Treasure Seeker Tuesday #29: A Tale of Two Grandmothers

Treasure Seeker Tuesday #29: A Tale of Two Grandmothers

Hello Treasure Seekers! This week, in Treasure Seeker Tuesday #29: A Tale of Two Grandmothers is the story I want to share with you. One might think that I am writing about my own grandmothers, but as I am known to be full of surprises, it will not be about both of my grandmothers.

One of my grandmothers died before I was born. I never had the pleasure of knowing her, and I do hear that she was a remarkable woman. My middle name, Agnes, is in her honour. I am proud to be her namesake. It keeps her close to my heart. I hope to be able to meet her in heaven someday.

I am writing about my other grandmother. I do know her very well and love her dearly. She has had quite a life, and I want to tell some of her story here. Along with her in this post will be my husband’s grandmother. We each only have one living grandparent now, as his grandfather on the other side of the family passed away less than two weeks ago. He was 92, almost 93. He loved to be busy and was gardening in the orchard, vegetable garden and greenhouse almost right up until the day he died. It was sad to receive the news that he was gone, but it was a better thing for him to go quickly instead of being too sick to stay busy and be stuck in the hospital. He will be missed.

Both of my grandfathers have also passed away. I miss each of them from time to time but smile at all of the memories I have of growing up with them in my life. Roy’s other grandfather and grandmother are also gone. It seems like more people are dying in our world, but it is actually no more or less than before. We are old enough now that we both are taking note of this more, and it seems like it is more frequent, but it is not. We are just paying more attention to the news than we did when we were younger. As we grow older, our perspective changes with us.

We went on vacation for the first full week in July. We had a busy week, and I plan to blog about the vacation later. During this vacation, we planned to visit with our grandmothers, along with as many friends and family we could fit into our week. You see, some people get to see their families whenever they want to, and sometimes when they don’t want to. Roy and I live in New Brunswick, and most of our families live in either Nova Scotia or Ontario. When we make the trip to visit with our families, it literally means we plan to spend time with our families. We would love to have the time to visit with everyone when we go on vacation, but there are too many people to fit in. We only see my family, including our nieces and nephews, once a year, if we can all make the trip.

This time has become precious to me, and I want to be present in their lives when I get the chance to be there. If I am not spending the majority of my vacation with them, I am missing out on something that matters to me. Being an aunt in person. Playing board games, colouring and picking songs for music night. Having 1 s’more cooked on the bonfire and watching them chase bubbles around the yard. Watching my mom and nephew play washer toss together. Going out for ice cream. Listening to and joining in on a chorus of giggles. Stuff most aunts take for granted because they can see their nieces and nephews whenever they want to. Things I take a few pictures of and try to be present in the moments so that I can remember them until next year.

When I went to see my grandmother, I went with my mom, sisters, and their children. Nanny seemed to remember me, which was good. Her memory is failing, and she repeats things, gets confused, and asks the same questions over and over. If you were around her frequently, it would be trying on your patience, but it’s not her fault. She is 89 years old and lives in a home for senior citizens, built as an addition to the local hospital. That way there are doctors and medical staff on site all the time. She likes it there. She says the floors are clean, and that the food is good. She says that there is nothing that they don’t have because the staff provides everything they need. She also says that even though she is there alone most of the time, she doesn’t find the time long at all. She is still active where she is because when we arrived to visit, we had to leave and come back. She was at a birthday party. One thing about my Nanny is that she likes her activities, and I don’t think she would have been pleased to be interrupted. We also decided that it would be nicer to the person that the party was for to not interrupt and cause a commotion since it wasn’t Nanny’s party, and she was a guest. If it had been her birthday, we would have gladly surprised her, but it wasn’t.

We went to a store to window shop, and we went back. I asked Mom if she thought the parties ran late in the home, and she didn’t think so. Mom was wrong. They are a bunch of party animals in there! We had to wait longer for her to be finished when we went back!

Nanny was surprised to see the group of us when she came back to her room. She wanted to know all of our names, and ages. She asked me how old I was, and I answered truthfully, “44.”
“What?” she asked, “44? Huh. Next, it will be 50.” To which I held out my hands and said, “Slow down there! I am in no rush for that!” Everyone laughed about it.

