|A very unflattering and chaotic 4 generation photo from the last time I saw my Granny and the only time she met Espen, summer 2011.|
I can't think of Granny without thinking of the home that she created with my Grampa. I can't even begin to imagine a visit to Roseveth Farm without either of them in it. If I close my eyes, I can see her reading the paper at the kitchen table after breakfast, or making dinner to be served at 12:30 exactly. Not, as my grandfather once told her, at 12:29 or 12:31(I'm frankly surprised he survived talking to Granny like that). I can see her in her chair in the porch in the afternoons, or offering a special treat from her chocolate box in the evenings.
My Granny had one of the sharpest minds (and tongues!) of anyone I have ever met. She always enjoyed doing the cryptic crossword in the newspaper, and when her eyesight failed her, family members would read the clues to her and she would solve the crossword in her mind, almost always getting it right.
Although she was never really the affectionate kind of grandmother who would drop everything to dote on her visiting grandchildren, we always knew we were loved and welcome. When we came to visit, there would always be a chocolate bar, a packet of crisps (chips) and a 20 p coin for every grandchild on Saturdays. Even while we lived far away, but there were always cards and presents for birthdays and Christmas, right into adulthood. In fact, the last thing we got from Granny was money to buy Espen a book about farm animals for his 2nd birthday. And she would always make sure I got a Westcountry calendar for Christmas, to remind me of Cornwall and my family there, even when she had to rely on my aunts to do the buying and sending for her.
After she died, my mother and her sister counted over 70 diaries and journals that she had written and kept over the years, and in the week since her death, I've felt like I've learned things about her that I never knew before. One journal recorded things she remembered from her childhood, and my mother told me stories about Granny as a child in the nineteen-teens that only make me wish I could time travel so I could meet her as she was then. A few favorites:
- Once, as a child, she was taking a little cousin for a walk in his pram. She came across some friends playing football (soccer) and joined in. It was only when she came home for tea and her aunt asked where the baby was that she remembered she had left him in the park!
- Someone made her a pram for her dolls, but she filled it up with soil, so they gave her a wheelbarrow instead.
- Once, when an uncle came to visit, she emptied out her toy box by throwing its contents at him one by one. He drily commented that "I think that work is too light for you, young lady."
Dear Granny, I will miss you, but I'm so thankful you were mine. From table manners to how to show people how much you care, I feel like I have learned so much from you. I'll never forget you jumping up to kiss me on the head when I outgrew you, or your secret passion for Chinese food whenever Grampa was away. I'll always be grateful for how you made England and Cornwall feel like a second home to me.
We never really said this while you were alive, but Granny, I love you. Goodbye.