Forty years ago today my Nanny died. I still miss her. She was my friend, my confident and she loved me unconditionally.
My Nanny was born towards the end of the nineteenth century, she was number seven of eight children. When she was just two years old, her mother died and my Nanny was given to her aunt and uncle to raise. As a teen she moved in to help her older sister raise her children. The first World War gave my Nanny the opportunity to work outside the house in a munitions factory. My Nanny married in the 1920’s and had my Uncle John and then my Dad. In November 1942 my Nanny became a widow looking after two young lads. At a time when there were no widows pensions, life must have been so hard.
I first remember Nanny when I was two years old. My Mom was in hospital for three months before she had my twin brothers. Every day I remember my Dad getting me up and bundling me into the car to take me round to Nanny’s. We all had breakfast, then my Dad went to work and I stayed with Nanny all day.
Nanny introduced me to my love of reading. She had a big book that used to be my Dad’s and Uncle John’s. Every afternoon she read me stories… either about Binkle and Flip Bunny or Hop, Skip and Jump the three bad brownies by Enid Blyton. I knew the stories off by heart but I relished my Nanny reading them. My Nanny taught me to knit and she encouraged me to ‘help’ her cook. We picked raspberries from her canes in her garden and made raspberry jam.
Once my Mom and brothers were home, I went to Nanny’s on Wednesdays and Saturdays. When I went to school, I still went to Nanny’s on Saturdays. My Dad took me and the twins round on Saturday morning and Uncle John would be there too. The twins and I loved playing with him. He would take it in turns to bounce us on his knee to the song “this is the way the lady rides…” Before lunch everyone but me went home, I spent all day until after tea with Nanny. It was great fun.
Sometimes I walked to Nanny’s house after school and that was a real treat.
In 1974 we moved to Solihull because of my Dad’s job. Soon afterwards, Nanny moved in with us, having the front room as a bedroom. I remember loving this.
As Nanny got older, heart problems kicked in but she always had time for me. We had many heart to heart talks in her room.
Nanny always had a smile on her face and love in her heart for me. When she died, I was devastated. At thirteen years old, I couldn’t see how I would face the rest of my life without Nanny. Forty years have passed and I still miss Nanny. I am looking forward to the day we will meet again.
Nanny was my friend and confident who loved unconditionally. I was blessed to have her as my Nanny.
I love you Nanny.
Such a beautiful tribute, Julia! Thank you for sharing your Nanny with us!
How wonderful your Nanny was! I, too was best friends with my Grammie on my moms side. She was a warrior for Jesus. She was our family’s prayer warrior; waking up each morning and having prayer time without fail. We walked, talked, camped and sang together. When I got my drivers license she was the first person I took for a ride. I share your devastation at our grandmother’s passing but oh, how magical and sustaining are the memories!
I still have my mother’s illustrated hardback copy of Hop, Skip and Jump which she was given as a child. It was one of my favourite books, and I read it to my children. Who can ever forget the Saucepan man? I don’t think you every forget your childhood stories or being read to by someone you love.