Monday, April 16, 2012

Sleeping with your grandmother

Dear Grandma. I am not sure if you were really a believer, but you did go to church quite often. If you did believe, perhaps you also believed in the afterlife and perhaps there is one and you are reading this now.

Grandma, we really had no idea when you served us a roast chicken that was raw inside that it would be last meal you would ever cook for us. While you were a perfunctory cook, normally your meals were nice enough. I think finally something clicked for Mother with the raw roast chicken and the next day you were hospital, never to return to North Road.

Grandma, I could be very critical of you for not standing up for yourself but then in a way you did by your silence at times. The silence of Moo made everyone alert and on edge.

But you know Grandma, I was the oldest and none of the others remember you as well as I do. Dear Grandma, I loved you so much and you loved me without conditions.

I can sing songs from the nineteen twenties because you sang them to me when we were in bed together. Grandma, I can remember asking you about the street lights that peeked through the blinds. We had no street lights on the farm.

Grandma, I can remember helping you with your corset in the morning, pulling in the cords. I did not understand then, but I now I do. You were a bit fat and saggy in the stomach and the corset gave you a better shape. I just remember now as I write, the corset had clips on the bottom and you would clip your hosiery to the clips.

Grandma, you were the best person I knew. But Grandma, was I an easy child to sleep with.

Jumping forward some forty plus years.

Sister and Bone Doctor rented some accommodation pre Easter at Phillip Island. Like for me, Phillip Island for Sister is our special family holiday place. Mother was invited down to stay too. Mother said yes, so long as you collect me after 12. I have my jobs to do, Mother said. That put pay for a friend of Sister's to pick up Mother and take her there early.

Sister and Bone Doctor had there digs upgraded to a three bedroom place on the Island.

Little Jo had been warned not to come into Sister and Bone Doctor's bed again. From her haze of medications, Mother became aware of Little Jo standing next to her bed at midnight.  The last time this happened was when Mother was having an afternoon sleep and Little Jo was coming into the room and getting a Marie biscuit from her Nanny's bag. This time Little Jo wanted to get into bed with Nanny and Nanny had a dreadful nights sleep as Little Jo kicked, dreamt, talked and pushed Nanny out of the bed. Mother got out of the bed and into the other side, except that she then had a very high pillow. Mother did not have a good night's sleep and dined out on the tale and nor did Little Jo, who was grumpy the next morning.

I slept the sleep of the innocent when I slept with my Grandma. Although I may have been restless at times when in bed with Grandma, she never complained.


  1. Anonymous9:13 am

    Phillip Island has That Chocolate Place!

    my grandmother never complained either - bless your luck. X X O'Dyne & Stacks

  2. Wow, what good memories you have of your Grandma Andrew. She must be the reason you've grown into such a sweet and kind man. I also remember my grandmother fondly in so many ways.

  3. Parents are way too busy keeping home, hearth and kids together that they can never really have fun with their children. You were very fortunate with your grandma! But you didn't add a photo of the special lady to your blog post.

    In my year at school, noone except me had grandparents post-Holocaust. So I used to lend them around to my friends :)

  4. Chocolate Place Ann? I'll check.

    Rubye, not so sure about the kind and sweet, but thanks.

    Hels, not something I have thought about, but that is sad for so many. Previously published photo added now, me on your left.

  5. I was a good sleeper when I slept in Nan's bed, unlike my sister who was all arms and legs and annoying!
    Your Grandma sounds lovely.

  6. Fen, Grandma could not have been nasty if she wanted to. Sisters can be very annoying, as you recently alluded to.

  7. I didn't know my grandmas at all, but I remember sharing my bed with my two grandchildren when they were three and five. We started out with me in the middle and a child on each side, but by morning they had the bed and I was sleeping across the foot of it under a light blanket without even a pillow. Fun times.

  8. River, you never complained though did you. And weren't they so lovely back then.

  9. I like hearing about your grandmother. They can be really wonderful.

    What hels said is very sad. I'm reading a book about that now.

  10. Dina, while mine was good, I think I would rather not have one that a nasty one. I ran into an ex workmate a couple of days ago. He was a kid in Germany during the war and I remember him telling me some horrible things that he had seen.

  11. Fantastic story! What wonderful memories you have - somehow I don't think it mattered to your grandmother whether you were a restless sleeper or not.

  12. Red, when the phrase 'lived for her family' was coined, it was she who they meant. Sadly she was quite badly treated as a child and had a quite hard life as a market gardener's wife. Not so unusual for back then I suppose.

  13. It's one of life's greatest pleasures to hear about loving parents and grandparents, and it sounds like you were blessed.

    If the 5,000 members of my extended family are to be believed, my grandma was a fire breathing dragon crossed with an ogre. [I never saw this side of her myself, because she spoilt me completely.]

  14. Grandma's are the best, I hope to be one someday if my kids get a move on!!

  15. FC, funny about your grandmother. Kids can bring out the best in people.

    Grace, and when they do, you can have good times with them and then hand them back.