‘Nanie’ is a gift to essay winner

May 6, 2013

Sometimes the greatest moms are not the ones who gave us birth. Sometimes the greatest mothers are aunts, an older sibling or a fostering adult. For Antonio, she is his grandma.

Linda Thyken is “Nanie” to Antonio O’Conner Montes, 13, who wrote the winning essay in the Clayton Pioneer’s Mothers Day essay contest.

Linda, or Miss Linda to those who know her from Mt. Diablo Elementary School, knew something was in the works when Antonio told her she “just might win a spa day.”

When the Pioneer called with the news that his essay had won, an overjoyed and speechless Antonio handed the phone to his grandmother.

“He was so excited,” Linda said. “Before I got off the phone, he had called his sister and his grandpa and his aunties.”

Antonio’s essay, “Greatest Mom,” touched the hearts of all of us at the Pioneer and won his Nanie a gift basket of goodies donated by Clayton’s generous merchants.

Linda and her husband, John, have been married 20 years and together have raised their nine children and Antonio and his sister.

Antonio is a student at Spectrum School in Pittsburg.

We’ll let him continue the story:

Greatest Mom (Grandma)

Linda Ann Thyken is her name, but she also goes by “beautiful”— that’s what my auntie calls her; “Bella”— that’s what my cousin calls her; “Miss Linda” — that’s what the kids at her school call her; and me—I call her “Nanie.”

She’s not my Mom, she’s my Grandma. She had already been raising three kids, pretty much on her own, and then added six more step kids and my grandfather to the bunch. When she had nearly survived all that, she was needed to take custody of me and my sister when we were both very young. She saved our lives and I can’t thank her enough.

To add to all of this, I’m special needs and a handful at times. But my Nanie has not stopped fighting for a good school for me and extra activities. My Nanie is a great cook, a great mom, and a great grandma to her 13 other grandkids. My Nanie never stops cleaning and working to make my life better.

Her dream is to go to Italy someday. I will save all my money and send her there. But for now, I will hope I win this contest so she can be taken care of for once and let her see that I am thankful for everything she does. I love her so much and always will. Happy Mother’s Day to my Super Hero.

And Happy Mothers Day to all the moms and grandmas from the Clayton Pioneer.

Thank you to our generous merchants who donated the gifts for our Mothers Day Essay Contest and to Tammy Cerruti who designed the beautiful keepsake gift box.

  • Beautique in the Clayton Station, Skin care gift set
  • Bella Mia Spa in the Clayton Station, Body lotion and a gift certificate
  • Clayton Valley Bowl, 8 games
  • Clayton Valley Shell, a $25 gift card
  • Computers USA, a 2GB flash drive
  • Ed’s Mudville Grill, Lunch or dinner for two
  • La Veranda Café, a $50 gift certificate
  • Rodie’s Feed and Pet Supply, LED reading glasses
  • The Royal Rooster, Body lotion and silver necklace




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