And now, a brief interlude to explain my weird family situation: My uncle, Michael, lived in South Africa for 25 years, so even when I was a tot and lived in N. Ireland with my parents for three years, he wasn't anywhere near. Not too long ago, Uncle Michael and his wife and my cousins (none of which I know very well, although I've briefly met my two eldest cousins, who moved to England first) emigrated back to the U.K. because of all the trouble in South Africa. And now they live in England.
Needless to say, this is quite a change. Nanny has been a fixture in my house since I was very small, and my brother was even smaller. She was so much a part of the household, we were able to ignore her like the furniture (HAHA JUST KIDDING). (I'm sorry, are elder abuse jokes not funny?) But seriously, I don't think it's a coincidence that my brother just last night woke up screaming on his now lonesome side of the house (my old bedroom, Nanny's room, his room) after having a nightmare. Come to think of it, that could be a coincidence, or a result of some sleep aids gone haywire. (I'm sorry, are prescription drug side-effect jokes not funny?)
I'll tell you what's not funny. One of the last times we were in Chicago, my brother had just been prescribed Ambien for insomnia. Noah and I had just settled into bed (in my old bedroom) when we heard a couple man-screams emanating from Kyle's room. Curious, I thought to myself. Shortly thereafter, the door to his room cracked open ever so slightly, and I saw Kyle's face pressed against the jamb, his eyes shifting around axiously. Then he slammed the door shut. A few seconds later, the door swun open, and Kyle came tiptoeing out a few paces, ever so gingerly, then darted back into his room and slammed the door again. Then another man-scream. At that point, I thought it would be prudent to inform the parents. The next day, they had his meds changed. That Ambien stuff is no joke.
Nanny doesn't really have anything to do with that story, except for the fact that the whole scene was set to the tune of Matlock blaring from her bedroom.
Here's a few things you should know about Nanny:
- She is an expert knitter, and she never follows patterns. She makes it up as she goes. She's made me numerous sweaters, and even made the layette for Ethan.
- She has had an incredibly interesting life, including having a young fiance who died in WWII, after which my Papa George (a friend of her eldest brother's) wooed her.
- She and her brothers used to get kicked out of dance halls for doing the jitterbug.
- She never learned to drive in America.
- She almost emigrated to Australia, before my mom was born. Her parents went first, but her father became ill on the boat and died in the hospital there, so her mother and baby sister came back. Her father is buried in Australia, and she's never been to his grave.
- She loves really bad television, and Chuck Norris (the two go hand in hand).
- She has lately started saying very inappropriate things in public, because she thinks she can get away with it.
- She and her brothers all write with the same scrawling script, complete with random punctuation marks and embellishments.
- She once sent us a hand towel with "I love my cat" embroidered on it. She added an "s" to the end, in ball point pen.
- She stopped sending me cards during the anthrax-in-the-mail scare when I was in college, for fear that someone would intercept her card, lace it with the deadly substance, and deliver it to me.