My dear old Gran’s

I am only able to remember two of my great-grandparents; my dad’s maternal grandmother, Nanna Reeves and my mum’s maternal grandmother, Nanna Fletcher. Pop Fletcher was still alive when I was born but passed away whilst I was still an infant and Nanna Reeve’s was married twice, firstly to my great-grandfather Bill Kable and then to Poppy Reeve’s. I didn’t get to meet either of them.

My dad’s father passed away when dad and his siblings were young and I don’t know anything really about their grandfather or grandmother and whether they knew them not. My mum’s father lived to a good age however I too know not much about his parents other than their names.

My memories of Nanna Reeves are few. She lived with my great aunt and her family in a Sydney suburb when I was old enough to remember her. We didn’t get to visit that often but I remember her bedroom and her brush on the dresser and little things like that.

A smile spreads across my face when I remember Nanna Fletcher. For the time I can remember her, she lived at a home in Empire Bay on the central coast. We would go there for holidays and when we arrived, there would be corned beef and pickles to be had not to mention her home grown tomatoes that she would sprinkle a little sugar on. Even to this day, when I see a jar of 3 Three’s pickles, I think of her.

She would take us out at night prawning and during the day she would mostly be in the kitchen with her apron on and sitting at the head of the table closest to the sink. She had a lovely big bedroom and on her back verandah, she did her sewing on an old treadle sewing machine.

Her house had a bay window which was the first one I had seen and loved sitting there reading. Her lounge room was quite a size, housing a gorgeous big timber table that seated eight with a matching sideboard, a settee and a pianola. When there were a number of my cousins visiting, we would sleep in the lounge room in sleeping bags with our legs in under the dining chairs and all have a grand old time.

My sadder memories are of visiting her in a nursing home at Avoca and then later at Wellington, near my hometown. She had aged and did not have long to live. In fact, the last time I saw her I fed her ice-cream and held her hand, wiped her face over with a washcloth and made her as comfortable as possible. I was barely in my teens. She passed away that night.

Most days I am reminded of her when I look at my hands. They are turning out like hers were, with some arthritis and curving and twisting. Even that brings warmth in my heart and a smile. I am happy to have something I inherited from her.

I am ever so thankful that I met these two ladies; my grans. I am so curious about my other great-grandparents and what they and their lives were like. Hopefully one day I will learn more about them in my family research.

Image: Lynn Greyling

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