Memories of My Special Grandparents
I was twelve when my grandad died. So I only have a few memories of him. I wish I had more.
Grandad and Nan had moved away some years before so we didn’t see them very often. He’d also had a stroke when I was younger and Mum always said he wasn’t the same after. I remember him pointing to my Snoopy watch and asking who was on there.
“Snoopy, Grandad,” I remember saying.
“No, Snoopy!” I cried.
We both laughed and it was nice to see him smile. I don’t remember him smiling much, which is why I love this photo of him and my nan when they were younger. They both look so carefree and happy.
Mum passed her driving test when she was nearly forty. Before then we walked everywhere or used public transport as Dad didn’t drive. Soon after she passed her test, she got her first car, which meant we could go and visit Nan and Grandad a little more often. I didn’t like travelling by car as I’d often feel car sick, but I coped with it by listening to music on my Walkman on the way there and then, on the way back, was the highlight of the day (after seeing Nan and Grandad, of course!) – listening to the Top 40 on BBC Radio 1. I remember being pretty miffed if we left Nan and Grandad’s late and I found I’d missed some of the show. But, equally, I was also put out if we arrived home before the all-important No.1 had been announced. It was clearly all about priorities (well, I was heading towards being a teenager!).
When Grandad died, Nan sold the house and moved in with my uncle, which was even further away. We visited Nan when we could and she often came and stayed with us.
Nan was quite a character. She always dyed her hair and we never knew what colour she’d choose next time – whether it would be blonde, brown, red, orange, yellow or blue! She also drew her eyebrows on and sometimes she’d ‘miss’ a little so one would be much higher than the other. But that’s what we loved about her and she was so generous, always buying presents for us. I can recall a bright yellow tea set that she bought me once when I was little. I don’t think it cost very much, but to me it was priceless and gave me hours of fun.
Though, I hate to say it, I wasn’t always grateful for her presents. One particular Christmas, she had promised me a Barbie bed. I was so excited and counted down the hours for when she and Grandad were due to come and stay. Mum and Dad had brought me up with manners and so although I was dancing with excitement inside and couldn’t wait to see my present and rip it open, I sat patiently and waited until it was ‘officially’ present opening time. As soon as I saw the package, I knew it wasn’t a Barbie bed; it wasn’t anywhere near big enough. I wondered what it could be. A Barbie armchair? A Barbie bedside cabinet? All sorts of ideas went through my mind. But I didn’t guess what it turned out to be – a revolving unicorn ornament, which played the most awful music! I was not impressed, but when I look back now, I can see she really thought it was something special and, in her eyes, so much better than a Barbie bed.
Nan had various health issues – arthritis, diabetes and glaucoma, but I always thought she’d be here. I was convinced she would receive a telegram from the Queen. So when she was suddenly rushed into hospital, it came as a shock. She died not long after from septicaemia.
It took me a while to get over her death, but I like to think of her and Grandad, up in heaven, reunited and smiling as they are in this photo.