Gransnet forums


Grandmothers; indulge me please

(111 Posts)
FannyCornforth Tue 27-Apr-21 10:45:36

Hello Everyone 🏵️

My wonderful Nan died in the early hours of yesterday morning. She was 96; a strong, kind and intelligent woman; and she had a life very well lived indeed.

She was the mother of my mother, who died aged only 50. She was a huge part of my life and I loved her very much.

Indulge me please - tell me about your Grandmothers.
Thank you 🌻

Georgesgran Tue 27-Apr-21 11:15:02

💐 a good life, but still a sad loss FC

I can’t remember much about my Dad’s Mum - think Mrs Danvers - tall, slim and always in black! Apparently, various cousins would arrive from Ireland regularly and she’d accommodate and teach them how to be maids so they could gain employment.

My Mum’s Mother was wonderful - I was her only grandchild. She had been in service when younger, so every other week when my Grandad was in ‘back shift’ I’d go there for tea every night - a properly set table always. That image stays with me. She bought all my school uniform (expensive and exclusive), paid for me to go on a school cruise and even bought my wedding dress. I loved her very much, but she suffered a massive stroke and ended up in residential care and eventually, I don’t think she knew who I was. Still, the good memories prevail.

M0nica Tue 27-Apr-21 11:20:02

FannyCornforth I am so sorry, when someone dear to you dies, regardless of their age, the loss is just a s much a shock and the adjustment as difficult. flowers flowers

I had one grandmother who I didn't really like very much and one I adored. She was my maternal grandmother and had had a very difficult life. The daughter of Irish immigrants, her father died before she was born, she had severe asthma all her life. her DH, DB, BiL and baby son all died during WW1. She was left responsible for 2 little girls, elderly mother and sickly older sister. But she made her way in life. Both daughters went to grammar school. She worked as a dressmaker and housekeeper and after her house was destroyed in the blitz she lived with my mother and then my DS and me. After she moved back into her rebuilt house I loved visiting her. I have memories of playing in her garden and in the house with my sister. I was at my happiest when I was with her. She died of pneumonia when I was 14, after a lifetime of lung disease. I have told my children and grandchildren of her and shown them the few family photos I have and treasure the things I have that remind me of her.

fiorentina51 Tue 27-Apr-21 11:21:05

My English grandmother was a tough lady from a working class area of inner city Birmingham. She was intelligent but didn't have the opportunity to advance her education due to poverty.
She was the eldest of 16 children, left school at 13 and worked on a capstan lathe in a local factory. Lived through 2 world wars and raised 4 boys all of whom fought in WW2.
She was fiesty, cantankerous, opinionated and not averse to using her fists if the occasion needed it.
She was kind to me, taught me to knit and crochet and she made wonderful apple pies. She died aged 72 when I was 16. I still miss her.

Nannagarra Tue 27-Apr-21 11:31:47

So sorry to hear this, Fanny. 💐

fiorentina51 Tue 27-Apr-21 11:34:32

I hardly saw my Italian granny due to the fact that we lived in different countries. When we did visit, it was often for 6 weeks at a time.
She lived on a farm in Tuscany, halfway between Florence and Siena.
My grandfather was allowed to think he was head of the family but in reality it was Nonna who ruled the roost!
I have wonderful memories of cuddles and laughter and living a life totally alien to me.
Collecting water from the well, reading by lamplight and candles, helping on the farm with the harvest and animals.
She cooked on an open fire and could produce wonderful meals, some of which were roasts using a clockwork spit.
I have inherited it and it still gets used only this time its on the BBQ.
Happy times.

Kate1949 Tue 27-Apr-21 11:48:49

So sorry for your loss. Sadly I never knew any of mine. They were in Southern Ireland. My mother's parents died before I was born and my father left Ireland and never contacted his parents again so we never knew them. How awful for them.
I keep telling our granddaughter how lucky she is to have two sets alive and well grin She agrees.

keepingquiet Tue 27-Apr-21 11:54:10

My paternal grandma was a proud,stern woman who was always telling us off- but she also had a tough life and was very musical- I can still hear her singing!
My maternal grandma was kind and generous person who had a much tougher life yet somehow it hadn't hardened her. She spent her married life in a small mining village and had seven children, recently we found her obituary in the local paper.
Before the NHS she was the village midwife, assisting with births and also would lay out the dead before burial, washing their bodies and dressing them before burial.
Once when I visited her I opened a sideboard drawer and found a frilly white nightie thing.
'What's this, grandma? I asked.
'It's my shroud,' she replied.
I really respect and admire both these women and I am so proud they were both my grandmas.

Shelflife Tue 27-Apr-21 11:56:49

Lucky ladies to have had grandmothers in your lives. My siblings and me never had the experience of grandmothers or grandfathers. All died before we were born. My Mum however was the most sensible and loving grandma to her her 7 grandchildren. I have 5 grandchildren and I endeavor to follow her wonderful example.

