magical memories

moments in time
forever etched in our hearts and mind, every fibre of our being

Taken many years ago. My husband was working in the Tauranga, Mt Maunganui area for a while, so we all went and lived in a very old bach-like house on the beach. Very happy memories of my two wee kids laughing and playing for hours on the beach. Never to be forgotten. I clearly was a total poser, though.

One of my earliest personal memories, wishes you might say, was to have a special dress woven by spiders with glistening dew drops throughout. I was filled with awe at the beauty of the early morning visions of these webs. I was 100% sure that this would get me in with the fairies. Because I just knew that they wore such dresses.

I'm not sure that I equated spiders properly with the dress, though. For we would go to Mum's parent's farm and market garden (now it's Birkdale in Auckland), and we had to do the most terrifying thing there. We were all very young and impressionable. The toilet was an outhouse. So scary. Big spiders on the walls waiting to grab us. I was terrified that I would fall through the seat hole into that scary bottomless pit. Wait - that's not a magical memory! Moving on......

But we did have some special gatherings at Nanna's. Outside in the sun, family everywhere, for in New Zealand during those years, many people had quite a few children. The house was an old villa, yes old even then, and almost completely empty. I was fascinated by it.

We had family get togethers at my other Nanna's too. Quite different. Lots of family still, but very different. Nanna would give birthday parties, for say, all the February grandchildren, or the children born in two months, like October and November. And then there was Christmas. Nanna had such a strong sense of family and inclusion. She always made me feel as though it was fine to be me, and that I mattered. One winter's afternoon, Dad took us there, and to our surprise there were two unusual old people waiting to meet us, smiling and happy to see us: Nanna's parents. My first remembered experience of meeting someone new, and yet knowing that I was part of them. 

And this is such a big part of Maori culture of our country: we are part of our ancestors. Their experiences can be carried on through us. And of course, modern science has started to realise this. 

The thing about grandparents, is that somehow, through them, we have this magical experience of belonging, and being part of this extended family whole. Very special indeed. 

My two Nannas were so different, yet quite similar. Both kind, hard working, gentle and soft spoken. Both very fiercely family orientated. My memories of them both, are so magical indeed. 

I know that I am quite different from my grandchildren's other grandmothers. As it should be. Each grandparent has something unique for a child. I have a new grandchild whom I've not seen much of, due to the Lockdown. Each time she has met a new family member - she just knows them!! I love the way that babies do that. Smarter than adults on a deep level. I so wish that we kept that smartness throughout our life.

What about you? Any magical memories? I had a big list for this post but when I got to Nannas, well, who could go past them?


  1. What special memories! I was only fortunate enough to know one grandparent - my maternal grandmother. She seemed quite old to me when I was a child (she was in her late 60s, early 70s), and I remember her as a very soft spoken, mild mannered, gentle person. But, she must have been a very strong person, too. She had to be! As the oldest of 14 children, she helped to bring up her younger siblings and went on to have 9 children of her own, all birthed at home! She died when I was 16, at the age of 84, less than 3 weeks before her 85th birthday.

    1. Gosh Bless your grandmother sounds amazing. And very special.

  2. These are such beautiful memories, Ratnamurti. And your ability to paint the picture is equally beautiful. Grandparents do have such an impact on our lives even when we don’t know them, we get the stories handed down to us. My parents died long before I had children so I am always trying to share their stories with my children so they have something to hold onto. Thanks for sharing and linking up with me.


    1. That is so lovely to do, Shelbee. One of my Nannas died when I was ten, and I tell stories of her to my adult kids and their children. Keeping a sense of belonging, continuing xxxx

  3. Ohhh the spiderweb dress - how lovely! I desperately wanted/assumed that when I grew up I would be a plant - as in I would magically sprout flowers allover me, it was slightly disappointing to learn at about 4 that my parents kind of figured this was unlikely to happen... I think the family and inclusion thing is very strong in NZ, and yes I think it is a lovely gift from the Maori cultures - it is something I notice very much when I go home (or the absence when I leave NZ). I knew my dads parents vaguely as a small child - they were very old and of the Victorian era really - granny was born in 1896 and grampy 1892 I think so they sat stiff and fragile as little paper dolls on a Sunday when we visited them and their house full of novels and grannies watercolours, good memories

    1. Those memories sound magical. And I love your child reasoning, it is so fantastic xxxxxxx


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