This is a letter to my late great grandmother. She was a huge inspiration to me and I hope you enjoy my indulgence in words and nostalgia.
Dear Nanny Joan,
You wrote a poem that my mum showed me when I was younger. It was about how much things have changed from your childhood to that of your grandchildren, my mum and uncle. From war time and rationing, land girls and all the family being on the same street. To then, your family being in Dallas, with a computer, televisions, a swimming pool and big hair like Dolly Parton or Bonnie Tyler. There were sequins, cans of diet coke and volleyball practices. Flip flops were the new brogues and scorching heat, with the dog swimming laps was the new ‘paddling in the sea at Lowestoft Beach on a May bank holiday’.
That’s the thing about time, isn’t it, Nanny. How awfully cliche, but it just keeps flying by, hands falling in a circle, rising to mark another hour passed, missed; progress pushing forward. Time is nothing more than numbers on a dial really. What moves and passes and will make me smile for a long time, is not time, it is moments, memories, feelings.
Things have changed even more now, Nanny. Sequins are still in, but now so is flat hair, block fringes. Books are being printed less and less, but people are still putting pen to paper. Diet Coke is killing us but we are all addicted. We sit now not glued to our televisions waiting to see what Will is doing in Bel Air each day but instead to phone screens wanting to see what a Becky, who we haven’t seen since school is doing now. Thumbs dart quicker across a flush keyboard to retort faster than one could even muster the strength required to speak to a passerby on the street.
And now, we have all found ourselves stuck inside, but what real difference is that? There is a new threat, no Blitz or less than Great War, instead an invisible spectre moving in ‘bless you’s’ and ‘achoos’ from person to person. I am scared Nanny, scared of this sickness, not just of it’s physical power to harm and disrupt, but of the way the world will look when this is all over. I have thought a lot about what you would say and it came to mind quickly and simply.
Nothing good, nothing bad, nothing lasts. Everything will come to pass with time and this reaper of solitude is no different. I will think of you when it does, and thank you for the strength those two simple words have given me over the years. They carried you through fear, worlds turned upside down, needles, scans and hospital beds. They can carry us through these tumultuous times too. Thank you.
Love always and forever,