Yesterday, May 2nd, was my Nana's birthday. I believe it would have been her one hundreth birthday- though I need to check this - were she still alive. [Mom and Dad confirmed that it would have been her 101st birthday as she was born in 1904]
My memories of Nana begin when I was very young and we took a trip (or several?) on the airline from Chevy Chase to Colorado. Mostly, I remember flying on a plane and of hearing the sound of Nana and Grandad's various clocks calling out the time through the day and night. Later, I remember a trip to Escondido California to visit them. Avacados and a (nearly?) adopted cat dominate that memory. I also remember when they visited Chevy Chase - I thinkit was late summer - and I had a toy lawn mower that my Grandad helped me "start" and "run". Not too long after that Grandad passed away. It was the first time I'd experienced death in any personal way.
In the years after that, Nana would occasionally come to Maine, though I think it took some getting used to for her - she always was one more for Sun than for Cold! I distinctly remember her coming off an Air New England plane in Waterville on one of her early visits; she emerged very happy to be back on the ground and wondering what she had got herself into I think! Her visits were swaths of penuche, homemade pasta, and wondrous sticky buns all painted over a canvas of cribbage! Man, did we play cribbage! She taught me as best she could, and took no prisoners: if there were unclaimed points in my hand, she took them. I learned to take my time scanning my hand!
Lots of other memories including the surprise trip we all took to Fort Collins for her 90th birthday when we convened at the Holiday Inn. That was a very fun time which I think truly delighted Nana. My fondest memory of that trip was seeing Nana watch Rod play her piano in Nana's apartment.
Nana had a determination about her at all times. She always seemed clear on the right thing to do. She seemed always to press on through life to find or make better times; a reflection on her reaction to the various challenges that life dealt her along the way I would imagine. A reaction I always found fascinating and inspirational.
Nana always said she had no regrets in life. I have to say that I have at least one regret already which is that Nana and Meg never met. Their is a similar steel that runs through them, an appreciateion for cats and beauty, a sense of independence (stubborness?) that I think they both would have appreciated in the other. Alas, I did not make that happen and while Meg and I were in California, my Nana passed away. Rod, Kathy and I joined Mom and Dad in Fort Collins to say goodbye to her. We played some cribbage, we did not poke holes through Virginia Slims cigerettes, and we watched a beautiful butterfly fly over Nana's casket the day of the funeral.
Happy Birthday Nana! I think of you often.