Nana Rose with Ethan and Heather. This was taken in October 2016.
Nana Rose passed away this past Wednesday, May 31, at 3:30am. She was 97. And, up until January, she was living by herself at the house her husband built in the North Georgia Mountains. As Heather’s mom would say, “She was writing her own checks, going to town, keeping her garden…”
The services are today (on a terribly rainy day in Georgia), so I figured I would give a few thoughts about Nana. I cannot summarize 97 years, and her family will do a much better job than I. But, I’ll give my thoughts, such as they are.
Nana was everybody’s Nana. When I first started dating Heather, I worried (like I think everyone does) about getting along with her family. I never had to worry about Nana. She was instantly kind, welcoming, like she had known me for many years. I remember the first Christmas I spent with them, she gave me a cap that had belonged to her late husband, as a way of saying welcome to the family. I still have it.
Much like my grandfathers, she came from an era of nothing. Everything had to be hard earned. Born into the depression and living through WWII, she was always about reusing or saving everything.
And she was funny. That’s a little harder to convey, but she loved to laugh. There was one Christmas I remember where she gave out Christmas cards with a crisp brand new $1 bill inside them. Just to have everyone thing she had gone senile. Once she got the look of awkwardness on the family’s faces, she got the real presents while laughing.
She LOVED peppermint. For a long time, when I would go see Nana, I would buy anything peppermint related from my travels. Soap from a convent in France. Candies from scotland. Anything peppermint.
I’m going to miss Nana Rose. She meant a lot to alot of people, and I consider myself grateful to even know her. The Funeral is today up in Tiger, GA.
One last Georgia thought about Nana. There was this episode of This American Life about a guy who used to write a column for the AJC called the Georgia Rambler, which was an exploration through random counties in Georgia. Hearing the stories in that episode reminded me of hearing Nana’s stories.
So, I bought everyone a copy from the NPR site. I didn’t expect people to actually listen to it. But Nana totally did. The next time I saw her she talked about how much she loved that first story. And about her and her husband’s love of FDR. And how you definitely never talk mess about FDR in North Georgia.
I will leave you with that episode: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/413/georgia-rambler