My photo
mommy. wife. teacher. yogini. writer. coffee drinker. aunt. crocheter. reader. dog lover. scattered. methodical. rational. irrational. paranoid. annoyed. lost. found. content. searching. peaceful. i am constantly in search of my story. the one i have never happened. the one i've lived i cannot write.

24 July 2009

my nanny.

'we'll see you soon.'

these were some of the last words i whispered to my nanny before leaving her for the last time.
the last time i saw her.
the last time i hugged her.
the last time i kissed her cheek.
the last time i waved good-bye.
and she cried as she gripped my shirt.
and i wonder
did she know?
did she sense that we would see her again in only one week's time?

the preacher asked us to come up with some memories to share at the funeral this past week.
and as i sat with my sister on the hotel bed
and stared blankly at the new notebook in front of me
i reached for words just out of reach.

how does one put a lifetime of memories onto one page?

what we shared at the funeral was fleeting.
this was my nanny...

i remember her hair. stick-straight and unable to hold curl. grey. she kept it short and neat for as far back as my memory goes. occasionally she would ask my mother to curl it, but the curls never took. she would twirl it around her fingers, often absent-minded and often while talking on the phone, to friends or just reasoning with herself quietly.

i remember her love of a bargain. she was a master of the hunt and knew her prey well - ceramics, lady head vases, costume jewelry, china, teacups, toys...she was a wealth of knowledge with regards to other people's junk. and she ingrained it in me - i live for the weekends when we rise early, throw on whatever may be clean, grab our coffee and head out for the sales. i finger the fabric and run my nail over the teacups to check for chips. i'm not the barterer she was, but it will come. we have begun this tradition with charlie and my hope is that she will come to love it as much as mary martha did.

i remember the backyard. i spent endless amounts of time in the backyard making ice cream, catching fireflies, snapping green beans and making clover chains that we would hang around the house to dry. i remember hanging clothes to dry and pulling them down before burning the trash. i remember 'gumballs'. i remember sprinklers. i remember sorting through boxes collected at an auction and sifting out the valuables from the junk.

i remember books. something about chums. something about pals. over and over and over again.

i remember games. animal dominoes. sorry. she always let katie jo cheat.

i remember werther's candies.
i remember not to run in pappy's store.
i remember the cheesecake she would buy just for me.
i remember potato salad.
i remember sparkly jewelry.
i remember going to the dairy queen.
i remember being slipped a twenty dollar bill each time she came to visit.
i remember being told to dry my hair so i wouldn't catch cold.
i remember being told to 'go tinkle' before bed.
i remember being told to sit down in the bathtub or we would slip and fall.
i remember the way she would bite her tongue just before a tickle or a big hug.
i remember her sitting up in the wee hours of the morning flipping through antique catalogs because she couldn't sleep.
i remember giving her 'some sugar'.
i remember.
i don't want to forget.

the last thing my pappy said to her was to wait for him.
'you wait for me,'
he whispered to her
right before he left the hospital.
she drove him crazy
and he loved her with all of his heart.
she was his buddy.
watching him say good-bye
broke my heart
and had me hoping that bill and i will have an ounce of that when that time comes for us.

at the visitation
a video of snapshots played
and towards the end
a picture of she and charlie flashed on the screen.
'look, charlie'
bill whispered.
'that's great-nanny and charlie.'
charlie's wide eyes studied the screen
and then
she looked down
at my nanny
at great-nanny
resting in her final place
and pointed.
'that's right,'
bill said.
'that's great-nanny'.

and she will be great-nanny to all the children that come into this world
as a result of her life
and her love
for her family.

words will never be enough.
so many memories.
so much love.
i miss her so very much.
but i know she waits
for my pappy
and for all of us.
much love.

mary martha (mccollum) thomas
november 20, 1936 - july 18, 2009









Shelley said...

Very touching tribute. I need a tissue. I'm so sorry for your family's loss.

Jackie said...

Tears are rolling down my face. I could be so lucky to have a granddaughter like you.

Your Nanny was loved!

Tara S K said...

Beautiful Amy! Thank you for helping me to realize that I need to stop and take time to go visit my own grandmother as I know her time will be here all too soon. You have made me think back to all the times I have spent with my own grandparents.
I am again sorry for your loss. Thinking of you.

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