Nelly Peg Namesake
“Nelly Peg” is not my real name. If you can believe that. Nell (Ellen) and Peg (Margaret) are my grandmothers. Grandma Peg passed when I was 10, and Grandma Nell when I was 16, 7 years ago almost to the hour.
Grandma Nell was a WWII bride. She married my grandfather, a New Yorker from a Sicilian family, while he was stationed in England. He had already returned to the states when she had their first child. She and my aunt came by boat when all the war brides were finally able to cross the pond after the war.
Grandma Nell had so many stories and talents. She was so sweet and hated for the family to fight. She was half Swiss, after all. She was supportive and funny in her way. The last conversation I remember having with her was the day I got my driver’s license, about a month and a half before she died. I called her and told her, “Grandma I just took my driver’s test and got my license!” and she said, “jolly good!”
I’ve lived in the Midwest pretty much my whole life while my extended family is all out east. We would drive out once or twice almost every year until Grandma Nell died.
Sometimes when I think about my grandmas, I feel cheated because they both died before I was old enough or mature enough to fully appreciate them and what they had to offer. They were both crafters and both introduced me to foods that other kids probably would’ve hated (cooked spinach, okra, curry, etc.). My heart aches with loss, probably more now than when they passed because the more I learn about them from my family, the more I understand the depth of losing them.
If you’re lucky enough to have a grandmother in your life, call her up and don’t just tell her about your life and that you love her, learn about her life. If you wish you’d gotten more of a chance to do that, get to know her through your family.
I miss you so much, Grandmas.