The Nanny

16Apr08

Doesn’t the title of this post sound like a Hollywood horror movie? Maybe a sequel to “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle” or may be a bio-pic of Louise Woodward, the au-pair from UK who was acquitted in a US infant death. Well, no, the nanny I am referring to is one from my mother’s family. In fact she wasn’t a nanny, she was what was referred to as a governess in those days. This lady entered my maternal grandfather’s household to teach the children and soon moved up the ladder in both the family home and the family business with aplomb. Whether my mother and her siblings were privy to all this and the effect it had on their mother while they were growing up is not known. They always remained cordial with the lady. I for one always thought she was a relative of my grandmother till one of my siblings gleefully enlightened me many years later. After my grandfather’s death and the collapse of the business, the lady moved out. However, she was always invited to every family function and event. To give her credit, she always made it a point to attend, despite her advancing age. This often put family members in a quandry especially at a wedding when introductions have to be made. In fact explaining her presence to a new spouse in the family has always been a bit of an exercise in diplomacy. Here, I must make special mention of the way my cousin handled introductions at his sister’s wedding, which I thought took the cake! Presenting the lady to his new brother-in-law, he said “Meet my father’s nanny!” Another cousin and I who were within earshot of this introduction were soon staring at each other in disbelief, while clutching our stomachs with laughter. This cousin was never going to live that one down – it would go on into family lore to be recounted at every get-together thereafter. It was the best possible introduction we had heard of our grandfather’s mistress!

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One Response to “The Nanny”

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