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.
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.
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.
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.