29 Oct 2010

What Happens When I'm Allowed to Think; Reflections on Grandparents

It’s been 23 years since my Great Grandmother Evelyn Grace DAVIES (nee DARLINGTON) died. She was 87 years old and I was 5 when she passed away but I'm lucky I remember her. I remember going round to her house that was just a two minute walk away. She couldn't walk very far and was often in bed. I remember her always being in purple that must have been her favourite colour because most pictures I have of her she's wearing purple too. She always had grapes in the house no matter what time of year it was and she loved walnut whips. I'd always be fed grapes when went round to see her, think she's the one that instilled a love of them in me. Like I said she couldn't walk much so she had a "grabber"; it looked like the things used to pick rubbish up with but she used it to grab things around her bed (like grapes!). She also had a Kermit the frog puppet thing, it wasn't a real Kermit, just looked like him and I can remember her playing with us and that. My brother would only have been 3, so I'm not sure how much he remembers of "Nanna under the Entry"....aptly named because you had to go under an entry passage to get into her house in Beech Drive.



My Great Grandmother Anne ELLIS (nee ROBERTS) died in 1992, she was 92 years old. At this point I was 10 and Ian was 8. We used to go to see her, taken by my nanna every Saturday at her flat in Milford Lane, Mold. Jim'll Fix It was always on the telly, whilst Nana would tidy around the flat for her mum, Anne would tell us about her brothers who died in the war (Albert and David Roberts) and show us pictures of them, which were hung up on the wall. She also told us about her husband Frederick and how he died because he had a bad chest, due to working in the mines. We called Anne "Little Nanna" because she was very small; she had stooped in her old age. Both Ian and I have good memories of our 'Little Nana' and watching Jim'll Fix It in her living room.


My Great Grandmother Mary Ellen THOMAS (nee DAVIES, nee PARRY) died in 2004, two weeks short of her 100th birthday. Mary Ellen was known as Nellie to those around her and as "Nanna Dreflan" to my brother and I; yes she lived in Dreflan, Mold. I've written previously about visits to Nana Dreflan's home. We would usually go on a Sunday and Song's of Praise would be on the TV. Ian and I would watch in silence as the grown ups talked. My Tiad would get himself a Fisherman's Friend from the dresser behind the sofa and we'd sometime be given a drink. If it was really nice out we'd be allowed out into the back garden to play. She had a typical long garden and there was rhubarb growing although I don't remember ever eating any from there. There was also a functioning toilet outside in an outhouse and this is the one we would use (checking first for spiders obviously). If it wasn't nice we would stay indoors, sometimes we played in the kitchen at the back of the house. I was always scared that my Nan would shout at me as she looked a very formidable lady. She walked up to church every Sunday and was active in the WI. When we got to her house and we'd all taken our seats she'd start by asking "What do you know?" and she would always say "God Bless" as we were leaving. Nana Dreflan's funeral was the first one that Ian and I attended.

My Grandmother Eleanor Betty WRIGHT (nee DAVIES) died most recently, in 2006. She was 75 years old. Ian and I used to stay with my Nan ("Nana Shop" because she lived near the shops) when my mum went to work. We used to play in the garden, make a mess in the living room playing with blocks and the chalk board. We used to go looking for nuts; we'd collect a load of them then smash them open with a hammer and gobble up the insides. Nan also used to grow strawberries, blackberries, gooseberries, raspberries and tomatoes in the garden so we'd help pick them (eating loads in the process). I'd often mix the raspberries up with ice cream then eat it all up. My nan had a wicked sense of humour too; Ian used to love rabbits, he still does to some extent. We went round for dinner one day and Nan pulled me into the kitchen and showed me a rabbit we were having for said dinner but told me not to say anything to Ian; she told him it was chicken. Anyways after we'd all finished eating Thumper she said I could tell him it was rabbit - his face was a picture!! Nan also used to let us put our fingers into the sugar bowl; she used to have two sugars in her tea. Nan loved to do puzzles too, before she was confined to an oxygen tank and wheelchair (because of emphysema) there was always a jigsaw puzzle being done in the front room that we could help with. She also loved to read, she had so many books..... the first book she gave me that I could tell people about was Swallows and Amazons. I've still got that book. The first book she told me would be a good read was about a giant locust that ate people but was controlled by one man who wanted to rule the world! She loved Steven King too; as a result I do too! For Christmas she always got Ian something "odd", one year it was a giant jar of pickled onions, another year it was tinned carrots! She said that she could have a laugh with Ian but knew that I was "more delicate" because when I was younger she told me that I was beautiful and apparently I cried!!

I miss her. It still hurts when I think about her and I still cry over her. It’s been four years. I got some pictures of her when she was younger and I can see myself in her. It’s quite odd but nice at the same time. This is her:



Eleanor Betty Davies 1931 - 2006