Alison talks about how her grandma inspired this book.
I never knew my father’s parents, but I was lucky enough to grow up with my mum’s parents. Granny said you should never ask a lady her age, so I’ll just say she was born in the 1890s on a farm in Victoria.
She was a teacher in country Victoria, and rode to school on a horse. She used to read on the way, and if the horse stopped suddenly, Granny flew over its head. She must have been a popular teacher as she once declared a school holiday so she could attend the local races, and another time when my grandfather, her fiancé, arrived back from WW1.
Granny was a keen golfer. She practised her golf swing at home and one time she whacked a poor hen. Confronted with a decidedly sick fowl, Granny promptly wrung its neck and served it up for dinner. She didn’t like waste.
Granny was always creative. She painted, beaded and crocheted. I still use the beautiful crocheted tablecloth she gave my mother for a wedding present.
When I was little our family had lots of fun times in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast where my grandparents had a flat. This was before all the high-rises and Burleigh was a very sleepy town. I can’t remember my grandmother swimming or even venturing on the beach, but she always made us devilled fish paste toast when we came back dripping. Every day she had a spoonful of molasses and as she lived to 91 with no big health problems I always think I should do that. But have you tasted molasses?
My granny loved me and even thinking of her now makes me smile. Once when I was ill and off work, Granny arrived in a taxi to look after me. She lay beside me on my bed and the two of us talked and took in turns to get the cup of tea.
Another time we were looking at display homes and Granny rushed up to the husband and me and said, “We have to get out. Now.” In the car Granny explained that she was caught short and unfortunately the plumbing hadn’t been connected.
Whenever Granny went out, she came home and went to bed. She always claimed nothing made her more tired than being nice. My children tease me that I’m a bit the same. I have been known to take off the jewellery, make-up and put on the nightie within five minutes of walking in the front door.
A close friend recently told me that I was resilient and I can cope with anything. I’ve been thinking about that and wonder if that’s one way I take after my grandmother. Granny lost her thirteen year old son, and even though every single day of her life she felt a gaping Jack-shaped hole, she was still full of joy and love. She kept walking forward.
I was lucky to have Granny as such a huge part of my life. When she died my husband and I had a huge gap every Saturday. Granny was an artist and sold quite a few paintings. It’s strange but nice to think that other people have a little bit of her hanging on their walls. I feel the same way about my books. I feel privileged that other people want to share some of my creations.
Ps. If anyone has a B.M. Dickinson on their walls, I would love to hear from them.
WHY I LOVE MY GRANDMA
I had a grandmother who gave up snow skiing at 86 so I could really relate to the energetic granny in Alison and Serena’s new book, Why I love my grandma.
This sword wielding, bike riding, face painting grandma is full of fun and not at all stereotypical. She’s the kind of grandma who does lots of special things with you and doesn’t worry too much about convention, which is why she will appeal to the modern reader and their parents.
Once again, Serena Geddes humorous illustrations add to the charm of this book. It’s also one that readers can personalise by adding their cover pic and lists at the end of the book of the special things they do with grandma and which of those activities are their favourites.
It’s a fun way for kids to contribute to their Mother’s/Grandmother’s day present.