I used to think it was great living near my Nana. It was alot better than having the long walk from my Ma’s house up to hers. The first time I walked up to her on my own I was about 14. I took a short cut through the fields. It was lashing rain and I was already soaked by the time I fell into a ditch full of water. I was like a drowned rat when I arrived at Nana’s. She took me in and made me wrap my legs in newspapers so I wouldn’t get arthtritis. When I got home later on I had headlines all over me.
When I lived nearby I used to knock into her whenerver I could. Sometimes when I knocked she’d be asleep. I can still remember looking through the window to see her snuggled up on the sofa. Cuddled up under a colourful blanket, her feet up with them little woolie slippers on. Other times when I knocked she’d be awake and in great form. Laughing and cracking jokes. She had such a lovely jolly laugh, a face that was always smiling, and full of optimistic sparkle.
During one visit I suggested that I bring the guitar over and maybe record her singing a song she liked. I’m terrrible on guitar so it’s just as well i didn’t. But we discussed what songs she’d like to do and she mentioned an Elvis song ‘I love you, Because’. Then she sang the whole thing from start to finish right there while I sat and listened.
She had a gorgeous, confident singing voice. When my daughter Erica was getting Christened (in Church Street Church funny enough, the church where my nan came close to being a nun when she was younger) - we were all so young, green, and uncomfortable with the ceremony, and I remember being so proud to hear her singing, leading the way and showing us all how it’s done.
She loved her food too I remember. But she complained a bit about the quality of food these days, saying the chops were all water. Not like the meat years ago she’d say, so tasty that you’d get up in the middle of the night for a sausage. She hardly ever let me leave without giving me some food to take home. She’d stick everything and anything into my hand. Once I left with a half eaten packet of penguins and a tomato for some reason. She was always giving me apples for the kids too.
Once I asked her for her happiest memories and she shared two with me. One was of her communion, she said she’d loved being all dressed up and feeling so special. But the second was my favourite. She told me she used to live by he canal, ‘You should drop in sometime,’ she joked. She remembered being very small, only a toddler , and a woman, a neighbour that she loved, had given her a cooked potato soaked in butter. She said she’d felt so happy that day, that it was heaven, sitting at the top of the stairs and munching away.
She shared that wonderful moment with me and the amazing thing is that each one of us grandkids can say that at some stage in our early lives, she made us all feel just as good as she did that day too.
Rest in Peace Nana. We’ll miss you and are forever grateful for the love you gave us all.