I’m thinking about a very sweet, special person who I loved dearly when I was growing up.  I called her Nana.  She was my step grandmother who married my grandfather after his first wife died.  Nana never had any children of her own.  I never knew any other grandmother. My sister Sara and I spent many weekends at Nana and Grandpa’s house when our parents had other stuff going on…parties to go to and people to see.  We loved her house!  It was big with lots of neat hiding places and even a meandering stream in the back yard.  She took us on fun outings. We were never bored at her house, and this was before TV and computers were invented.

In the summers, Sara and I went to her mountain cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lassen County.  Her house was on a small remote lake where there was no electricity.  We made do with oil lamps, a big fireplace, and an old-fashioned icebox.  We fed the chipmunks and toasted marshmallows.   We swam in the lake and played with the other lake kids. It was paradise! She used to take me shopping to San Francisco, across the Bay from Berkeley where we lived.  We rode the orange Keystone Train across the Bay Bridge.  We always ate lunch at her favorite restaurant.  In those days we dressed up to go to the City.  I wore my fancy shoes, and of course she always wore a hat and gloves. Nana loved animals of all kinds, but she was particularly fond of her two Welsh Corgis, Teddy and Scampi.  She was rarely seen without them.  She walked them in her lovely garden, city streets or a mountain trail depending on where she was.

Nana, my step grandmother and her Corgis

Nana, my step grandmother, and her Corgis

I’ll never forget the phone call from my mother telling me the sad news, “Nana died suddenly on her way to the hospital.  She didn’t suffer.”  She died of an apparent heart attack.  She was 81 years old. I remember her funeral.  It was packed.  The memories people shared, the stories that were told and the tears shed were all chilling and sad, but also impressive!  She was Nana to us, and Aunt Lou to her family of cousins, nieces and nephews.  She was smart, funny, and generous in all ways.  She had so much to give.  I believe she cared deeply for the people in her stepfamily– her husband, my grandfather, her stepdaughter, my mother, and her two-step grandchildren, my sister and me. I still think of Nana.  I’d love to bring her back to be able to talk with her.  I’d love to have her meet my stepfamily.  Sadly I don’t hold a candle to her saintliness as a stepmom and grandmother.  She was the perfect Nana.  I loved her dearly and I miss her still.

Susan Wisdom, retired Counselor and Author September 2014

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