[1931 – 2019]
I knew Nana Pam
my whole life.
But I really got to know her
the time she threw
my cousin Ritchie out of his house.
He was about four or five. And he
told her he hated everyone and wanted
to run away.
Nana Pam didn’t believe in bluffs.
So she packed enough stuff to keep
him going and put it in a suitcase and had
him at the front door before he could say
sorry or even change his mind.
She sent him out onto the road and told him
to keep walking.
He ended up in Ireland – and so couldn’t
be here today.
I told my mum this story again just
recently and she explained that nana pam
– her mother – had done the same thing
Clearly it was a trick worth hanging on to.
Nana Pam once asked me what my
favourite music was – and I said
The next time I saw her she handed me
an album – “What’s this, I asked?”
“It’s your Deep Purple” she said with a smile.
The album said “Romantic Piano” and it wasn’t
the heavy metal band I adored. It was
some horrid piano ballad called Deep Purple,
it had been written by some hack called Peter De Rose
but it was the thought that counted.
I’ve kept that record. I still have it.
She would have got it from one of the second-hand
junk stores. It was probably 50c – but I reckon she’d
have talked the guy down to 4 or 5 bucks…
My grandad bob once asked me what I was listening
to. And I told him it was a Jimi Hendrix tape.
He asked me my favourite song.
I told him I was enjoying the song Manic Depression,
it was about how Jimi Hendrix loved his guitar
so much and he was sad that he could not actually make
love to it.
Grandad bob was snoring by the time I finished
this story – and Nana Pam’s eyes flashed.
“Why didn’t he just take the strings off” she
said. And then laughed like Precious Pup.
Nana Pam definitely had
favourites. And for the purposes of
this story I was most definitely one
She’s not here to argue with that anyway.
She had a cheeky smile. A wicked sense
of humour – there was gas in her laughter.
And naughtiness on her mind.
She bought me a wedding present that
was salt and pepper shakers with a light in the
Good, so you could see where you were
Deckchairs at the beach.
Laughing at other people’s misfortune
or mistakes. But not too much, just enough.
Keeping secrets. But not forever.
Showing a toughness that
sometimes bordered on cruelty, she was so fiercely
And I’m sure she had a bad side too.