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The world needs more nannas

September 3, 2010 3 comments

With my Nanna turning 84 today, I reflect upon some of her wisdoms and how the world needs nannas more than ever.

Nanna was born in Poland, in 1926. She immigrated to Australia over 4 decades ago, with husband and son, to start a new life in a free land, where the fruits of one’s efforts were their own reward.

Her strength and cheerfulness doesn’t betray what a hard life she’s had. Communism. Starvation. Nazism. Being taken as a child and made to work on German farms. Outliving four husbands.

Yet, she can tell me that there were good German soldiers, who left their bread crusts for Polish children who otherwise wouldn’t have eaten that day. And that Russians were a good-hearted people, with a rotten government. And that to love and lose is better than to not love at all.

She marvels at the strength of the human spirit and that the world is filled with so many good people–that when her car broke down last week, people stopped to help. She gives. She loves her family. She works hard and believes that’s the key to a good and healthy life. She’s fiercely independent, except when she’s not (and that’s what family’s for). She bakes cakes, not only for me, but for my staff, because spreading a little joy and jelly-cake never hurt anyone.

So while our self-professed educated elite demand that we look backwards and forwards in despair and wear our global guilt with useless pride, Nanna has forgiven the past without lingering in it and enjoys the beauty in everybody she meets. She buys bacon from Russians, plays Pokies with Aussies and Ukrainians and eats sauerkraut with Germans. She takes only what she needs, and gives a lot more.

Happy birthday, Nanna. Kocham Cie. Sto lat!