Posts Tagged ‘nanny jean’

“It’s Nan”

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

 

Smiling, Knitting and Singing

Nan

 

If you’ve read our blog at all over the last 5 years, you’ll know about our beloved Nanny Jean.  She is Carly and my grandmother. We called her Nanny or Nan.  There are plenty of blog posts about our Nan.  This is a great one..and this…heck, just search Nanny on our blog:)
 

Anyway…we are always paying attention for little signs from our Nan.  We are open to that kind of stuff.  Friday was a big one!
 

Here is how it went down.
 

I got a call early last week from a sweet older woman looking for help on a prayer shawl.  I told her I’d be happy to help if she came in.  Then she said it was crochet.  Now, I can crochet and if necessary I could probably have limped my way through helping her, but really Carly was the person for this task. Carly is my cousin.  Our Nan taught us both to knit.  You can read a bit more about Carly here.
 

Carly isn’t the worlds most proficient crocheter either, but she’s better than me.  So, I told the lovely customer when Carly would be in and told her maybe it was best she come in when Carly was working.
 

A little preface here…
Our Nan loved coins. She got in some trouble once buying too many coins:) She used to collect coins for Carly’s kids. Hogan got quarters, Lily got dimes and Henry got nickels or something like that.  Anyway, coins and Carly and Nan are connected.  A few years ago Carly was moving to a new house and starting a new phase of her life. When she was all done cleaning out a storage locker, she was sweeping it out and found a threepence.
 

carly threepence
 

Have I mentioned our Nan was from England?  We just knew then that Nan was watching out for Carly.  Since Nan passed, Carly has been finding dimes in random spots.  It’s just a weird little thing.  So, whenever Carly finds the dimes, she takes a sec and thinks of our Nan.
 

Cut to Friday.
 

The crochet customer came in Friday for help with her project. Carly got her back on track (of course she did) and the customer was ready to leave.  She got her cane and started walking out of the classroom. Carly could sense she needed some assistance so she took her elbow and started to help her.  All of a sudden the customer bent down and picked something up and handed it to Carly.
 

IMG_4555
 

It was a dime. The customer said “I think this is for you”.  This person, who was having trouble even walking, bent all the way down like it was easy as pie and picked up the dime. Carly asked her for her name and it was Fran.  Carly thought, of course it is.  It rhymes with Nan.  She smiled.
 

There were a few people in the shop at the time and Carly told them to hold down the fort.  She was going to walk Fran to her car.  So she took her hand and made sure she made it safely into her car.
 

When she got back in and back to the counter she said to the next customer, who had been patiently waiting, “Remind me of your name”.  The customer said “It’s Nan”.
 

Carly said “Excuse me?  What?”
 

The woman said “It’s Nan.  That’s my name”.
 

Carly thought, of course it is.  It’s Nan!  She smiled.
 

We hear you Nan! We love and miss you!
 

They may throw it away

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

 
We’ve talked about this before.  How we (crafty people) make things for people and then we never see the thing again.  We may never get acknowledged even for making said crafty thing.  I wrote about it here in this letter.
 
As the gift giving season approaches again and we are all hand crafting away for the people we care about I give you this to think about.
 
Things you’ve knit for people, they may get thrown away.
Things you’ve crocheted for people, they may get given to a neighbor.
Things you’ve quilted, sewn, stamped, beaded, cross stitched, and calligraphied (is that a word?) they may get put in the Goodwill box.
 
But they may not.
 
They may be put away in a treasures box and pulled out 24 years later.
 
This one was.  Just this morning.
 
Doll from Nan 1
 
Doll from Nan 2
 
Doll From Nan 3
 
And memories of our Nan came flooding back.  I am yet again inspired and filled with joy for the hand making season.
 
I love you too Nanny Jean.

 

Good Day to Block a Stocking

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

.
April 23rd, 2013
.
Wisconsin
.
This is what we woke up to today…a beautiful snowfall.  Bright sunny skies and 8″ of snow!  We were so excited to see blue skies and sunshine that we didn’t even mind the snow.
.
.
.
We had a 2 hour school delay, so we played in the snow a bit before the bus.
.
.


