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Bonnagranny Reflects on Time Spent as Ole Miss Tri Delt

By Caroline Stephenson
Hottytoddy.com intern

Ole Miss alumna Laddie Neil is one of the hippest grandmothers one will ever meet. She has spent the past five summers traveling to Manchester, Tennessee with her three best friends for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. These four women—in their late 80s— love attending a very lively music festival along with 80,000 much younger music lovers.

Laddie Neil (bottom left) and the rest of the Bonnagrannies. Photo courtesy of Neil’s daughter, Nancy.

“We were not rock ‘n’ roll grandmothers, but we went and had a great time. We got to be known as Bonnagrannies,” Neil said.

She said on one occasion the four women had the privilege to sit backstage with Chris Stapleton and eat barbecue with his band.

“We got VIP treatment in air conditioned tents and were driven around in golf carts and got to sit with some of the artists backstage,” she said, proudly.

Neil and her three best friends walked around the campgrounds with their sparkly red and blue cowboy hats, canes that folded into chairs, and red T-shirts reading #Bonnagrannies. Festival attendees would stop to take their picture with them, Neil said. The Bonnagrannies quickly became famous.

From Oxford to Bonnaroo and Back

Neil said her heart is forever in Oxford. Photo courtesy of Laddie Neil.

Neil said she met these friends at her first college, Ward Belmont Junior College for Girls in Nashville. After two years, she transferred and followed in her two older sisters’ footsteps to the University of Mississippi.

She went to Ole Miss in 1948 where she studied home economics. Neil was proud to study this major as she learned everything there was to learn about becoming a mother after college. She spent six weeks of her time at Ole Miss living in a practice house with five other women where she learned how to make beds, plan meals, and everything that was important to know when one got married.

Neil was very involved in her sorority, Delta Delta Delta, and became Chi Chapter President her senior year. This was one of her favorite years at Ole Miss and she wishes she could relive it all over again, she said.

“I was a very happy camper at Ole Miss. Nowadays if I see an Ole Miss car sticker, I’ll stop and honk at them!” she said.

On Sundays Neil loved going to First Baptist church unless she was dating someone who was a Methodist, she said with a smile.

“I met a lot of boys because I believed in variety and spice of life,” she said about her time at Ole Miss.

Even though Neil greatly enjoyed being a Bonnagrannie, the experience came to an end in 2017 as they said goodbye to their dear friend, Mary, who hosted them in Manchester every summer.

“I was very lucky to have this fun experience with my three best friends at our old age,” Neil said.

To learn more about the Bonnagrannies, follow this link. 

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