Sunday, July 18, 2010

where are Nanny & Grandpop??

The living room is a disaster. As it becomes more and more cluttered with photographs in various stages of order, euphemistically speaking of course, I for the first time am missing my separate office and large desk of the old house. That being said, it is a mess I can live with temporarily – well, it’s not really a mess, just an upset. The end will justify the means…

where are Nanny & Grandpop?

The short answer is “Believe it or not, we don’t know”.

Nanny passed away in Montreal in the spring of 1951. She was Helen King D’All, King was her maiden name.

The death of his mother brought our Dad back to Canada and later that same year, Mum, Dan & I followed. There is only a very dim recollection of Nanny in the back of my mind … of our first foray to MontrĂ©al after the war when I became Red Riding Hood for Hallowe’en (scared witless of ghosties and ghoulies) –and of a baby doll all dressed in pale green knits that she sent with a friend who was on a trip to England.

Nanny was Past-President of the now-defunct Scottish Clans in MontrĂ©al and there are lots of condolence letters – it is a strange feeling indeed to see your name preceded by “the Late” when you are living and breathing (I am named after her). Not much was ever said about Nanny except that she was very ill and bedridden for the last few years of life and that she was young, only 50 when she died. Going by the surgery we know she had, I would opine colon cancer – but cancer was a word uttered in hushed tones in the 1950s, if it was uttered at all.

Fast forward to 1969 – in December we lost Grandpop. Fast forward again to 1997 and the devastating loss of our Mum, whom the world knew and loved as Annie ~ well, at least the Canadian world, at home in the UK she is forever ‘our Gertie’.

Mum had expressed the wish to be cremated and when I made the arrangements I was informed that in order for her to have her own marker, as opposed to her name simply being inscribed on a central column, I would have to purchase a double plot, which of course I did.

The thought then occurred that no-one had ever mentioned Grandpop’s interment , so after a discussion with Dan & Maggie, we agreed that I would retrieve his ashes and have him buried with Mum. The best of intentions sometimes go awry ~ there were no ashes at the crematorium and according to the funeral home, Dad had signed for and taken Grandad’s ashes. Uh oh?? We asked Mum’s family, neighbours, anyone we could think of and nobody knew what had been done with Grandpop.

The next solution (hopefully) was to find the disposition of Nanny’s ashes and there would be Grandpop, right? No eureka here either ~ history had simply repeated itself albeit with a casting change when Grandpop died, it seems he had signed for and taken Nanny’s ashes just as Dad had with his.

I remain convinced that Grandpop took Nanny back to Scotland on one of his many trips, but I have no proof. It has always been my impression however, that she would have been happier in Dundee and if my conviction is true, it makes me feel that he knew it and made sure she got home. There is a family suspicion that Dad may have scattered Grandpop’s ashes over the St. Lawrence ~ in reality ~ we have no clue whatsoever ………..

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