Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Fierce and Strong Nana

I had a conversation with my mum at the weekend about women in my family. I'm going to be "marching" soon and wanted to know if my Nana was a suffragette. Since women didn't get to vote in the England till 1928 I thought she might have been an activist. I had visions of her as a trail blazer and a feminist because I know that she was strong as nails.  Turns out she was both of those things (and much more) but didn't march.

She was the mum of 7 kids and beloved by all. My Granddad was a horseman in World War 1 and had the most terrible experience that left him shell shocked and never the same (if you have watched "War Horse" you will know what he endured). He died just before I was born, in 1969.

Smithy Lane - the road my Nana & The Mission is on
My Nana was amazing. She brought up seven kids and did so during great hardship. She cooked food over the fire (imagine, no oven), hand washed everything, grew vegetables and fruit in the garden. She worked hard. I remember her house clearly - a semi-detached house on Smithy Lane that was always safe & felt like home when you visited.

Even though I was young when she died I remember a few things:

  • Putting on a singing & dancing show in her back garden to the family with my cousin Julie and charging everyone 50p to watch.
  • Going to The Mission (named The Good Shepherd in this Google map image) next door to her house each Sunday, for Sunday School. That place was our family church and I spent most of my childhood at services or at fetes or decorating the harvest window. 
  • My Nana teaching me how to fold and criss-cross paper so that it burned slowly in the fireplace.
  • Nana letting me borrow a craft book on the day that she died.  
  • The terrifying, awful night time phone call, informing my mum that her mum had died in a car crash.
  • Her funeral
She died in a car accident when I was 9 and I wished I had known her more.

I was wondering what I should put on my sign at the march but I just got my answer. I'm going to celebrate this kick-ass, strong, kind Nana of mine. 

Nana, Uncle Harry, Auntie May, Auntie Ada & my mum


Nana & mum

My Beautiful Nana

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