Shirley Denenny Giltzow is a long time resident of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Southern California. She raised her three children in this community while attending university classes in order to obtain her post secondary degrees, which include a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in education from California State University Long Beach, and a Doctoral Degree from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Dr. Giltzow began teaching, and soon moved into educational administration. After holding the position of school principal, she eventually became the assistant superintendent for human resources for the Lawndale Elementary School District. She also taught graduate level courses for several universities including Loyola Marymount and CSU Northridge. Her career experiences also helped her to develop her extensive writing skills. She has been very active most of her life in philanthropic organizations, including the Lawndale Rotary Club and P.E. O.
Living in a multigenerational family seemed natural during the 1940s and 1950s in Los Angeles. Having a grandmother, with all of her “rules” for behavior for her grandchildren didn’t seem unusual for the Denenny family, especially when the children knew that the grandmother was in charge!
Listening to their grandmother’s stories, told over and over again was a part of growing up in this household. The witty, wise and wonderful grandmother “held court” each day with her family, and heaven help the unsuspecting grandchild, or later the great grandchild, who didn’t properly greet and show respect to “Nana”. After the Denenny children became adults and had children of their own, “Nana” continued to live with her daughter and son-in-law, who later also moved to Rancho Palos Verdes.
Even though she pursued a demanding professional career in educational administration, in her personal life Shirley Giltzow continued to be influenced by her grandmother. The vivid and detailed stories that “Nana” told about her many experiences and the lessons she learned from them during her long life needed to be recorded for the generations that followed her, as the author knew that some day Nana’s story-telling voice would be stilled.