Sunday, 7 May 2017

#52Stories, Week 18, Grandmothers Part One

I have two, but I don't think I will ever be one myself. As cool as that could be, it isn't in the life-plan of the only person who can change that outcome. In the first place I am surprised I am a Mum. That certainly was never an aspiration at the top of my list - like it is for many people - so it would be wrong of me to feel that as a Mum it is my right to also be a grandmother. It also isn't my place to influence her decisions. 

So anyway, what are my memories of my two grandmothers ?

They were different, but the same, in many ways. They were both known as Nana. They both drove the same type of car - Morris Minor. At one point they both lived in Hamilton. One was tall, the other was not. One was from a large family, the other was not.

My paternal grandmother Violet Ruth nee Cooper, was always known as Ruth. To us she was "Little Nana" on account of her height and in comparison to our other Nana. She was born in Manakau near Levin in 1896. Both of her parents were born in Marlborough, 2 of her grandparents were born in England and 2 were born in Nelson, New Zealand. I remember visiting her at home in Frankton and being served morning tea in the kitchen. Crackers with slices of tomato, or cheese and tomato. 

She had a great laugh, a hysterical uncontainable giggle that could just get out or control. My Dad has it too. I remember one time sitting at the table, maybe on Dad's knee, having morning tea there. My Uncle Gordon was there too and Nana had over-peppered the tomato. He sneEEZED ! and then sneezed some more. It was pretty explosive, but then Nana and Dad just started to giggle, and giggle and giggle. They couldn't stop. Even Uncle Gordon joined in, after he had recovered from the sneezing. I think it is the first time I remember seeing someone laugh so much that tears rolled down their cheeks. In some photos I have she is in a fit of giggles, or has a mischievous glint in the corner of her eye.

Nana went on some cruise holidays; to the UK and to Fiji. I have postcards (in a box somewhere) which she posted back about her travels, and a little sailor doll from the Flavia. I am sure I remember going on board with Dad to see her cabin on her return from one trip. Imagine that ? It seems so incongruous now that customs didn't stop us. 

Can you spot her in this one taken at Gretna Green ? Look closely - you can see her giggling !

When I was 5 and a 1/2, Nana remarried and moved to the bottom of South Island, near Invercargill. Dad had a reel to reel cassette tape recorder and we used to record "news" on to it and post a reel to Nana in Spar Bush. We visited a couple of times on Christmas holiday trips. What I remember most about those times were the enormous farmhouse kitchen (it was so sunlit), fresh baking, Fluffy the cat who always seemed to have kittens, milk fresh from the cowshed, Tip the sheepdog and the night a bull got into the vege garden and woke us all up.

Later they moved back to Hamilton. There was a wishing well in their front garden, fuschias and a well maintained vege garden at the back as well. 

Excuse the clothes choices - it was the 70's ! be continued 

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