24 January 2018

Nan and Grandad

Nan and Grandad - Maggie May

My Nan is 98 years old.

She lives with my Grandad, who is 102 years old, in an annexe attached to my uncle’s house.

They have no carers, they are both independently mobile - albeit slowly, and with the occasional aid of a stick or a walker - and they still manage to get up the stairs to their bedroom every night using a stair lift. They sort out their own meals a lot of the time, and organise their shopping with the help of our relatives.

Granted, they don’t go out as much as they used to, but they know exactly what is going on in the world. They read the newspapers, they watch the TV, and they remember every detail of what’s going on in their family members’ lives.

They are, without a shadow of a doubt, my absolute heroes.

Nan and Grandad - Maggie May

I am incredibly proud of them, and love to tell people about how miraculous and wonderful they are. {I also like to brag that I have inherited their awesome, healthy genes.}

But they have been through a lot.

Nan grew up in the East End of London during the Blitz. She saw things that you would never believe. And so, she decided to write a book about it.

Now this has been a long-running joke in the family for a while; Nan promising us that her novel would be ready soon, and that it wouldn’t be long before she was being interviewed on This Morning by Holly and Phil, clutching her new paperback proudly.

By a rough estimate, I think Nan has been talking about her book for the last 10 years, having started planning this project in her late eighties.

But now, we’re getting somewhere!

Nan and Grandad - Maggie May

Last time I went to see them both, I was handed a thick wedge of papers, each sheet covered with my Nan’s neat and traditional script. I’d typed up the odd page here and there for her in the past, but this time was different - this time we had a story. 

It is almost unbelievable, reading about her early life. The things she and her family witnessed - their home being flattened by bombings during the war; the poverty that was so normal for that time; the difference in medicine and healthcare back then; the physical abuse suffered by wives and the utter lack of women’s rights; the complete disparity with life as we know it today.

It is not finished yet, but we really are getting somewhere, and I am determined to do whatever I can to see my Nan’s dream realised. I don’t know much about publishing, and I don’t have a literary agent, but I am willing to learn about all of these things to see if there is any possibility of my Nan’s book - likely to be a novella - being published.

To see her holding it in her hands one day would be astounding.

Thank you to The Cotswold Company for use of their images.

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