could improve upon. For her input he gave her some of the earliest gourds ever produced which she still has today, or has given to me for the retail store to be displayed as “our early years” gourds.
Over the years since then Nanny was there to help where ever she was needed. She helped in various areas from babysitting her grandchildren to cleaning our homes and helping with our laundry while we worked to grow the company. She continues to help by sitting and putting string on our birdhouse tags. Yes, like everything else we do at Meadowbrooke each tag is touched by a human hand to put a string or elastic band on each one of them. As she has gotten older her feet and legs have not cooperated and she does not get around quite as good as she used to in her younger years. Because of this she has picked up doing all the birdhouse tags and also started helping my sister, Diane, by stringing our tags that go on our seasonal and everyday products. It is the one thing she can do to help out from the comfort of her recliner. All in all, she does thousands of tags a week and tens of thousands in a year’s time.
Although, she might not be able to get around as well as she used to, she still enjoys helping where she can and doing the one thing she has gotten really, really good at – “making tags”. So hopefully the next time you see our tags hanging on our gourds, you will think of Nanny Eckman sitting and watching TV while she does the one thing she is still able to help us with after all these years.