I remember Nanna. I remember the days when excitement was going to Nanna’s for a traditional Sunday lunch. Roast lamb, baked veggies and ice cream and home-made custard. I remember school holidays and getting to sleep in the room with the old black-and-white television on the makeshift bed. Nanna made it feel like a special place just for me.
I was not very old when Nanna introduced me to Aussie Rules football. Whenever she could, I was bundled up against the cold and transported along with baskets of food and hot drinks to feed the masses at the local football ground. I remember how she loved those Saturdays, especially when her beloved East Perth with Polly (Graham Farmer) won the match. I remember her photo in the paper, hitting the umpire over the head with her walking stick.
Her cooking was amazing. Whether it was a stew or a special Christmas dinner complete with puddings filled with coins, everything tasted of love.The day the nuns tied me to a chair on top of a desk to punish me for needing the toilet during class, I remember how my rather large Nanna, with bandaged, sore legs, hobbled up to the school. She was a sight to behold as she stood there lecturing the nuns on what “the good Lord” would think of their behaviour.
I remember when her galah escaped the house and she cried all day long, no matter what she was doing. I remember when he returned to her back door, two days later. He never left again, even though she always left the cage door open. He died years after she left us.
When I was bullied mercilessly because of my red hair and freckles, Nanna explained to me that some people were not as lucky as I was to be “kissed by the sun”. Just be kind to them because they were a little jealous.
When I got my first boyfriend and he broke my heart, I remember her telling me that “his lordship was never going to know what a beautiful flower he missed out on nurturing”. I remember when my cousin told her he was gay. He was so scared to tell her. I can still see her crying and him apologising. She told him he did not need to be sorry. Her tears were for all the heartache she knew he would suffer before the world understood. How right she was.
They called my Nanna Ned. I don’t know why. I do know that everyone loved her. Family, neighbours and the local grocers all came to her for advice. They would call “Good morning, Ned” as they passed her gate or stopped for a chat.
To me she was just my Nanna. Her joy at going for a drive and having a plain Cadbury chocolate and a coke as a treat. Her love of people. Her dedication to family. How I loved to visit her. How I still miss her. I am now a grandmother. Life is different these days. Children don’t seem to want their children to spend so much time with Nanna. When I look at my grandchildren I wonder how they will remember me. I can only hope it’s with just a fraction of the love I will always have for my Nanna. Oh how she would have loved them.
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