March 25, 2012

Memory Lane Monday - My Mother's Garden...

Nanny and Mum with Billy. 1953
My beautiful mother is British and for many years I believed she was actually royalty! In fact, she came from humble, but honest beginnings, the daughter of my grandmother (who I called Nanny), Irene and her husband, Douglas. My grandfather deserted Nanny shortly before my mother's birth, so Nanny raised my Mum on her own until she met my Granddad Young and had two more sons.

I wrote last month about my Uncle Johnny, who still lives in England with his family. Their brother, Richard moved to the U.S. with his wife and two children when I was in junior high school and they've been here since.

My nan was a loving and hard-working woman, who I only remember through treasured photographs, stories from Mum, and the precious letters she wrote to Mum and me after my parents came to the United States.  (My father was an American in the Air Force, who returned with a pregnant wife and a year-old daughter - me - when his tour ended in 1956.)

Nanny and Mum with me in the middle. 1955
What few photographs I have of us together are worth gold to me. I can see from those images of Nanny that she was a proud and refined woman, but you can see in her eyes that she never had an easy life. I do know that she loved her children, and her letters to me are filled with deep affection.

Nan died when I was seven years old. Mum was only twenty four. She was taken from us far too soon by cancer. I remember the pain in Mum's eyes when the telegraph arrived to tell us that she was gone. I still have the message with her letter.

I know that Mum wishes that they could have been together to the end, and there are many times when we talked about the fact that we could have both been "brolly-carrying Brits" had we stayed behind.

I often wonder what it might have been like to have spent more time with Nanny - to have been able to have known her well enough to actually remember for myself her smile, her soft voice and her loving eyes.
Nanny and me, her first grandchild (looking for my sock!). 1955
Mum is in her seventies now, but we talk frequently about my British heritage - my birthright - and she tells me that Nan would have been proud of me and the woman I've become.  I've always been comforted and happy in that knowledge.
One of my published designs.
When I was actively designing counted thread samplers in the late 1980's and early 1990's, I created the sampler called "My Mother's Garden". It's actually a loving tribute to my mother and my nanny. The verse is one that I heard often as a child, and Mum told me that her mother used to recite it for her. I love the verse:

"If you've a mother with silvery hair,
love one another and treat her with care.
And as you grow older the least you can do,
Is to do unto Mother as she did for you."

The bottom of this sampler was designed to have a family record stitched into it. I stitched mine with my grandmother's name, place of birth and birthdate, then Mum's and then mine. It's one of my first and favorite honor two women who I love and admire.
I so appreciate you taking this stroll with me down Memory Lane. I think this story shall remain one of my favorites. I hope you enjoyed it, too.

If you have a memory that you'd like to share on your blog, please link back here so that we can all visit and read it, too! (You can link your story below up until March 30th.)

Before we part today, please hop over to The Raspberry Rabbits and wish Shell a
Happy Birthday!

11 friends clicked here to leave a note for me:

Marydon said...

Precious photos, precious memories, precious love ... I adore this memory Donna. What beauty in each picture.

Have a beautiful day ~

~ GIVEAWAY ends 3/30 ~

Quilt Kitty said...

A beautiful post Donna. It can be very hard having family in another country, especially when you are the one that moved away. Your cross stitch pattern is a beautiful memorial to your special mum & nanny. Tracee xx

Laurie said...

What a special story Donna, I love the verse.

Elsina said...

What a beautiful post. I can feel a lot in it. I also left my family back in Europe when I emigrated to Israel with my Israeli husband. I still have a few aunts and uncles living there and of course my dad and grandparents are buried there. Sometimes it's not easy. I wonder how my kids would have grown up in the "old country", speaking a different language. I think things go as they have to go and for everything there is a reason, even if we don't see it at the time. Thanks for sharing these memories!
hugs, Elsina

Twyla and Lindsey said...

Donna, such sweet memories. I have such a love for grandmothers. I wish she could have lived much longer, but you have kept her memory alive and carry on her legacy. I loved seeing the pictures. Have a wonderful day! Twyla

Vickie said...

Oh Donna, great post. I do not remember my grandmothers either. I have pictures of me with each of them, thank God. These are special. Take care. :)

Minimiss said...

Grandparents are very special people no matter how long they are with us for. A lovely post for your Memory Lane Monday.

Createology said...

Such a loving and beautiful tribute to your mum and nanny. Your roots run deep and strong my dear. Your sampler is incredible. Precious memories to be certain...

Queenie Believe said...

What a beautiful post. I'm have a definite Kleenex moment! Such a beautiful tribute to your mum grandmother.
Have a great day.
Always, Queenie

Michelle May said...

Totally loooooove this post! My gosh girlfriend, you are gorgeous now and were the cutest little baby ever! I could squeeze you in that photo!
That sampler is so beautiful. You ever think of selling them again?

yes, as usual I'm playing blog catch up. What can I say, I've been a party animal all week! Woo hoo!! hee,hee,hee.

Jillayne said...

I love this post Donna and it is one of my favourites of all the ones you've done.
Memories are a great joy, and I admire how your "Nanny" made sure you would know her, and her love for you through her letters - what a treasure they must be.
Wonderful story Donna - thank you.


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