I thought I’d mix it up a bit this time and write about the legend that is my Nanny. I’ve always called her my Little Nan as she was 5’2″… she’s now about 4’9″.
She was born in Klagenfurt, Austria in December 1926, named Luzia. After being moved around during World War II, she finally came to live in England in 1954, following the footsteps of her step-sister Stephanie (who I’m named after). She took on the name Lia as she didn’t like her nickname Luzi, I think it’s cute! She got a job in a factory making skirts and soon worked her way up to be the person in charge of checking the other ladies’ work.
She met my Granddad, they married in March 1957, and they had three children. My mum is the eldest, born in 1959 in Clapham. They moved to Croydon in 1966 soon after my uncle was born and they’ve lived in their flat ever since!
Nan would always look after us when we were younger when mum and dad were working, and we used to love sleeping at their flat… I think I stayed there most Saturdays. Nan used to make a den over the sofa using dining chairs and sheets, and my god she made the best roast dinners! She’d usually make a lamb roast as she knew it was my favourite, and I used to help make the fresh mint sauce with the mint she’d grown on the balcony. After that epic roast, every time for pudding I’d have the Angel Delight we had made earlier in the day… usually the butterscotch flavour.
When I grew up and had my eldest daughter, Nan would always take us shopping in town for new clothes for the baby and insist on treating me to lunch while we were out. She’d always be on the phone to me for hours, and she’d babysit for me sometimes too. My daughter used to love spending time there as much as I used to and that made it a bit more special.
My nan was always so active, and everyone used to comment on it. Although we’ve always lived on the same estate, it’s not small and she used to walk to our house, then to the shops, then back to ours and home again. Nan & Grandad’s flat is on the third floor of a block of flats with no lift… those stairs have always killed me so I have no idea how she done it.
Apart from having arthritis in her hands and a hip replacement, Nan never really had any illnesses. A few years back, we noticed that Nan had started to get a bit forgetful. Eventually, she went to the doctors who diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease. Nowadays, she’s half the lady she used to be, just sitting in her chair in her own little bubble. She still comes out with her little one-liners that have us all cracking up, but she’s started to forget who some of us are and that is so heart-breaking.
My little Nan is 91 now and I know my sisters, brother and all three of my girls will agree with me when I say we couldn’t have asked for anyone better to be our Nanny!
Thanks for taking the time to read this, it’s been a bit of an emotional one!