Jessie has found a new interest in Oral History after sitting with her almost 90yr old Nana and interviewing her for over six hours. There is always more to learn about a person and their life story and it surprises me that the people we love dearly we often know little about. I feel grateful to have had this chance to see my Nana in a new light.
Some might describe my Nana as a tough old bird.
Some might say cold fish.
I say independent, sometimes fierce but with a warmth in her humour.
When Nana was five she left school on her first day walking the one-mile home alone. She had been caned for pulling a chair out from underneath a boy that she fancied. She thought, ‘I’ve had enough of school thank you’ and told her Mother that she had been allowed to come home early. There was more punishment from both her Mother and Father, when the truth was discovered.
In her teens my Nana told her Father she wouldn’t go to bible class anymore and when he hit her with his razor strop she called him an ‘old Bastard’. She got her way though and negotiated to go to the main church service instead, saying ‘When my friend Ray and I left for church, we never quite made it.’
When my Granddad first asked my Nana for her hand in marriage she told him, ‘No’. She wasn’t getting married ‘until she was at least 25 and he could come back then if he wanted to’.
When my grandparents moved into a farm house in Marua they had no power or running water. The groceries were delivered to the end of the one-mile long driveway and put into the little shed to be picked up. One week, when Nana’s brother-in-law (who had been organised to help her) failed to turned up, she decided she would do it herself from then on. This meant leaving the two toddlers at home with their twin baby brothers in their cots while she set off up the drive on her own.
During the oral history interviews a boy racer kept driving up and down the road noisily. Nana stuck up her two fingers and yelled, ‘bugger off you bloody idiot’ and then remarked, ‘I always say that but he never hears me.’
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