She kept repeating the names and trying to match the kids with my sisters. She did get confused. We changed how we were sitting to make it easier, and it did help, except it put my sisters, the twins not sitting side by side. Then she had to concentrate to place them.

When it was time to leave, she kept looking at me and asking me if I hugged her yet. By the third hug, I made a joke about how I thought I was unforgettable, but I guess not. We laughed. She wanted to hold my hand, and that was fine with me. Everyone gave her a hug, and we left as a group. Nanny had a good day, and I was glad we got to have a nice visit with her. It is a little hard to see her the way she is now, knowing what a tough cookie she has always been. She loved to play cards, crib, and Bingo. She didn’t lose gracefully and always wanted to win. She still gets her hair “set” in curls and loved laughing when we visited. She had breast cancer, twice, and beat it. She still complains about arthritis in her spine and in the next sentence claims that she is lucky to have her good health. The doctor jokes with her about not making any money from taking care of her, because she is too healthy. She likes that joke.

It amazed me one day in university to realize that my grandmother was fluently bilingual in English and Acadian French. I knew she spoke both English and French as a child. I asked her if she could also read both languages, and she told me that she could.  I guess I never really thought about it until the day I asked her.

Later on that week, we went to visit Nanny Webber, my husband’s grandmother. She will be 110 on July 22nd. She is still living in a senior’s apartment, in the same building as her son, my father in law. He checks on her and helps her as much as he can.

Visiting with Nanny Webber is a different experience than visiting with my grandmother. I have no problem holding a conversation with her, and she likes to have a few minutes to talk to me without the men listening in. I know she doesn’t say anything to me that she wouldn’t say in front of them, but I think she likes to visit with me as much as I like to visit with her.

She does have helpers now for two meals a day. She was not happy that they wanted her to stop eating salt. She has been alive longer than most people will ever dream of, and I agree with her that if she wants to have salt, then she should be able to have it. It might be worse for her to stop having it at her age. I can’t say for sure but I think she is wise to keep going the same way she always has. It’s worked for 110 years, why stop now? My husband helped his father fill up her salt shakers (she has at least 4) and gave her one near her chair, so it is there and she can reach it by herself if she wants to.

I don’t know Nanny Webber as much as I would like to. We have had a few visits over the years, and I am honoured every time we have a little visit. I look forward to as many visits as I can with her. I told her that I am writing a book, and she told me that she would like to read it and that she hopes that she is able to. I hope so, too.

Nanny Webber and Roy’s father made the local news today. Here is a link:
Nanny Webber and Roland Webber on the news

Our grandmothers met at our wedding, almost 8 years ago. There is one picture of them sitting together at the reception.

Nanny Webber (left) & Nanny (right) at my wedding reception in September 2010

Nanny Webber (left) & Nanny (right) at my wedding reception in September 2010

My aunt took this picture. 🙂

There are 2 other pictures that I would like to share. The first one is of my grandparents on their wedding day. It is a picture with a story behind it. When they got married, My grandmother posed for a picture with her maid of honour, and my grandfather posed for a picture with his best man.  The pictures of them together had either been lost or were not able to be developed for some reason. They never had a picture of them together on their wedding day.

Imagine their surprise when they looked at the picture below…

Nanny & Pepere on their wedding day, September 30, 1947

Nanny & Pepere on their wedding day, September 30, 1947

 

My aunt had this picture created, digitally as a surprise for them on their 50th wedding anniversary. I guess I am not the only one in the family who is full of surprises!

When we visited with Nanny Webber, I learned that we had even more in common than just our love for crafts and marrying into the Webber family. On my wedding day, there was a hurricane, and we had to schedule a different day for wedding pictures. Nanny Webber wanted to give us a wedding photo, taken the day after her wedding, on the family farm. She had to get dressed for her wedding photos twice also!

Here is the picture she gave to us:

Nanny & Grampy Webber, Sept 18 1934. Photo taken in Clam Harbour, NS.

Nanny & Grampy Webber, Sept 18 1934. The photo was taken in Clam Harbour, NS.

This photo was taken the day after their wedding. I am not sure if it was dated for the day of the wedding or the day after the wedding. It was her mother’s farmhouse they are standing beside.

There you have it, Treasure Seekers! A Tale of Two Grandmothers! I hope you enjoyed reading about our grandmothers. Please share any stories about your grandparents in the comments. I would love to read them!

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