My Nana was a tough old bird. Bringing up 6 kids through the depression pretty much on her own was a hard task and there wasn’t much money left over for holidays or gallivanting around the world. My lifestyle must have seemed so irresponsible to her, all that money spent on travel, but she never let on.
From the time I started travelling on my own in my early 20’s, I made sure I would send Nana a postcard. Sometimes it was just a few hastily scrawled lines, other times a detailed account of my latest adventure. I didn’t think anything of it in the beginning, I was sending postcards to a few people – that’s just what you did back then before the internet – but on a visit with her once, she showed me her photo album. In it were all the postcards she had received from her own children’s travels over the years and freshly pressed at the front were the latest from me.
It made me realise how much it meant to her to receive something in the mail from her grandchild. I didn’t grow up in the same city she lived in and Mum would often make us write letters to her, but I think receiving something unforced and full of the excitement of being in a foreign place meant something special.
Since then I always made sure that where ever I was, I at least sent one postcard – to Nana. I like to think she always had a little thrill when collecting her mail to see the latest one in there, even if it was just a few lines.
Nana died peacefully in her sleep this morning, aged 102, so I won’t be able to send her any more postcards, but where ever I go, I’ll remember to write a few lines in my head for her.