hungry beast is over and i’m back in blogland! sorry once again for going awol. when the beast is roaring i tend to immerse myself in it and lose touch with the outside world… unless something big shakes me out of it.
which is actually what happened near the end of the series when my nan died. my lovely nan. my dad’s mum. the nurturer of eight kids. the best friend of countless dogs. such a good nan!
nan died of a parkinson’s related disease so it wasn’t a huge shock. i talked about the fact she was getting older in a blog entry a few years ago when nan’s sister passed away.
during nan’s final hours, her kids (7 boys and 1 girl) all crowded around her bedside cracking silly jokes like they did around the kitchen table when they were little... telling nan not to listen.
nan needed a rest and wanted to be reunited with pop fred… so it was a relief for all of us when her time came.
|Straight out of Frankie mag right?|
a guy from my dad’s work who came to nan’s funeral said he loved the speech "the young guy with the blue shirt and scraggy hair" gave. well that YOUNG GUY was me. awkward much?! and here’s the speech i gave… scraggy hair and all:
i'm going to say a few words on behalf of the grandkids… the army of mongrel grandkids that nan is responsible for (so many i've lost count). as sad as today is… i've been really looking forward to it because i knew the whole family would be here and stacks of familiar faces from when i was little… because so much of my childhood was spent mucking around with my cousins every weekend at nan and pop's.
|Uncle Big Pete, the cousins and NAN|
it's not often that we all get together these days with some of us living interstate, busy working or even starting our own families. and it's typical that it takes nan carking it to bring us all together. but whatever the excuse, she'd be glad we're here hanging out and running amok like old times. the schafters.
the only thing that could've made today better was if the dogs were allowed in. i reckon nan would've reserved missy a spot right up the front with a doughnut there waiting for her… after all, the only thing nan spoilt more than us grandkids, were the dogs. the many, many, many dogs that you'd have to fight to get a seat on the couch or a spot in front of the heater.
over the past few days us cousins have been talking and there's one thing we all agree on… that our best and strongest memories of childhood were the times we spent playing together at nan's. ina cora schafter was an awesome nan. but as alex pointed out, it wasn't just her, it was the environment she created.
nan's house was this fun, easy going place where we were free to be kids… free to injure ourselves making slip n slides, free to refine our cooking skills making nan brekkie in bed (even when we'd nearly poison her with some random scrambled egg concoction with chunks of garlic or some spice we'd found in her cupboard - she'd always say it was "lovely")… and free to raid her linen cupboard to build the biggest fort you could ever imagine in the lounge room… only to have it destroyed by the dogs who'd bound in and knock everything over… reclaiming their territory once again.
a weekend at nan's was never complete without an adventure down the creek… we'd almost kill ourselves climbing trees, exploring storm water drains, making rope swings and even the famous bike swing (where we'd tie the bike to the rope, ride off the bank and fly across the creek... *one time the seat fell off while i was on it... i was almost impaled by a bmx*)… and no adventure was ever complete without a slurpie or a dairy bell ice cream on the way home.
when we think of nan's we think of vegemite cruskets, watching red faces on hey hey with not a spare seat in the house, nan singing along to bing crosby, trips to woollies, birthday cakes completely covered in caramello koalas and chocolate freckles, and listening to richmond play footy on the wireless. oh and crumpets. nan always gave you a bloody crumpet whether you liked it or not.
back in the old days we'd take the motorbike over the primary school across the road from nan's and whoosh around the oval showing off to the other kids… this was the best fun ever and would often result in us crashing into the fence.
when this happened i can remember getting yelled at by uncle terry… but never nan.
nan never got cross at us. not even when we'd nick her shopping jeep and give each other rides in it… not even when we'd climb onto the garage roof on those awesome christmas nights and piff ice blocks at uncle mark (although one time we got picked up by our ankles and had our heads dunked into the dog's water as punishment). and we deserved it.
|Nan looking a bit gay - awesome pic!|
nan didn't even get mad when when sooky (one of the dogs) died and i made them dig her up from under the lemon tree where she was buried. this was so we could wrap her in my security blanket, which sooky loved so much, and bury her with special books and toys i'd brought over. the poor boys had to bury her twice.
nan didn't even get mad when pete and alex almost killed each other over a nintendo and she had to pull them off each other. which is when we invented the "he he helloooo… alex" song *an annoying song you have to hear to understand just how annoying it is... which always resulted in someone getting punched and balling*...ahhh the memories.
kate reminded us the only time nan got mad at us was when we did a seance next door at big pete's. she didn't want us calling on evil spirits so close to home.
nan saw the best in people and was proud of all of us… even when we were little shits. and i'm glad the new generation of cousins are continuing that tradition.
nan's place was character building. it made us who we are. and even though she's not around anymore. we are… and there's a whole bloody lot of us. and a whole lot more to come. so long live nan ina. i hope there’s crumpets at the wake.
*scraggy haired boy in blue shirt finishes speech*
so thanks for reading.
at the same time as nan’s health deteriorated and she passed away… i happened to be working on a story for hungry beast about old people dying because the theme of our last episode was death! crazy frickin full on times. but as weird as it was, i found the experience quite cathartic.
i love old people. a lot. and being around them makes me happy. even if you are talking about death! nick hayden from hungry beast calls me a “HAG hag”…. as in not a “fag hag”… but rather someone who hangs out with old people. yep, that’s me!
anyways, this is the story i made... meet beryl. a sprightly 95-year-old who… who may just turn you into a hag hag like me: