Things My Grandma Taught Me

A husband and wife should never let the sun set on anger……

A husband and wife should never sleep in separate beds…….

A short pencil is better than a long memory……

We called her Nana.  Her birthday was Boxing Day and it was only in her last few years she discovered she was two years older than she believed she was.  She went and got her birth certificate and found her family had either not remembered her true age or her sister got forgetful.

Nana was always in my corner of the boxing ring of life.  And she loved, adored and supported my mum.

The interesting thing about Nana is that she was NOT a blood relative.  Mum and Dad were both what aussies call 5 pound poms.    Dad was a boilermaker by trade and Mum and dad emigrated for a “better life” in the early fifties – a time when Australia paid to ship over a suitable workforce.    Initially mum and dad lived in a hostel near Newcastle ( north of Sydney) and dad worked building boats.

Nana and Poppy were in effect next door neighbours to Mum and Dad when they moved to Sydney and bought a fish and chip shop as business.  They worked the shop and lived upstairs.  Nana and Poppy owned the hairdressers next door.  Nana and Poppy had one daughter ; Auntie Norma who was a bit of a party girl but who never had children, so when Mum and Dad had first me and then my sister Sharon, we became the grandchildren they never had.  Plus both sets of our biological grandparents lived still in England and we only met them once or twice.

Poppy adored me and I have grown in the sure confidence of that adoration.  He would do magic tricks for me and dandle me for hours on his lap.  He passed away in 1964 and I still remember him – and I remember the love.  Poppy was much older than Nana.

When Mum and Dad worked long hours to put us through private school and to buy their own house, nana would come to our house and get we two girls off to school and it would be nana who would supervise us during school holidays.

She was Mum’s best friend, and to all intents and purposes my Nana.  I miss her.  I will be doing the strangest things and something she said will populate my thoughts and issue forth from my mouth.

Nana was a tiny dark hued woman who always wondered if somewhere in her background there may have been a native Australian antecedent. Although in her family they always claimed there was an East Indian way back when….  Her sisters and all otehr relatives were fair skinned and red haired, but she was dark of skin and hair and eyes.    We often smile and say Amy resembles her in colouring and Tess in height.  (Interesting twhen there is no biological link…)

Nana was a character addicted to Vincents and Bex powders ( Marg…run up to the corner shop and get me a box of Bex………)  She was known to self medicate as well.  nana ws addicted to watching long summers of tennis and when this was on throughout long summer nights, she would take valium so she would sleep through the day and then stay up all night to watch the tennis.    My nana the drug addict.  We only found this out when she was in her 90’s.

As as adult when my sister married the first time it was my task to make sure Nana made it to the wedding. So I stayed overnight at her place.  Nana put me to bed and tucked me in at 8.pm.  I mean – what can one say??? I did get her there on time. And safely.

Nana passed away and left us 15 years ago.  I think of her often and the incredible love that has cushioned and blessed my walk through life thus far.  I count Nana as one of my blessings.  Her love lived for our family forged an understanding of love that lives within me and with me.


4 comments on “Things My Grandma Taught Me

  1. I find little truisms and her little sayings popping up in meetings and in my dealings with my family. Her voice is like a subtle subtext. Her love like a cloak.

  2. She sounds like she was an amazing human being- just like your mom and You. She gave you all beautiful gifts that you still carry today

  3. She ives close to the centre of my heart…..I find traces of her in my every day’s walk through life.

  4. What a wonderful story! There are people in this world that leave such unforgettable marks in our lives. I liked reading this.

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