EllanVannin Tue 27-Apr-21 11:59:14

I never knew either sets of grandparents so grew up not knowing grandparents at all. Imagine never having a granny.

Cherrytree59 Tue 27-Apr-21 12:01:41

Fannycornforth so so sorry for your loss.thanks
It will be a huge loss to you.
But as you say a life well lived.

My mother also died in her fifties before all my grandparents.

My maternal grandmother like your grandmother passed away in 90's, I can totally relate to how bereft you feel or will feel over the coming days and months.

My mother and I lived with my maternal grandparents for the first years of my life.
My father was working abroad.

It took me to have my own first grandson to understand why the bond between my maternal grandmother and myself was so strong.
My daughter's partner also worked away from home and so she and my first baby grandson stayed with us, history repeating itself.

I could wax lyrical all day long.

My grandmother was the most warm cuddly grandmotherly person, I have ever encountered.
I loved her to bits and still do.

Her home was warm and welcoming.
An open house, she could feed 10 people from a chicken and chicken

My husband adored my grandmother from his very first meeting.
My children also loved their great grandmother and have lovely memories of her cosy home.

To be her granddaughter,
I know luck was truly on my side,

I miss my grandmother eveyday. sad

Kate1949 Tue 27-Apr-21 12:03:39

I agree Ellan . I would have loved one.. Unfortunately our daughter never really had one either. Her dad's parents died when she was a baby and my mum when she was three. My dad was no sort of grandfather.

Nannarose Tue 27-Apr-21 12:08:18

Wonderful, both of them strong working class women who did a lot in the neighbourhood. Taught me to be self reliant, think myself no better nor worse than anyone else, enormously proud and pleased of the opportunities that opened up for me. Both loved reading and talked about books, I still have some of them.
And not least, taught me to raise a hot water crust pie (Nana) and make a light Victoria sponge (Nanny)
Fanny - be sad, and be grateful, and thank you for triggering those memories.

sodapop Tue 27-Apr-21 12:09:06

So sorry for your loss FannyCornforth sounds like your Nan was a lovely lady. thanks
I didn't know my grandparents either, my father died when I was 16 and my mother died when my children were very young. You are lucky to have had your Nan in your life for so long.

geekesse Tue 27-Apr-21 12:09:12

My maternal grandmother seemed, when I was small, to be a typical ‘granny’ of the 1960s, tiny, rosy-cheeked and full of ‘wise’ sayings. However, as an adult, I discovered she was malicious and spiteful. She entertained herself by setting up disputes between her daughters, telling each of them something entirely fictional that a sister had ‘said’. She bullied her children by constant criticism. She had married ‘beneath her station’ to an illiterate farmhand during the first world war when she was 4 months’ pregnant, but that didn’t stop her being po-faced and moralising with her children and grandchildren. She lied about her age and her past, and swept uncomfortable family events under the carpet.

My paternal grandmother was a colourful character, the daughter of a well-to-do middle class businessman, who eloped with the milkman, built up a very successful property business when he left her with four small children, and remarried an exotic European refugee after the war. She was a Cordon-Bleu trained cook, wore designer clothes and taught me about cocktails, smoking and men while I was still at school, much to the horror of my Mum. After she was widowed, she had a string of charming gentleman callers right up to her death in her 80s.

Guess which one is my role model for old age?

Sarnia Tue 27-Apr-21 12:22:46

My Granny Annie was a pint-sized powerhouse. She always had her sleeves rolled up doing something. She lived through 2 World Wars and the 5 year German occupation of Guernsey so she had led a tough life. Her husband had returned from WW1 with wounds which left him unable to work and added to that she had 3 children, 2 of which were partly physically disabled. Her generation were master recyclers. Thinning sheets turned sides to middle, fraying shirt cuffs and collars turned, socks and stockings darned and clothes mended. Sweeping rugs and washing and polishing lino floors were all done on her knees. Coal fires meant a lot of work and all meals were cooked from scratch. No ready meals, cook-in sauces and microwaves. Granny used to save jobs for me. Sugar and loose leaf tea came in blue paper bags. I had to carefully open the folds at the bottom of the bags and pour the few tea leaves and sugar into the caddy or sugar bowl. When crabs were in season I was given a hammer, nutcrackers and a skewer to clean the shells of meat. I hated the taste so Granny knew I wouldn't be eating any. She would tell me about her sleepless nights when the Germans were in Guernsey. Food was desperately scarce. A canning machine was hidden in turn by Granny and a few of her neighbours. They used it to can fruit and vegetables to augment their meagre diet. Granny used to put it under her large log-pile in the corner of her backyard. She was terrified of it being found. Her punishment would have been either imprisonment in France or firing squad. Thankfully the machine and it's users all survived unscathed and after the Liberation it found a home in the Scout Hut. Life had been hard but I never heard my Granny complain about anything and I never saw her without a beaming smile. She was so happy with none of life's luxuries. I am proud to be her grand-daughter.

