I was plowing right along there with my personal daily blogging challenge, until yesterday. Had a busy day with work and meetings, and just did not have the time needed to post, nor the mental thoughts to think about a memory for “Monday’s Memories”. By the time I got home yesterday, I was pretty much spent.
That’s okay, it was good to sit and relax, and today I figured I could just combine my “Monday Memory” with a “Tuesday Treasure”.
I was thinking how I really don’t blog about my father’s side of the family much. Granted, most of my father’s family, with the exception of an aunt and a cousin, have no contact with me. I was particularly thinking though I haven’t blogged about my paternal Grandmother. We called her NanNan.
I probably spent just as much time around NanNan as I did my maternal Grandmother, however, I do not feel like I knew her. She seemed distant to me. I used tell my Mother that my sister was her favorite. I used to feel like I was getting her disapproval most of the time. I don’t recall her being affectionate.
NanNan was the person who decided that being a Jehovah’s Witnesses was the course of lifestyle for her family. My understanding is that my Grandfather did not agree. I did not know him. Most of my recollections of NanNan are from attending meetings, going door-to-door, conventions and other JW activities. She lived with her daughter, my Aunt Jean, who I am very fond of. I liked staying the weekends with Jean, however, I always needed to be up and ready to go with NanNan on Sunday mornings.
My Aunt Jean married late in life, at which time NanNan had a small home built that she moved into. She seemed happy in her home and was independent for awhile.
The first time I heard the term rheumatoid arthritis was in connection with NanNan. My Dad started taking her to doctor visits, and she became unable to do a lot of things for herself around the house. The disease progressed and soon she was unable to clean her home. I don’t recall why it was decided that I would be the one who would stay overnight on occasions to help clean and take care of her, but that is what I did. I sort of liked cleaning her little house. I would pretend, it was like my little cottage. I would be very proud of my work and look to NanNan for approval, and if she smiled at the job I did, that made me feel good inside. On really good days, she could cook the best Chicken and Dumplings I remember when I realized that she wouldn’t be able to anymore, she couldn’t handle the pots and pans. Some days I would cook for her.
On bad days NanNan would sit in her chair in the living room, just watching me or looking out the window. She would sit with her hands curled up in her lap. Every so often she would dip her hands in a hot wax treatment to help with the pain. I remember how she moaned in pain. Some days she would be better, but eventually she was unable to take care of her basic needs, and I recall her waking me up in the middle of the night to help her. Even in my early teens, I knew it was very hard for her to ask me to help her in that way, and to help her get dressed and with basic needs. I knew she needed me.
It was on one of those visits that I was in her bedroom and cleaning her dresser and looking through her jewelry. I asked her about a tiny, dainty pin. It was broken and missing a little pearl, but I still thought it was just the prettiest thing. I had never seen her wear it.
She said “Oh, that old pin, you can have it. It’s broken though”. I told her I thought it was pretty. What she said next surprised me. “That was my engagement gift from your Grandfather”. She got quiet then. I told her that I couldn’t take it (but inside I was hoping I could). She told me she didn’t wear it and I should take it.
After I was home and showed it to Mom I think she was just as surprised as I was about receiving the pin. She took me and the pin to a jeweler and they repaired it and replaced the pearl.
There a just a few things that I remember my NanNan by. I remember her with this pin. I remember her when I play or walk by her piano she left me. The other thing is I try to keep moving my fingers and joints, I remember how she progressed, I have RA too.
On that evening many years ago, I felt like I saw a different side of NanNan then I had before. One pin, given as a gift symbolizing an engagement of two people, and connecting two others.
Just a little old pin.
But, it’s not the pin. It’s the stories with it.