Wednesday, May 09, 2012

In Memoriam 1921-2012

Nan on her 80th Birthday

My Nan passed away two weeks ago.  She was 91, and had lived a long and full life.  It was my Nan who taught me to knit.  I think she taught my Mum too- and Mum taught me to crochet.
Nan always said that she learned to knit on two matchsticks in school.  And I always had this image of all the little girls in her class, happily knitting away on matchsticks.

She lived in the centre of London for most of her life.  The last dozen years, she was in a home nearer family, but far away from the city she loved.  Nan was a Londoner through and through.  My siblings and I have fond memories of going to stay with her and Grandad.  Taking the train, riding the bus.  Walking the streets of London, standing on the crack at the centre of Tower Bridge.

The kids stood on the crack too.  Well DD did.
It is the reason I made the kids stand on the crack when we went to London a year and a half ago.

We took the kids to see my Nan.  She looked frail and old, and yet happy to see us.  My husband charmed her, he says she had stunning blue eyes.  I like to think my grandad thought so too!

Nan and Grandad, ages ago :)  Sometime in the 80s I think.

They were married almost 50 years.  Nan soldier on another 26 years after he died.  And never remarried.

There were things Nan did that I remember well.  She would pick up pensions for local elderly people who were not able to get it themselves.  I remember one old man had a budgie on his shoulder.
She would walk 'down the blue' to shop.  I never did understand why she called it 'the blue', and I could never quite figure out where it was in relation to Nan's house- because walking took us a totally different route from cars or buses!  There was a market there and some little shops.

I remember going with nan to help clean a building, and her taking me to a library where I got a cartoon book.
I remember 'cooking' with the copper fondue set on her glass table, and getting fingerprints over everything.  I remember watering the plants in the windowsills of the flat, getting locked into the bathroom - and grandad rescuing me.
I remember sleeping on the camp-bed in their bedroom- and it folding up on me ;)
I remember running down to the playground near their house (I loved the slide) and her taking us over the road to the BIG playground.

Nan lived in London during World War II.  While Grandad fought in India, Nan was raising their children.  She lived there through the blitz, and I am told, would go down into the underground for shelter.
Mum tells me she met grandad when he was a baker's boy.  They married when she was 17, and shortly afterwards World War II started and Grandad went off to fight.

She was part of that 'greatest generation', she and grandad both.
So today, my knitting and reading are in Memoriam.  I am knitting from a 1940s pattern.  I am reading about the 1940s.  And I am thinking about my Nan.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

1940's Pattern (copied to work from), Grandma's Wartime Kitchen by Joanne Lamb Hayes, and the back of the jumper- plus the sleeve, which I knitted as a gauge/tension 'square'.
Catch more yarn alongs over at Ginny's place and at Keep Calm and Craft on at the Frontier Dreams Blog.


  1. Such a lovely tribute here to your grandmother. Both of mine passed away several years ago, and they are sorely missed.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my latest yarn along post. You have many lovely knits here, love your daughter's bolero!

    Blessings, ~Lisa @ HappyinDoleValley

  2. So sorry about your grandmother. I loved mine and miss her lots. Great photos that you shared with us :)

  3. Such a beautiful memorial for your nan. I miss my grandmother so very often and never without welling up a little bit. Hugs to you! R

  4. Your Nan sounds just amazing Rachel. I know you must really miss her and am glad to hear how you are keeping her memory alive, I do the same with my Nanny. Hugs to you!

  5. My grandmother died before I was born... I always love reading about those who actually got to know and live with theirs :)

  6. What a lovely post. I remember sleeping on one of those darn collapsing camp beds when I stayed with my Nan in the 1980s. The jumper is looking lovely, can't wait to see the finished article :o) Am now following your blog x

  7. @Knitreadclick: Thank you

    @Jacobite: Thank you husband ;)

    @DoleValleyGirl: Thank you. She was the last one of my grandparents still alive. I am fortunate that I actually remember all of them- I dont think any of my siblings do.

    @Swanski: Thank you.

    @Rachel: Thank you.

    @Tracey: Thank you.

    @Andréann-Aux Demilunes: Thank you. It is a shame you never got to meet your grandparents- they can be a lot of fun :)

    @1940's Knitter: that was about when I was staying with my nan too LOL. She and grandad carefully balanced my sister and me at either end of the bed... which meant if we moved, the other one got folded up in the bed LOL Thanks for the follow!

  8. What a lovely post Rachel! She sounds like a wonderful woman. Thank you for sharing your memories of her.

  9. What a beautiful post! She sounds like a wonderful woman. Thank you for sharing your memories and God grant you peace and comfort.

  10. Your Nan sounds like a beautiful person, inside and out. My prayers are with you and your family. What a wonderful way to remember her, the jumper is looking great!

  11. One year passed....already!Grandparents:..treasures of our families...sweet memories in our souls...our roots...our "encyclopaedias" for many-many things....Feel...she is standing by you!


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