Eulogy for Nan
My childhood memories are intrinsically linked to our Nan and Pop. They only lived at Mt Pritchard which was less than an hour away, so either dad took the family over to visit, or when my mum was brave enough to get her drivers licence and remember the way, it was mums turn.
If there was a party, it was at Nan's. She loved to host a party, even if it was only for the family. I come from a family of five, so you can imagine that plus all our cousins it was guaranteed to get a few numbers and be loud!
Parties were held for birthdays or other family events, Christmas and more importantly, New Years. Other parties, like the fishing club get togethers were pretty good, but New Years was the event of the year. Nan would go crazy cooking up fried rice and curried prawns or chicken plus other retro party food (it was the 70's!), Pop would clean out the shed (mammoth task, full of junk) and then everyone would come. There was music, dancing, food and lots of laughter. At at midnight, all our cousins and any kids would race up and down the street banging together all her pots, pans and lids. Imagine being able to do that now.
Because we lived close, we would often go to visit. My Aunty Pat would come with the kids (another 5) and we would all hang out, running around the street or in the backyard doing handstands and other kids games, under the house (a regular treasure trove of junk) but never inside, it just wasn't the done thing. The few times you sat inside watching TV, it was on the red leatherette lounge in the front room. There were times with my other cousins, but mostly I can remember seeing Aunty Pat's family. And at night after dinner, Pop would put up a sheet on the wall either in the lounge room or outside and show all the old films on the projector - giant spiders, the blob and other 60's horror classics. We always screamed, even though we had seen them so many times, they were still so scary.
Christmas times were pretty special too. When both Nan and Pop were working, we would arrive on Christmas morning and there were so many presents for us all! It was very exciting, when you live in a large family there weren't always heaps of presses (don't get me wrong, we done all right and never done without) but to get more from nan and pop was the best. The present that stands out most vividly in my mind was the books, we developed a love for The Bobbsey Twins from getting books as our Christmas presents. Still remember the stories fondly even now. Its funny, even when she was older and had no money but hundreds of grandchildren, she always managed to come up with something, wether it was a knitted teddy (Ben still has one from Nan) or other trinkets.
As we grew up, they would still be a part of things, travelling to see us in Pops green sunbird which we thought was pretty cool. After my wedding, they came to stay with us in our new house, and slept on the floor on the sofa bed that we had (what was I thinking, why didn't I give them my bed?!). And I was lucky enough to have them both at my wedding.
Nan moved to Taree after my Pop died, and me, Craig and the kids went to visit her and stayed with her there. We loved it, it was so quiet in Taree and you were guaranteed to have other relo's drop in. And there was usually a poached egg for breakfast too.
After a while it was hard for her to live on her own so she moved to a village and then into a nursing home. I think it must have been hard for her to relinquish the control of being on your own, and the social life is good but not the same as those amazing parties from before.
How lucky are we that mum & dad very proactively made sure that Nan and Pop were a part of our lives. I think it shows how much they loved them. Family was important to Nan, and even in her nursing home the photos of her family and friends were pinned up all over the doors of her cupboards, and every time we went she used to tell us the story behind the photos, or even stories of her childhood or my mums.
So many memories. Winstanley Place, and Nan's bedroom with all the pretty girly things and Pops locked room, fantastic Christmases, enjoying great parties, watching movies and growing up with our cousins. How lucky were we to have these special people influence our lives. Seems corny to say goodbye, but I think there was a lot to look forward to for her, seeing Pop again, Aunty Barbara, friends and family who have passed and all her animals which she loved very much. So, thanks for the memories Nan, and bye lovey.