My Nan was born in 1937. She was a lovely woman and is still one of my biggest inspirations.
As you know if you’ve read my blog for a little while now, she sadly passed away in 2013 from lung cancer. But rather than telling you again how she died, I will incorporate that phrase from The Last Samurai (great film, by the way) and tell you how she lived.
If I could describe my Nan, one of the first things that come to mind is that she was a force of nature. She was a 5’1 petite woman who was beautiful, a family woman, would do anything for you. But you did not cross her. Whoa no. Anyone crossed my Nan all I can say is ‘May God have mercy on your soul’. She did not suffer fools and could cut you down stone dead with merely a disapproving look and her words. There was a running joke between all of us that she could make a three star General quake in his boots if he tested her!
For a long while, my mother and my Grandpa have said I’m very much like her in that I (allegedly!) don’t suffer fools. Apparently I have some of her colloquialisms, including her stubbornness, I say with love! A few years ago, my Grandpa found a picture in their wardrobe of a picture of him and my Nan with some friends of theirs in the 60s. My Grandpa says I look a lot like her, and when comparing photos of me and my Nan, people will say there is a definite resemblance.
She met my Grandpa in their teens. Two years later, they started courting. However, her parents (my great-grandparents) didn’t approve of the union, as they thought my Grandpa was too old for her at the time. She was 15 and he was 17. That and with his DA haircut and dressing like a Teddy Boy (it was the 1950s!) he was seen as a bit of a rebellious sort 😂 Side note: they met him and loved him.
Nevertheless they still kept seeing each other (what a rebel!) and four years later, when she was 19 and him 21, they got married. They were married for 56 years until she passed away. Within the next few years my mother and uncle were born.
My Nan and Grandpa have been, and continue to be, a massive inspiration for me. Their marriage and love was one I looked at growing up and thought, ‘Yeah, I want a love that lasts like theirs.’ Yeah they drove each other to distraction at times but there was a whole lot of love there.
My Nan and Grandpa was and still is, a massive inspiration for my love of vintage style, and played a big part in instilling my more traditional side. I used to love hearing stories from my Nan about what life was like in the 50s when she was in her formative years, how they got their hair the way they did, the clothes, the social changes since then etc. Or when I was child and staying over, waking up early and making breakfast with my Grandpa, then waking up my Nan at 8:45am to have breakfast. That’s one of my fondest memories, having scrambled eggs for breakfast whilst watching the animated Robin Hood film from 1973 or Winnie the Pooh.
As I grew into a young woman, my Nan was a rock. She was my mother’s rock and my mother, Nan and sister my rocks very early on. In my family we come from a long line of very strong (and in many cases stubborn!) women and the more I grew up, the deeper my respect for my Nan grew. Her quirks are among the many things I often remember fondly.
Like her kicking me out of the kitchen when she was having a cigarette because she didn’t want me to breathe in the smoke (She made me promise never to start smoking. Never have and never will.) How she’d straighten out the skirts or shirts I was wearing multiple times even though they were fine. How whenever we saw her, she’d always have Sky Sports on the TV. How she’d just silently take my hand, look at nails, then slap them if she saw I’d been biting them.
How me and her would sit around the wooden table in the small kitchen with a cup of tea just talking and having a laugh. How she’d give me clothes she didn’t want or need anymore because she thought me and my sister might like them. How we’d sit on the sofa with a box of photographs of her and Grandpa when they were younger and her going, ‘Doesn’t your Grandpa look handsome?’ with a nostalgic smile.
I do miss her very much, and if I could be anything like her in terms of strength and the love she and my Grandpa had, I’ll be a very happy woman.
Love you Nan. Miss you xxxx