My Nana and Papa, on Mama's side, were the only grandparents I ever knew. Dad's parents both passed away when he was still a teenager. Nana and Papa lived a short walk from us. Two streets away to be exact. Growing up, their place served as a second home for my brothers and I. Always warm and welcoming. Always buzzing with activity. Always there. My Mama and her siblings also grew up here. A quaint, full brick house, on a large block. Huge gum tree out the front and the most magnificent wisteria vine I've ever seen, like a plush, purple carpet covering the entire carport. The backyard was quite the secret garden. Brimming with annuals. Brilliant shady trees. A perfectly manicured lawn. Posy upon posy of sweet-peas and snap-dragons. Poppies and violets. I picked them all. Nana and Papa certainly had the greenest of thumbs.
Nana loved to cook AND bake. My, did she also love to fuss. Over everyone. She spoilt each of her grandchildren rotten to the core. As with her great-grandchildren, when they began arriving in the latter years of her life. Some of my happiest, most cherished memories derive from my Nana and Papa. The most incredible rainbow, multi layered birthday cakes. Prepared with tender loving care, year after year. Deliciously mouth watering. Streets blue ribbon icecream, freshly made jelly and cans of fizzy drink on tap. Especially refreshing after a long day at school or on lazy Sunday mornings.
Nana busy in the kitchen, the wireless blaring. Then every so often, peacefully dozing on the lounge in the sunroom, The Midday Show nattering away on the tele. Papa working hard in the gardens or writing the story of his life at the kitchen table. He loved and lived to write. The corner shop, across the road. Nana sneaking a lazy 2 dollar coin into my pocket every week, to spend exactly how I wished. The decisions! 2 dollars worth of bullets and spearmint leaves at the corner shop or the latest Smash Hits mag. Simple. Sweet. Beautiful times.
Today, as I drove down the street where they used to live. I was hurting. Emotionally. Physically. I could feel the pain surging through me. Their house no longer stands where it once did. A much bigger, bolder, uglier house towers over the block where so many memories that shaped my life were born. It is 3 years this month, since Nana passed away. 4 years in May, since Papa passed. I miss their home. I miss them. Not so much the fragments of themselves they were reduced to towards the end. Definitely not the pain of dementia they (we all) endured. But I miss the grandparents I held so close, for most of my life. It makes me sad that they never met my boys. That very thought leaves an empty feeling in the pit of stomach. I do appreciate they both made it to their nineties. They had a good innings. They left the world a better place just by being a part of it and we were all so lucky to keep them in our family for so long.
Then there is this pretty treasure. I admired this ornament every day of my life, from as far back as I can possibly remember. Sitting proudly, among many other precious bits and pieces, in the glass display cabinet in Nana & Papa's dining room. It's a Royal Winton Grimwades, which means little else to me, other than it was made in England. It is bright. It is delicate. It is loved. And I'll take good care of it forever, because it belonged to my Nana... which means more to me than anything.