Birthday poem for Nanny Howe

I miss you now you are gone

I miss your funny ways

Such as waking up at six O’clock to carboot it all the day

I miss your dusty, ashy house; I miss how you used to swear

I miss everything about you gran, I wished you was still there

I know a lot of people would call you crass and uncouth

But if you weren’t there every day, I would have had a worst youth

You showed me what normal should be like

You bought me down to Earth

You taught me nothing domestically

But you always had a warm hearth

Literally, like in the summer, we are all baking hot

And you will still put the fire on, killing us lot

I miss how you used to guzzle tea and mispronounce your words

I miss how you used to talk about the fights you had with birds

I miss all of your gypsy superstitions and your weird little ways

I miss you so much gran, I think I will always

Happy Birthday Nanny Howe

This poem was for you, you silly cow ❤

For those who don’t know my gran, she really wouldn’t have been offended by the last line, it was more or less something everyone said to her and she was so confident in herself she literally rolled her eyes and ignored us.

If anyone wants to know what she was like, I am telling you now, the likeness of personality between her and Catherine Tate’s Nan is amazing!  It is almost like Catherine Tate knew my Nan herself!

But my gran physically looked very different, very exotic to some.  She had dark olive skin, thick black tight curly hair like an Italian style, she always said we had Romany gypsy in us, Italian, Chinese, Hindu and black, but no one ever believed her.  I was told to ignore her, but I never did, I always felt she was the most honest person I ever knew.  As it turned out, two years ago I discovered she was right about certain things genetically.  I found it wasn’t a Chinese man who was supposed to be her great grandfather, it was a Vietnamese man, I found out on GenesReunited.com he adopted the surname of his English wife to fit in to Victorian Britain.  I also found out that her great great grandmother from 1840 was born in Boston USA and was mixed race, her mother’s former owner was so kind about her situation he had her educated to become a teacher but something happened by the time she was twenty three which meant she needed to go to Gibraltar, I don’t know what, but there she met a sailor who was British, married him and went to live in Kensington London.

So my gran was right to attack my mum all those years about racism, she was right in saying “we’re not all white you know”.

I was never sure of the gypsy claims though, but I do know that she took me to Portobello Rd Market once and introduced me to Old Gypsy Lee who lived under a bridge and he recognised her as kin.  I do know that Nan was raised on a farm in Enfield and that gypsies in the olden days often worked for farms, so it could be true, the family do have a big love for horse brasses.

Haven’t found the Hindu bit yet, but there was something in her history which showed in the 18th century that there was a Spanish lady who apparently was thought to be of Muslim origins, which makes me wonder about another claim gran had – the one about us being Egyptian somewhere down the line too.

I never forget the time that I was arguing with my mum about grans claims; mum was adamant we have an all-white and all British history that goes back before time, so I asked her to explain grans colouring and mum was quite offensive with her reply.  She said that she got her colouring for not being hygienic and washing enough, gran was there at the time and slapped her one, it was classic.

I got a slap too and was chased to my bedroom and threatened with all sorts of things by mum when I blurted out that she deserved that as it was a disgusting thing to say.

I believed gran more than mum because I have found evidence of these things a lot since leaving home.  I found out that gran was right about great grandpa Ernie being born and raised in a workhouse and he ran away aged thirteen and stole food from allotments to survive until someone employed him as an assistant gardener.  I found his workhouse papers on Genes Reunited; mum reckoned this never happened because she would have known about it as she was close to her grandpa Ernie; but mum fails to understand that before the 70s a lot of people didn’t like to dwell on a bad past because life was tough enough to go around wallowing in self-pity and many people liked to be private, so they never did talk about things, not even to family it was almost seen as a taboo to be nostalgically gloomy and my mum likens herself to being an avid historian – yeah right.

God I miss my gran.  I miss staying with her overnight, watching wrestling, horror movies and the shopping channel, whilst munching on fish and chips as she couldn’t cook to save her life, I reckon its why she visited us every day, because we fed her.  She wasn’t at all domestic, not the type to keep house, granddad did all that when he was alive, me and a couple of cousins tried to keep on top of it for her when she was alive, it was why I spent a lot of time with her.  Mum allowed that because it would keep me out of her hair and secondly it was to keep an eye on my dippy gran, as gran would do stupid stuff and that was normal even before her dementia.  She was in every way a bimbo and she knew it and she relished in it, because a bimbo can’t help it see, it works out good for her in a lot of things – to play ignorant that is.

It was a miracle my gran was alive at all, born in the early 30s with a heart condition and having a heart operation every 18 months her whole life and being on warfarin since she was in her mid-twenties, one of the first she claimed to get that medicine, coincidentally as gran was accident prone she was also haemophiliac which was scary as she was given a snappy jack Russell called Star.

You are probably wondering why I keep skipping from gran to Nan a lot when talking about her, it is common even when she was around, everyone called her Nan but I always alternated.  Her name was Doris-Dorina but everyone called her Dolly, which suited her bimbo nature.

I love you gran and wished you were still here.  But blimey gran, you’d be 88 now if you were. 

She died too young by today’s standards.  She died in 2006.  She was absolutely fine before she got ill; she got ill because of a car accident.  She had a car crash which caused her to have a head injury, like a fool she didn’t bother to go to the doctors and the crash was so mild that neither parties car was damaged and so she and the other party decided to not mention it to anyone and gran went home, she suffered migraines for a while and started to do silly things over a six week period – eventually we took her to the doctor as she was showing signs of dementia and a quick forming one too – turned out we were right and it the dementia was so fierce that within six months gran couldn’t talk anymore and would only stare into nothingness and needed to be forced fed.  Within a year of silence, gran died of a heart attack whilst at hospital waiting for a place to go into councils old peoples home.  She was living in a hospital for over a year waiting for some other old biddy to die so she could have a new home being cared for properly.

Apparently it can happen even to young people, a head injury in a certain way and within months you can become vegetative.

My gran hadn’t even retired when the accident happened, she was a cabby.

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Filed under Family and friends, Poems A - C

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