.
.
I thI thought it was a good a day as any to block a Christmas Stocking.
.


.

We are just finishing up our first Christmas Stocking Classes in honor of our Nanny Jean.
.
A good time was had by all…
.
If you want to start your own Christmas Stocking tradition, we have another set of classes coming up.  Check them out here.
.
Happy Spring!


Our Loving Nan – A Life Well Lived

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

.
She was born in 1924.  London England.
.

Nanny, Bob and Margaret

.
She was 15 of 16 kids.
.

Her given name was Mabel Robbins.  No middle name.  It kind of bugged her because one of her sisters had 3 names; Lillian Rose Hopper AND everyone called her Dingle.  So really she had 4 names.  One day she questioned her father about it and he said to her “it don’t mean nothing to me old darling call yourself anything you want”.  So she chose Jean.
.
They lived in Rotherhithe and then Deptford then Greenwich.  She told stories of walking to town with her dad leading the way, holding up his hands to stop traffic at crossings to help all his little ones cross the street.     On Mondays her mom would bring the dirty wash to the baths in Bermondsey.  She would stand in line and then spend all day washing clothes, sheets and towels.  She would spend all day on Tuesday ironing.  Nanny would say her mom worked all the time.  At night sometimes, her dad would put the earphones for the radio on her mom’s head, set her in a chair with a cup of tea and a cigarette and he would get all the kids ready for bed.  She remembered him saying “I am married to the finest women in England”.

.

She said her family was always singing, that they were a “happy lot”.

.
.

They lived on the river Thames.   She love the hustle and bustle of the city and the river.  The river would rise and flood the street that was made of wooden blocks soaked in creosote.  They would carry them back home and use them for firewood.  She would say to us… “yes I do know the muffin man”, because growing up, her neighborhood not only had a muffin man, but a lamplighter and a coal man.  She told of a guy on a bicycle that would come by and sharpen your knives, a salt and vinegar man pushed a wheelbarrow with a barrel full of vinegar and a big block of salt.  He would fill up your jug and cut a wedge of salt for you.  They had a man that sold shrimp and winkles, cockles and mussels and jellied eels.  If that doesn’t sound like the start of a Charles Dickens novel I don’t know what does.
.
She lived through the bombing of London in WWII.  She had stories of hearing bombs drop, black outs and rushing into bomb shelters.  She would collect shrapnel to earn money.  She had so many stories.
.
She met our Grandad Jimmy Doyle, an American GI, on a London train.
.

Nanny and Jimmy Doyle

.
They married, became pregnant and Jimmy was eventually sent back to America.  When the baby, our Uncle Terry, was 8 months old, she finally immigrated to America to be with Jimmy.  It took her a few tries, she didn’t want to leave.  Once she was bound for a voyage to American on a ship.  She got to the dock and couldn’t do it.  She didn’t want to leave the only family she knew or her beloved London.   Eventually she did get on a PanAm flight from London to NYC.  She arrived on Christmas Day 1946.

Welcome to America

.
When she arrived in NYC her pocketbook was stolen.  Along with it all her money.  She was 22 years old, in a strange country, full of strange accents.  She held an 8 month old baby and had no idea how far NYC was from St. Paul, MN.  The American Red Cross gave her a train ticket and she hopped on the train to her future.
.
There is so much more to her story.  More than I can possibly share in a blog post.
.

Nanny as a Mermaid?

.
She and Jimmy lived a nice life.  They raised 5 kids, who raised 24 grand kids, who are raising 13 great grand kids.
.
Quite a legacy.
.
She was a glass half full girl. She always believed the best would come, and for her it usually did.
.
She was always smiling, knitting and singing…always.
.

Smiling, Knitting and Singing

.
She taught us to be glass half full people too.  To believe that the best will come.  And for us, so far so good.
.
Carly and I and the rest of our clan, are proud to be part of her legacy.  We will smile and knit and sing too, remembering our Nanny.
.

.
Life well lived Nan.  Well done you.  Rest in peace.

 

More of our blogs mentioning our Nanny here and…here…and here…and here…and here…and here
.

.