Running for the red light

My first post for 2011 is not particularly cheery. For those of you who read this and either 1. don’t know me in person 2. aren’t my friend on fb 3. don’t follow me on twitter….you may not know that my dear Nana (my Dad’s mum) passed away after a severe heart attack on New Year’s Eve. She never regained consciousness, which was a blessing, and the difficult decision was made to turn off her life support on January 4. As such the Davis clan in Bundaberg are arising early tomorrow morning to get the train to Brisbane for her funeral on Tuesday afternoon.

My Nana (not to be confused with my Grandma who is still with us) was a barrel of energy, laughs, and delight all the years I had known her. She is survived by her husband, Bob who will be 90 at the end of January. She had already planned a big party for him, bought herself a new red dress, him a red tie, sent out the invitations, and was looking forward to the celebrations. I spoke to her on Christmas Day where she was her normal cheery self, looking forward to spending the day with her sons and their families at the Gold Coast.

In recent years I haven’t seen Nana as much. And despite the fact that I am getting older, she never failed to ring me on my birthday and send a card with some money sticky taped inside (you just never know…those pesky postmen) that would be timed to arrive as close to, if not, on the day. When I was smaller, birthdays would be met with a brown paper parcel that appeared to have been stuck together with an entire roll of sticky tape. Same thing…it needed to survive the journey from Brisbane to the Gold Coast intact. Never mind, that we had to attack it severely with a pair of scissors to let the contents escape.

Because we grew in Bundaberg, going to Brisbane on school holidays to visit Nana was a great treat. For one, Nana and Grandad lived in a Double Storey House at Macgregor. What is the significance of this? There were Stairs…a set at the front, and an internal staircase which were immense fun to run up and down. There was also a pool in the backyard, a pool table downstairs, lemonade iceblocks in the freezer, a dog called Penny and the beginnings of Sunnybank Shopping Town just up the road and round the corner. Grandad would take us for a walk where my brother and I would argue over whose turn it was to press the button to change the light to “Walk”. In Bundaberg, there was at the time, no such fancy city technology. Then Grandad would jingle some change and buy us an ice cream. If we went shopping with Nana however, it was straight into KMart where she would keep an eagle eye out for the Red Light Specials. And when she heard one about to start, we would Run. Well it seemed like running to our little legs. She loved a bargain my Nana. Then we would go to Market Square and into Jack the Slasher, where more fun awaited – you could actually Write The Price on your groceries, and find your own box to pack them into. We also seemed to spend a fair amount of time in something called Dollar Curtains. For if there was one thing Nana was always doing..when she wasn’t making biscuits, jams, relishes, meals etc…it was sewing, knitting, crocheting and any other type of handicraft that she would then give away as gifts, sell at a church fete, or give to us as birthday presents. Somewhere in my mother’s house is a box of doilies with my name on them. I don’t like doilies at all, but I will keep them. I also have a full crocheted bedspread that she made for me when I was about 10. It doesn’t get used anymore, but it is in the blanket box my Grandad made for her when they were courting. The blanket box is my coffee table.

My Nana loved her family…immediate and extended. Reading her life story which she typed up a few years ago, she had a financially difficult childhood, left school in Year 8 after scholarship and started work at 14 in a corsetry factory in George Street Brisbane. She raised four sons and helped run a milk run where my Grandad would pick up milk from farms all the way down to Beenleigh and drive it into the Valley twice a day, seven days a week. This was just after the war. They worked hard and as such made a good life for themselves in later years.

On Friday I wrote her eulogy.

Her religious faith meant she was not afraid of death and that is comfort to me.

We will all miss her.


3 Responses to “Running for the red light”

  1. 2paw says:

    I didn't know about your Nana, I am sorry to read your news. She sounds like a wonderful person, and a terrific Nana!! There is a special bond between grandchildren and their grandparents. I haven't had any nans or pops for fifteen or so years now, but my memories of them are much like yours. They make me smile and feel happy. Even now.

  2. Andrew says:

    My thoughts are with you and your family Wendy.

  3. Thinking of you Wendy, sorry to hear about your Nana. She sounds adorable. You brought tears to my eyes remembering my own dear Mama, who passed away 18 years ago. I have tucked into my recipe book a scrap of paper on which she had written 2 recipes for tea cakes. It is one of the most precious things I own.

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