Goodbye, Nana

Nana and me

Nana and me

Last week we said goodbye to Type E’s grandmother. I’m angry that a brain tumor has claimed yet another loved one, but this post isn’t about tumors, radiation, or the unfairness of it all. It’s about Nana (known to most people as Jeanne) and her extraordinary life.

Nana didn’t travel the world or climb any corporate ladders or do any of the other things that qualify for today’s shallow, social-media-fueled definition of extraordinary life. Instead, Nana created and nurtured an enormous community of family and friends.

Type E’s father wrote a beautiful obituary that details Nana’s family life and her various clubs, sororities, and volunteer activities over the years. I wasn’t fortunate enough to know Nana in her prime or to meet Paul, her husband of 57 years. But I do have my own collection of Nana stories, and I’m thankful for those.

I’ll remember Nana through these stories and through the pictures that her family shared at the viewing. The photos aren’t high res and they’re not on Facebook, but they capture the spirit of a singer, friend, mother, sister, wife, and South Jersey fixture.

I used to think Type E and I had a unique meeting tale (he found my blog via Google and got in touch), but Nana had us beat. She picked up the phone one day, and there was Paul on the other end: wrong number. They got married in St. Patrick’s Cathedral just before Paul shipped to Europe with the Army.

Jeanne and Paul

Jeanne and Paul

Nana saw the heyday of Atlantic City and did her part by singing with local bands. She got her start at 16 under the supervision of her mother.

Nana singing with the band

Nana singing with the band

Sadly, I never saw Nana’s prized hydrangeas in person, but the newspaper articles, photos, and garden awards live on. She was Jersey Shore hydrangea royalty.

Absecon's famous hydrangeas

Absecon's famous hydrangeas

Nana took the long journey to Lancaster, PA for our wedding, and that’s how I’ll remember her. Happy, dressed in pink and purple, and surrounded by family. Goodbye, Nana.

our wedding day

our wedding day

2 responses to “Goodbye, Nana”

  1. Family Friend and Distant Relative of Type E (Wayne)

    Hey bendystraw
    Type E’s Dad (who is a very talented writer in his own rite) was very touched by your goodbye to Nana and feeling the need to choke someone else up, he forwarded it to me. It’s a tribute to her that through your presentation, you provoke those of us who were privledged to know her to remember the good times and those that didn’t to imagine what a good woman she was.
    May I say …. I’m very impressed. I enjoyed visiting your website and was entertained by your unique, quirky perspective . I can see why you and Type E make such a good team!

  2. cool aunt

    What a fabulous tribute to a great lady. I am honored to have known Jeanne and grew to love her very much.

    I’m proud to be a part of such a talented chosen family.

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