I love being a Nana, it is such a special relationship, so different than motherhood.so much more relaxed.
Yesterday, I took Charlotte out for her birthday. She turned 8 on the weekend and this was the first change I had had to do something special, We drove to Hawera and went to the Warehouse. Fortunately for her, Littlest Pet Shop was on special so she got a little more than usual. The rule is $40 but I usually go over that, and I did by a little but then it is what Nana’s do. Then we went to McDonald’s for dinner. I do this with all my older grandchildren, we have special time and they get to buy what they want.
And I remember my relationships with my own grand parents. I have few memories of Dad’s mother, Granny Hobbs. His father died long before I was born and she died when I was quite little. She was the same age as my great Nana Alsop. I remember she had a potty under her bed. She had a shock of white hair and she loved her animals. When she went down the drive to the letter box, she would be followed by her dog, her cat and some chickens. Her cat had been hit on the head with a spade and buried when it was a kitten but it climbed out of the ground and found my grandmother. They took him to the vet and he said there was little hope but where there is life there is hope and it lived to be very old, minus one eye. On a trip back to Upper Hutt, I found the house was still standing. She is buried in the Anglican Church cemetery along with her husband and mother in law.
My mum’s parents the Hunters and her maternal grandmother, Nana Alsop were a big part of my life, especially before we moved to Hawera. Nana Alsop was very proper, she would drink tea and crook her little finger like a lady. We would walk to the shops and she would buy fruit,exotic things I never saw at home, Chinese Gooseberries (now Kiwifruit) Tree Tomatoes (tamarillos) and mandarins.
She always cooked for herself. Much later when I was high school she lived nearby and I would go there for lunch and she would have cooked a roast meal. She taught me to play patience and did jigsaws. In my early teens, she was like a best friend. She would talk about the old days growing up in Tawa. Her mother had 13 children, 11 of them survived to adulthood. She was in the middle somewhere.The story goes as a small baby, she went on horse back to Tawa from her grandparents house in Johnsonville. Her father and uncle had been clearing the farmland and built a small cabin for the family. She married Charlie Alsop and moved to the Hutt and ran a market garden. They had two daughters my grandmother was the eldest. She was widowed quite young and never remarried.
She lived in her small flat opposite Quins Post for a long as I can remember. Nana Hunter moved in with her after grandad died. She was 86 when she died. A truly wonderful person. And the things she saw in her life, early flight, the first cars to a man on the moon. Of my cousins, I am probably the only one old enough to really remember her.
For that I am truly grateful.
© Barbara Hart 2014