Life of adventure, Musings

I called her “Nana.”

8 March 2017 – International Women’s Day in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

The first country in the world to allow a woman the right to vote.

This day always makes me feel somewhat staunch in my demands for women’s rights around the world.  Yes, I have been to my share of marches to demonstrate with emotion and outrage.  Instead of focusing on how much further we have to go for equal rights.   I am going to concentrate on one woman who has lived an ordinary life and was extraordinary in her kindness to others.  Who made an impact on my life, as a child, and adult, plus I believe on all who knew her.

I called her Nana.

Nana forever smiling, loved teddy bears, cats and most of all her family.

Nana who was born between two wars.  Though the event that was to impact on her life the most was the Spanish flu epidemic period.  She was to lose both her parents by the time she was just 5 years of age. She had 3 brothers and 1 sister.

Unfortunately and sadly, the children were separated.  Nana and her younger brother went to live with an Aunt, her husband and their son, the other three went to a Catholic orphanage in Auckland.

This woman, I called Nana, loved not just me but all my siblings and cousins in her quiet, patient, loving and non-judgemental way. I never heard her say a wrong word against another soul.  To her, we were all perfect, and no one could tell her otherwise.

Though I am sure most ‘Nanas’ think the same.

Aren’t all Nana’s special women?  

I think they are, women with an essential role in any child’s life!

This is not to say that my Mum, Aunties, sister, female cousins and friends have not made an equal or more of an impact, because they have, during different segments of my life.

With a heart of gold, Nana made my school holidays so memorable.

Small things such as helping her feed all the stray cats around the countryside that used to visit her on a daily basis.  Each cat had its own bowl situated by the back door under a large plum tree.  From that prize-winning tree, jars of jam were produced for the local fair when my Mother and Auntie were young.  Most of us kids used to gorge ourselves on the delicious plump fruit [or was that just me?].  It was also a cool oasis in summer, and fun to climb.

An exceptional treat was a visit, to the tearoom [only one in Gisborne in the late 1960’s to 1970’s] which was above a department store, sipping my cold drink with a chocolate eclair.  Of course, I was in my Sunday best and Nana in her ‘going out’ cardigan and skirt [she never wore pants, and she had a tan mark where her gumboots finished just slightly below her skirts].

Those gumboots and her would have me and the rest of us traipsing around the small farm that she lived on helping her with various chores.  Such as stoking up the firebox under the copper so washing could be done. Then the laundry was taken to be hung out on the rope line and me, of course, got to pull the wooden pole down lower as Nana was short in stature.

The warmer months would see her get on her bike after filling her basket with flowers and cycle miles to the cemetery to lay flowers on her families headstones and other peoples’ that she had known.  She was still doing this in her late seventies.

Plus, there were other chores to do such as dealing with kumera plants that would be planted out in the back paddocks.  In front of those paddocks was a HUGE shed filled with wooden boxes that eventually would be used to transport the kumara to the local market.  That shed was the background of many family and cousin photographs that Nana took of our visits.  She loved to capture us all, not once, but twice, just to make sure she had a good shot.


Nana with 2 great-grandchildren – thanks to Julie [my cousin] for supplying some photos on such short notice!  Mine are in storage.

Those are just a few of the wonderful happy times I can remember, there are many, and I am sure my siblings and cousins have many ones themselves.   What’s, even more, fun than going over childhood memories is the keepsakes.  I still have letters that I wrote to Nana as a child.  Yes, she kept all the letters I and the rest of us wrote to her.

At the end of the day, you don’t need to have achieved something ‘extraordinarily significant’ in life to have left a huge mark on people’s lives.  Maybe it’s just all about extraordinarily sharing the love.

This is what our Nana did, shared the love in her quiet and gentle way.

Today we get to celebrate her as a woman.

And to say “Thank you.”

 To all women, 

who make our world a better place in which to live.

34 thoughts on “I called her “Nana.””

  1. Oh she sounds so lovely and what wonderful memories you have. I agree, you really don’t have to have done anything extraordinary to leave your mark. Grandmothers are so special. I still miss mine dearly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lovely post. my nana was a hypochondriac arachnophobic gastric sufferer who would play endless games with my brother and me. she taught me chess and bare faced cheating, two essential life lessons with a duplicitous older brother. thanks for the memory and follow…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this. My grandmother has been gone for over twenty years, but I wrote a post about her two weeks ago. Its amazing how somebody can have such an influence on your life

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lisa. Yes, you are absolutely right, as with most things in life, until they are gone do we truly see the value. She lived a long life, and at the end, it was better to see her without pain. There is always the question did I spend enough time with her as an adult? Most probably not! Though we did send each other letters on a regular basis for many years, in between visits.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. There are many elderly people out there without children, you may meet one to share time with.


  4. Loved this! My parents were much older when they had me, so all my grandparents had passed on by the time I was very young. My husband’s grandmother is very special to me and we’ve become close over the years. I feel fortunate I finally got to have that sort of relationship, even if it was later on in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Christine and isn’t it great that you got a chance to have a Grandmother experience. Whether its blood related or not I don’t think that matters at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem. Pesky things happen on blog sites and it’s always comforting when sometime let’s you know that something isn’t working.

        I wanted to comment on your “Looking. Eating.Smiling.” post but it’s closed for comments. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a very timely post for me. My nana (oma) just passed away and her service is tomorrow, in Belgium. She meant the world for me – so many amazing memories. She lived a full life, but I will miss her dearly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liesbet no matter how old we get it is still hard and sad to say goodbye for those left behind. All the best for a fitting farewell to your loved Oma.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s