I was third born in the family but the first girl. My sister followed 6 years later. I used to love going to my Nanna and Pa’s house by myself and leaving my siblings behind at home. It was a chance to listen to Nanna’s wise words. I used to sleep in a bedroom with a very large bed and a very thick mattress. What I really loved in that bedroom was the dark wooden dresser with the three mirrors that produced a triplicate of whatever was in front of the mirror, which most of the time was me – practising hand movements, singing, talking, acting out commercials all for my own entertainment.
The bedroom and the bathroom smelt like Nanna’s Oil of Ulan that she put on her face every day. Her skin did feel extremely soft along with her hands. Her hands also showed me some tunes she could play on the piano. The piano was another special thing that I used to love playing when staying at Nanna’s. I think I only knew a couple of tunes I had taught myself but then I would make some up and create a story around the notes. Aside from meal times, there didn’t seem to be much of a schedule that I had to follow. I could stay playing the piano or singing in the mirrors until, the waft of roast dinner with baked pumpkin filtering through the house could no longer be ignored.
During my visits, I remember Pa being out in the backyard caring for his apple trees after he came home from work. Pa’s car always had a vanilla like smell mixed with something else? In his boot, he carried lots of tins of things that smelt good. He was a Rawleigh’s man, selling vanilla essence, medicated ointments and hair combs door to door.
I spent quality time with my Nanna and Pa. There was always time to talk, share stories, walk together around the yard and dry the dishes after a meal. I could explore Nanna’s ice chest that had been converted into a ‘cupboard of all sorts’ including ‘Neddy’-the miniature walking horse (from the cereal packet) attached to a disc with string. I would place him on the edge of the kitchen table and watch him walk across as the string lowered down towards the floor. They were special times and although times have changed with more technology and automatic machines, I love the fact that children are still looking forward to that time with their Nanna and/or Pa or other members of the community that provide similar unforgettable precious moments.
I would love to hear about your memories with your grandparents or a significant other when growing up and learning more about life through others' eyes. Feel free to share your thoughts in comments.