I once heard that, “Memories help us remember the June roses during the winters of our lives.” Well, my Nana was born August 1st, it was as close a June birthday as she would get.
Nana’s house in the summer was a magic kingdom of sweets, swimming, make-believe and Solar Babies. We always had a bedtime snack and what my mother called, “junk cereal” for breakfast – it was awesome!
As long as I can remember, Nana had silver hair and her face was ageless. She and Grandad would come to visit us when we lived in San Francisco, San Diego and Pennsylvania – they are dedicated grandparents.
In 1991, Nana would buy Bright Red wellington boots in England and bring them to me – I loved those boots and wore them everywhere.
During the summer of 1992, I went out to Oklahoma to spend the entire summer with my grandparents, alone. I was being home-schooled at the time and had gotten behind in my math and with my english paper on the Sioux Indians. Nana made me sit at the kitchen counter everyday and work on my math until it was completed.
March 1993, I was so excited to visit England with my family. My Nana was born and raised in England, so I felt like England was a part of me, because I was a part of her. (The orange and brown coat was my favorite – I was devastated when I grew too big for it).
Summer of 1995, my dad decided to retire and move our family from California to Oklahoma…..away from his good job, my good friends and the ocean. I was really disappointed about this at the time, but my dad wanted to be closer to his parents, siblings and my mother’s parents.
1997 – My sister was teaching me how to drive her manuel transmission car and I was only 15 – we drove by my Nana’s house and she was doing yard work in her front yard. We drove by honking and waving – later that day, when we got home, she called the house and said, “if I EVER see you driving without a license again – I’ll call the police on you myself.” I didn’t realize at the time, the police couldn’t arrest me – I was a minor – but I didn’t do anything stupid in front of Nana again; at least, not intentionally.
I attended college at The University of Tulsa, so I was able to stay close and frequently visit my Grandparents that lived near Oklahoma City.
In those visits, I recorded Nana’s stories and photographed her doing daily things
Drinking Lipton’s Tea – which she said she has only had Lipton’s since she came to this country (1950’s) and only drinks English tea when she visits England…”and that because they don’t have any Lipton’s.”
She wore a necklace around her neck with several charms: a Christian symbol, a Jewish symbol, a Muslim symbol and something else, but she would say, “I believe all people are good.” She is correct, good people are good.
Her husband was her best friend and Her friendship with her children second only to her husband. Her grandchildren were her greatest treasures.
She passed away on December 30, 2009, My Father’s Birthday, after a short battle with cancer.
Nana chose for her memorial video to end with the song, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” and finished off with Liverpool F.C.’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Because she is awesome and oh so right, we are never alone.
Keeping My Sabbath Day Holy