It was what I called my maternal grandmother. It was what many people called her. It was given to her by her husband, the man I call Grandpa Honey.
No one knows what Zun means. My grandfather, as far as I know, never provided an origin story of how he came to give it to her.
I have never thought to consider it to be anything other than that which encompassed her very nature. The name Zun fit her. She had plenty of other nicknames; Jackie was one I heard her called that was based on her maiden name and was used by those who grew up with her.
She was pretty wonderful as a grandmother. She saw fun and adventure everywhere. She traveled well, she enjoyed people, she was bright, and curious and was a wonderful seamstress. She had a joie d’vivre that was pretty catching.
Much of my life has her at its center.
She visited us regularly when my parents lived overseas. She gave me a doll once, and she had made all of her clothes and even the shoes. They were beautiful doll clothes that I played with until they were shreds of the grandeur they were.
One of the things that I most strongly associate with her is a set of sheets she had. The closest I can come to find are the one pictured below, but that is not it. Her sheets had a dark blue background. I loved those sheets.
We lived with her after my parents separated and my mother brought my brother and I to the USA. I was terribly homesick for the country I grew up in most, I missed so many things. Those sheets helped soothe those feelings. I would lie in bed with Zun and watch television. She had a king size bed which felt huge to my little body and I would stretch out and put my fingers out flat and I would imagine I was back in the jungles that I was able to visit often. It was as if the caricature ferns on the sheets transformed into the real ones. The big leaves I used to pretend to be an elephant with would magically appear in my hand as if just pulled off the plants that were pictured on the sheets.
The irony is that I did not live in the jungle, though we were able to visit often.
Those sheets reminded me of my old home as I was trying ever so desperately to get used to my new one.