by David Gower
In the late 1920’s Granny was not Granny but a widow who had walked with her only child from the Welsh valleys to London in search of work. They had slept in ditches and hedgerows and on Guy Fawkes night they arrived. The child’s first memory of London was seeing fireworks light up the sky above the city.
Fast forward 65 years to find her child had fathered a son and in the way of theses things created a Granny. She was widowed after a second marriage, living in a small town, no longer owning a car and beginning to worry those close to her with signs of self neglect. Mouldy bread, little fresh food in the cupboard, front door unlocked and lights – and gas – left on into the night. Granny always puzzled how anyone knew she was Welsh but, of course, she thought only other people had accents.
The scene is Granny’s living room. The grandson is on his weekly visit which includes an attempt to tidy up and taking Granny to the shops to buy what seemed to be her basic diet. A loaf of bread, a pack of cheese and a bottle of Scotch!
Grandson; You know we are worried about you.
Granny I know you are dear, but it is a long way for you to come and I am perfectly all right. It is nice to see you but you have your own life to lead. Let me give you some advice, never get old. You ache, struggle to get up the stairs and sleep in this bloody chair. I can’t hear the telly and if I could they would only be talking nonsense. Don’t get old my love.
Grandson Would you think about moving into a retirement home? People around you, regular food and staff on call if you fall? There is one only a couple of miles away.
Granny What would I do there? I know you mean well….
Grandson Here is my suggestion. Try a weekend there and if you like it you could stay. If you do not like it then you come back. Honest Injun, it would be whatever you say but at least try it out.
Some days later.
The scene is the Evening Dusk retirement home set in its own grounds along a lengthy drive about two miles from Granny’s house. Matron’s Office and three people are drinking tea.
Matron I do hope our little tour was helpful. You are welcome to spend the weekend and let us know your decision on Monday.
Granny It is very nice dear. Very interesting to look round.
Grandson You have your bag, I will be back on Monday and whatever you decide if fine. I just want you to try it out.
Granny I know dear. Off you go, I will have another cup of that tea and a biscuit please Matron.
Goodbyes are exchanged and Grandson leaves for home – an hour distant. At least the home did not have that acrid smell that hits the nostrils immediately in some residential units.
The answering machine flashed when the Grandson got home. A message from the residential home. Granny was missing and could he come back right away?
Another drive but this time direct to Granny’s house. The door was unlocked and Granny sat in front of the telly.
Grandson There you are. I promised I would collect you if you were unhappy. The home think you have wandered off.
Granny It was full of old people. They looked so dull and boring. I finished my tea and biscuit after you left. She left me chatting to some woman but as soon as I could I picked up my bag.
Grandson But, how did you get home along that driveway and there are no buses?
Granny There were some workmen in the grounds. They thought I was confused but I told them that my friend had died and I had collected her bag. They gave me a lift in their van. Such nice men.
Granny stayed in the house and succumbed some months later to a heart attack but to the end she proved her independence. She would not have had it any other way.