FannyCornforth Tue 27-Apr-21 12:31:00

Thank you so much everyone for these stories, thank you for taking so much time. I haven't read them all properly yet.
Thank you too for your kind words.
I'm moping in bed with a cup of tea.
I keep thinking that I should give her a ring...

Namsnanny Tue 27-Apr-21 12:31:47

So sorry for your loss fannyflowers
My paternal Nan showed me true love. She died when I was 10yo and I still sorely miss her.
My relationship with my maternal gran was distant as my mother and her didn't get along.
On another note I loved being a Nan myself, but life has deemed it not to be.
I wonder if my (estranged?) Nan felt this way to?

Namsnanny Tue 27-Apr-21 12:32:06


Redhead56 Tue 27-Apr-21 12:59:06

Very sorry about your loss your memories will keep her in your 💖
My paternal gran was widowed in her forties she brought up nine children. We lived with her all eight of us for twelve years she was a hard woman and strict.
My maternal gran brought up eleven children. A very loving person she was always baking cakes.
Both my grans lived in inner city Liverpool and had hard lives.

nanna8 Tue 27-Apr-21 13:07:47

One of them I didn’t see after the age of 10 but I remember her as easy going, quite placid and cuddly. They lived on a farm in Kent. The other one had 10 children and lived in Leeds. I only saw her a few times and remember she was always in the kitchen or scullery as they called it. She was kind and cooked a lot. Her eldest daughter, my auntie, was the boss and ran the household. That sister never married but looked after all the others. They were quite wealthy and owned a print works but Grandad spent most of his time at his club, don’t blame him with all that noisy lot.

Grammaretto Tue 27-Apr-21 13:29:29

Dear Fanny I am sad for you that your beloved Nan has died.
I only knew one granny. We stayed with her after dad died. To think she was grieving a lost son!
She was the youngest daughter of NZ pioneers. Born in 1882, she is a link with another age.

She had been a busy farmer's wife but when I knew her she lived alone in a cottage by the sea and cooked on an open range, chopped wood for the stove, grew vegetables, knitted and painted watercolours for pleasure.
She taught me things and was kind. She had no conception of fashion or style. I was at the local school and was told to make a bouquet for the flower show. I went into the woods and picked bluebells. She gave me a jam jar to take them in. I was mortified when I saw all the other fancy bouquets.

She disliked my DM and the feeling was mutual. However we children were unaware of her viscious streak. We discovered long after she died that she had written letters to my dad, denouncing my DM and begging him not to marry her.
She died when I was about 12 but we had left NZ and her behind by then.

GrannyGravy13 Tue 27-Apr-21 14:09:04

Sorry for your loss Fanny 💐

I was fortunate to have known all my GPs along with two GGMs.

My maternal GP died when I was 4, I can just about remember him, my maternal GM died a week before my 19th birthday we were exceptionally close and losing her broke my heart, it’s still sore as she never met my children.

My paternal GP died when I was mid twenties, my paternal GM when I was forty, she met all my children. She was kind, taught me how to cook and bake.

I would spend most weekends with a GPs remember going to cricket matches with paternal GP, GM would meet us bringing a picnic. I went on holiday with them every year until I was 16.

Such fond memories. Treasure your memory Fanny

maydonoz Tue 27-Apr-21 14:47:30

So sorry to read of the loss of your Nan FC, I'm sure you will miss her dearly and cherish the memories.
Unfortunately I never met any of my grandparents, being the youngest of a

family of seven siblings. I have heard that my paternal grandmother died in childbirth so she must have been quite young. My Dad and other siblings were brought up by a dear Aunt who stayed at home to look after them, she was probably a teenager herself at the time. Life must have been so difficult in those days.

3nanny6 Tue 27-Apr-21 15:06:12

Sorry to hear of the loss of your Gran Fanny you must be feeling really sad. It always hits hard to lose a dear loved one.

My Granny as we all called her in the family died at age 95 years and so like your Gran she lived to a good age. She was still mentally well and had no dementia at all. Physically she
was losing power in her legs and could not get about too well. Granny came over from Ireland with four of her children (my mother being one of them) and two of her sons were in the R.A.F and three girls were left in Ireland with an aunt but once the accommodation was sorted the other three girls came over. Grandad came with her although he died
a young man after catching pneumonia several years before I was born and she spent the remainder of her life without any company of a male in her life. To me it was a wonderful childhood with many aunts and uncles also cousins and our dear Granny lived and was taken care of by my aunt and uncle and she lived a good life. My Granny even had great grandchildren and my first daughter felt special because she had her nan and also a Granny.