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Wednesday, 18 July 2018

My Nan


 My Nan was registered as Emma Winifred Breeze ; but she was always called Pem ( she hated Emma!) She was second eldest of 11 children.

                       My Great Grandmother and GrandFather

Pem excelled at English ( a family trait) she won prizes and could recite On Bosworth Field 'off by heart' up till her 70's.
She loved her Mom and Dad with all her heart so eventually succumbed /listened to their disapproval of her husband and returned home with my Mom - leaving Bob (whose real name was Wilfred) to carve the life he did before his death and leave her with a rude awakening !

        My Nan, Grandad and Mother

My Nan had a bedroom sideboard and two double wardrobes.The wardrobes hid fur coats that her brothers would don and walk with an arm on each others shoulder singing 'Underneath The Arches' as they made their way to the their freezing bedroom ( no central heating in those days!)
The wardrobe also held the tin of letters - as mentioned in My Mom post.It was difficult to get Nan to speak about him, she would let others. She wore her wedding ring till the day she passed away .

          Alice( formerly Frances) Mom, Nan ,Letty (family friend with her baby)

My Nan often went on holiday with her sisters (Floss,Letty and Alice) They enjoyed fishing in Ireland - the locals loved that these English women would go fishing most days though my Nan said 'One morning we went to post cards and there was a bar in the post office- when we got out it was dark!!'' On another holiday there was a group of people singing Welsh songs at the top of their voices, not to be outdone the sisters stood up and sang the National Anthem, Land of Hope and Glory etc...they all became good friends over the holiday.
We went on a couple of holidays with her and my Aunt Letty-my best memory was visiting a wax works in Weston-Super-Mare : whilst walking around Mom had become aware of what she believed to be a suspicious looking man (we didn't know this) Nan in the meantime had an idea......as we approached The House Of Horrors section she hid behind the door and as she said later ''I screwed my face up as bad as I could!'' and waited for Mom .....it was a good job we were the only ones there when Nan jumped out on her! My Mom began with a scream and ended with'' You evil, evil woman!'' - My Nan loved it!

                              Nan, Letty, (family friend) ,Alice and Mom

There were always family gatherings at Nans house whether Birthdays, Christmas' or just weekly meet ups ...cousins ,aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews would pile in .Food would be eaten, beer drank and the 'turns' would be expected....Nan would do her recital, Letty would recite Barbara Frietchie , Uncle Bill would sing then request my Mom to sing ( he voiced his disappointment at Moms funeral that there wasn't a recording of her singing 'one last time -beautiful voice') luckily us kids got out of the performances. These times faded as Nan and Letty got older, though the weekend visits remained as much as possible
                                               Letty, Floss and Nan

.One memorable afternoon the sisters (Nan, Letty, Floss and Alice) were having a 'fashion show'-Alice and Letty had bought a couple of dresses- when ,upon seeing Letty in one of the dresses Nan screwed up her nose and remarked ''Oh, I don't like that one- It makes you look old!'' There wasn't one of them under 70 at the time!

Philip(family friend), Nan, Mom, Letty, Alice with daughter Sheila and her friend  plus Alice's husband Dennis

Often ,she would tell stories to us and especially enjoyed relating the sad tale of the boy captured in a shop stealing bananas because his mother was ill and they had no food - ending in the shopkeeper and customers giving him food for his family; she loved the drama -especially if one of us cried. She also enjoyed pretending to young children that there was a mouse in the overhead  light and conducted various conversations with him in a squeaky voice whilst barely moving her lips.
My Nan had what my Dad called 'a permanent smile''- it was the same smile in every photo, it never altered! (apparently I have inherited this trait- could be worse!)
She also had a good line in sarcasm- one of her favourite remarks to anyone who indulged in any kind of relentless self promotion used to be''Oh I love me -who do you love ? has arrived''
I visited her in hospital , not realising she would pass away the next day, the lovely nurse on duty was telling my Mom she had managed to get Nan to eat her pudding ''And aren't you bleeding proud of yourself!'' she said, a twinkle in her eye.......


                                                   Nan and Aunt Letty














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