#BlackGirlHealing: 94-Year-Old Grannie Nannie Shows Her Family “More Is Caught Than Taught”


Faye Paige (far left)

Just like reunions, holiday recipes and family photos, healthy habits can be enjoyed and passed down through Black families, too. Nan Paige – Grannie Nannie as her family affectionately calls her – is a trailblazer in her family when it comes to walking for better health. Today at 94, Grannie Nannie is still walking and in her footsteps are generations of walkers. What’s her secret to long life? Her daughter, Faye Paige, shares her mother’s wisdom with BlackDoctor.org. 

At age 94, my mother Nan Paige has lots of wisdom she is more than willing to share. One of her favorites about  family relationships is, “More is caught, than taught”. She positioned her family to catch the message that walking is a simple, yet radical act of self-care.

When we were children, my family was never physically active. When I gave up jumping rope, that was it, until I started walking in my late 20s. Not even my two brothers played sports.

Yet, Grannie Nannie (as my mother is fondly called) invited her friends for regular walks in Philly’s Fairmount Park, after her 5 girls and 2 boys left the nest, and the family business – The Corner Store –  where she worked was sold.

Some joined her. Others cautioned her about doing too much, and opined that her behavior was inappropriate. However, her sisterhood kept walking and enjoying their time in nature and being active.

Grannie Nannie with her daughter Susie

In 1998 at age 76, my mom and dad joined me, three of my sisters, and friends from around the country (supporting each other by phone and email pre-Facebook) to train to walk the Honolulu marathon and support the Leukemia Society’s Team-in-Training.