I got back from camp last night to the news that my grandmother (my mom's mom), known to us grandkids as "Mama", had passed away on Wednesday morning. She was 90 years old and very frail, so it wasn't a surprise, but it is still very sad.
She was born in Walthamstow in NE London, England in 1921. When I was in London, I actually visited the place where she was born (above a pub) and took a photo for her - she said it was still exactly the way she remembered it! She grew up in London and at the age of 20 met my grandfather, Bronek, who was Polish, during the second World War. She was working at the Air-force base where he was stationed (he having escaped from Nazi POW camp and fled to England, but that is another whole story). After the war, he wasn't able to stay in England, and didn't want to go back to Poland, so they applied to go to South Africa and Australia... And South Africa accepted them first - otherwise I might have ended up being Australian!!
They travelled in 1949 with my 3-year Mother, Susan, to South Africa and my grandfather found work as a lift engineer. They subsequently had a son, my uncle, Richard and another daughter, my aunt, Janet. They stayed in Plumstead, and had the same house all those years, which is where my gran was until 5 weeks ago (living alone after my grandfather's death in March 2004). I have such fond memories of that house and spending time with my grandparents there. Mama used to spoil us rotten - making each of us our favourite foods whenever we stayed there. They also lived opposite a park (with swings and roundabouts, etc), so we always had a great time there!
I decided to look through my photos to see if I could find some "normal" ones of her, but there were very few :-) Here is one of us "girls" when I was in South Africa in January: me, Mama, my niece, Amy and my sister, Astrid.