Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Shish and Shipsh - Part The First

Nurse Gladys was a side of our Nana that we didn't really see - she retired from nursing when I was quite young (in fact, Nana was on duty the day I was born and thus was the first person in this world to clap eyes on me; a sight my father was denied as, even in the mid-70s, men weren't allowed in the delivery room for the birth). No, the Gladys that we knew and loved was very much in the "doting grandmother" mode.

There is probably no finer example of unconditional love than that of a woman in her late sixties/early seventies (a woman who suffered from painful arthritis) willingly crawling around on her hands and knees pretending to be a giant lizard that has been extinct for many millions of years (and which she cannot even pronounce) solely for the amusement and mock terror of her extremely young grandchildren. Her love for us was not only to cause her physical discomfort but also some measure of teeth-based humiliation.

Dentistry being what it was when Nana was younger, she had, upon discovery of widespread tooth decay, been told that she needed her teeth removed. These were replaced by a set of dentures which, throughout her life, always caused her gum discomfort. While they may have been a source of discomfort to her (especially after a full day's wear), they were, of course, a source of amusement to us - children being blissfully unaware of many of the social niceties. Many was the time that poor Nana was subjected to pestering requests to take out her teeth and say "fish and chips"; more often than not in extremely public places such as the top deck of the bus to Woolwich. Nana, being a kind Christian woman and physically incapable of denying her grandsons anything they so desired, would eventually oblige to the hysterical and eye-watering delight of the two young boys (and the general amusement of the other passengers on the bus).

Yes, those teeth certainly provided their fair share of entertainment. The family outing to Chessington World Of Adventures being another case in point. Nana, at the very least well into her seventies by this point, was not overly disposed towards going on too many of the rides. Neither was Ma for that matter so at least they had company while the rest of us hared off to the main attractions. After sitting out most of them, Nana decides to give the log flume a go as it looks like quite a small drop. What we didn't spot until we were well and truly ensconced in the body of the queue was that we'd only been looking at the first drop. The third and final drop was quite high indeed. Still, it didn't look too bad from where we were standing and ex-Nurse Gladys, never one to shy away from something once she's put her mind to it, decides to go through with it....

To Be Concluded...


Pearl said...

Ah. My Grandma, too, was persuaded to have all her teeth removed, rural Minnesota in the 40s not a mecca of dental sophistication. Her poor gums never did get over it.

There's something very special about the patient love of a good-humored and kind elderly person. I can only hope to be as cool.


That Baldy Fella said...

I'm going to go for being the grumpy old curmudgeon who is a terrible burden and smells of wee (intentionally)