Sunday, March 28, 2010


One hundred years ago today (March 29), my Grandma was born.

Left: She and I at her London Street house c. 1969; Right: About 30 years later, months prior to the emergence of her first great-grandchild

Grandma's been gone for just over four years, and I miss her terribly. But her mark on my life was indelible, so since she has passed, I have had far less of a sense of loss than I imagined I might. She has really not gone anywhere.

As a woman of my generation and socio-geo-nomic upbringing, it's easy to become complacent about my lot in life. It's easy to wave off the fact that I vote and have an education and a decent job. That I am surrounded by people who accept it as a natural decision of circumstance within a family, that the father be at home with the kids. Or the mother.

There are two kinds of people (yes, I said "people") who have put me here today: there are those who spoke out & marched & fought & litigated & fought & marched some more; and there are those who just did. Grandma just did. Every day.

The Three Lessons From Grandma, that she never, ever said out loud:
  1. Get yourself an education. And don't stop.
  2. NO ONE can make you feel inferior without your permission (I realize that Eleanor Roosevelt said that, but Grandma lived it)
  3. Do not take yourself too seriously, dammit!
Without words, every one of those lessons has been threaded through my person, as I've tried to emulate her spirit in an entirely different life & time. #2 is hard, but I think I'm doing OK.


Happy Great-Grandma Norah Day!
(Pepper named the day, on Grandma's first birthday after she passed. She saw it marked on the calendar, she decided we should do something about it. So we did!)

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  1. I love this post!! Makes me all misty about my Nanny. But you're right: as long as we celebrate them, they never die.

  2. Wait a second, she lived on London St? That means that deep down you're an East Kildonaner? AND an engineer? Well, in that case of course no one can make you feel inferior!

  3. "But her mark on my life was indelible, so since she has passed, I have had far less of a sense of loss than I imagined I might. She has really not gone anywhere."

    this was like a bell ringing in my head. this is exactly how i feel about my own nana and sort of, my mom. thanks harmzie :)

  4. What Stone Fox said. That line rang in my head, too. Thanks, Michelle.

  5. Happy Great-Grandma Norah Day!!! That was a lovely and touching remembrance.

  6. your grandma fucking rocked! great tribute.

  7. Love this!
    She sounds lovely- like you!

  8. My grandma Ruth would have been 102 this past April. She was also pretty special. And she was someone I admired for the way she lived life to the fullest.

    Sweet post.

  9. I have that picture of Norah (that you took) on my living room wall, above the needlepoint roses that she gave me ... I miss her still too ... I liked her way of talking - she was a straightshooter as you are... in fact, I often see that Norah's physical, emotional, spiritual and mental being are interwoven in your DNA ...
    She had guts, empathy and stamina ... and a raucous sense of humour ...

    BTW the photo of you and her (that I took) was taken in Wnnipeg at our house on Sherbourne Street ... She was playing itsy bitsy spider with you.

  10. Your grammy sounds like a VERY wise and beautiful being.

  11. I just saw this now - the pic on the right is awesome. She's lucky to have you and others to remember and honour her!

  12. Taggedyou in a Meme!:) hugs!