One of the people you will meet in Stories My Nana Tells is Nana’s Dad – variously referred to as Nono (from when her Mum was learning Italian), Bluey (his nickname all his life) and probably never by his real name, William James Nancarrow.
He is a huge part of fabric of Stories My Nana Tells – as you will learn. Nothing sums up his role in the lives of the people and pets in Stories My Nana Tells better than this letter sent to him in 2005 – from Canada – for his birthday. He is still just the same today – caring, helpful and totally in the thrall of the pets.
Thank you, Dad
Just a quick note before we go up to Montreal tomorrow, because we haven’t forgotten it’s your birthday. You won’t get to read this until well after the event – the pigeons are pretty slow between Canada and Australia at this time of the year. But before we go, I wanted to write and tell you how much you are appreciated and loved. When we phoned you tonight (March 26 for us – March 27 for you) to wish you happy birthday, Colin and Pauline were a bit teary because it has been so long since they have seen you except in photos. And Mum, too.
We are so pleased that Warren, Lisa, Gordon and the rest of the family took you out to Chapel Farm, in the Swan Valley, for dinner. And what a co-incidence that my Nana & Pop lived in that house so many years ago. I used to feel as though I knew that house but didn’t know why. Then, one day when Robbie and I were bringing Mum up to Stoneville for a visit, as we went past the old house, she remarked that Nana and Pop had lived there and when we came down from Big Bell we stayed there.
I knew that I could rely upon my excellent son and his lovely wife to make sure the event of your birthday was not missed. 87 years old, and an old Midland boy, at that. Bluey (William James) Nancarrow.
We are all very indebted to you for the way you help us take care of our families and homes, especially when we want to go away on holidays. Warren and Lisa at Christmas time were away around the world for six weeks. Every day, you watered the garden, through the heat of the summer. Morning and night you either let out or locked up the chooks and the cats.
Amber (she is a naughty girl, that cat) would often keep you waiting until nine or ten at night, before she would come sashaying home and throw herself on the dining room floor.
Neurotic “Kitten”, living behind the TV for six weeks and then coming out on the very last day to let you cuddle her.
You are a wonderful help to me – and have been for years now, even before Robbie died. It is so lovely to be able to plan to go away on holidays or just to stay out overnight at Mum’s and know that you are there to take care of Pepper and Tung. I suppose I will have to come clean at sometime in the future and admit that it is more you taking care of me, not me taking care of my old Dad. After all, it’s you who makes sure I have breakfast every morning at 7:00!
For me, personally, you are good company and a good friend. While we have our moments of disagreement, you have made my life so much easier than it might have been after Robbie died. You take excellent care of the garden and the yard; you are pretty good on getting down the cobwebs and we really do enjoy a good game of footy together on the TV. You fix vacuum cleaners and make excellent rice pudding. I really enjoy our walks around in the bush, while you show me all your new plantings.
Pepper II and Tung have you wrapped around their little toes and it’s so funny to see you pandering to that little, blind Tonkinese cat, who eats his dinner with no fuss at all, where I give it to him, when you are not here. No running about to put it in his sun lounge and all that stuff, when Tung and I are on our own. And Burt will always respond to “Where’s Bluey” with a whistle or two.
A drink or two in the Sawyers Valley Tavern is about your limit and you are always up to being the skipper, which is probably a good thing for me (and Warren, if Lisa is singing with WASO or the Opera Studio) on a Friday night. I might be on the other side of the world, Dad, with one of my excellent sons and his wife, but we all want you to know that you are an excellent father and grandfather and we appreciate and love you very much.
Happy Birthday, Dad (Nono) from your family away overseas,
Lesley, Colin and Pauline
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