NANA DEAREST by Christopher L. Mitchell

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

In Memory Of Freda Mitchell 1926-2009


For Freda Mitchell. You made me smile, Chris x


Parks, I find are quiet and relaxing places to gather one's thoughts. This is exactly what Greenfield Park is all about. Nowhere noisy, ruff or crowded; just a lovely and calm place to think. A lot of people tend to come here just to think. Gareth P. Jones is one of these people. At the age of thirty-one there is a lot going in his life, work, children and a beautiful girlfriend who he loves dearly. But at the moment, things haven't really been the best for dear Gareth. He is stressed with work, and with and upcoming new born on the way, he needs to get a move on and get his act together. But, there may be a chance he may become made redundant and that is something he definitely does not want to happen. Especially with a baby on the way. So, Greenfield is the only place he wants to be before he goes back home. Here he can be free. Free of stress, work, worrying about whether the kid is going to be a boy or girl and what type of wallpaper to buy to decorate with. No, here there is just peace and quiet. There was a time where he wasn't stressed, like all of us in our lives.

There was one decade of years in which he didn't have a single day where he had to get everything sorted for a particular project, or an essay he needed in. No, these were the fun years of growing up. This was his childhood. And, what a better way to spend one's childhood then with a grandparent, or in this case, Nana Fred. This was his father's mother. The reason she was called Nana Fred was because her full name was Frederica Giles, and as a child you have enough difficulty with words you don't know where you are half the time. So, calling her Fred was just easier than Frederica and she didn't mind anyway. She actually preferred us to always refer to her as Nana too and that was always a nice thing. When he was only a child he had two sets of grandparents, one from mommy's side of the family and the other from daddy's side. Both his mother's parents were still active and alive at this point, but on his dad's side, only Nana Fred was there. Leslie, his grandpa, Frederica’s husband, who died only a few years before Gareth was born. He never even got to know who his grandpa was like. However, with this being said, it never put a happy face down and Gareth and his Nana Fred loved each over very much.

He would go and visit her every single Friday, pre-weekend and stop over the night. He loved going to visit his Nana and so did she. There wasn't a single Friday evening that went by that dear old Nana Fred wouldn't be waiting for him. Sometimes it would be stood outside of the gate on the lookout and other occasions she would be at the window, peering through the net curtains. The fondest memories Gareth could remember about his Nana, was when he would always arrive at the house, always turned four, he could always see two bright blue aging eyes at the window looking over to him with the warmest of love and glow. Later in the evening, Gareth and his Nana would get out a couple of board games before tea time and play one of their favourite games; snakes and ladders. After game time, it would be time for dinner, bath and then straight off to bed. But, before it was time to go to sleep, Gareth would always ask Nana to read one of his favourite children books of all: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. He loved that book growing up, Nana would read it to him every time he stopped over. It did creep him out though a little bit when it got to the part of the old lady in the corner. Nana Fred would always emphasize on the old lady when she was whispering 'hush.' This really startled Gareth. All he wanted to do was just find the little white mouse who liked hiding in places. A lot of the time Gareth couldn’t for the life of him figure out where the little thing got to. After all of this, and when the story was read, Nana Fred would kiss Gareth gently on the forehead and wish him goodnight. He then slept happy and quietly.

Other wonderful memories were on a morning, after Gareth had spent the night and was waking up on a morning. There would always be that wonderful and fresh smell of spooky cooked bacon arising from out of the kitchen and making its way up the staircase through little Gareth's nose. This was a great thing to wake up to. It was always a pure delight too, walking into the sun lit kitchen, sitting down at the polished oak table and having served a lovely egg and bacon breakfast, included with black pudding slices, beans, toast cut into triangle slices and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

After breakfast Nana Freda and Gareth would go out to the shopping centre as it was her food day. They would spend a lot of time at the shops, buying all sorts of veg, fruit, egg, bread and milk. And, if Gareth had been good and very well behaved maybe, just maybe, Nana Fred would get him a packet of his favourite sweets. When finished with the shopping it was time to go to the park. There was such a lovely little park where Nana Fred lived, full with a nice slide, swings and roundabout. Gareth and Nana would spent up to a good couple of hours at the park. He would go off and play with the other children on the different slides and swings, whilst his Nana would be sat down on one of the outside benches talking to the other mums, dads and Grandmothers. Usually too, when Gareth was feeling a little hungry from all the excitement of all the day's activity, he would sit next to Nana Fred who had prepared earlier in the morning. The lunch was nicely compacted in a small plastic box and inside would be a sandwich, crisps, a drink carton, a couple of slices of fruit and a small chocolate bar.

After the day’s events, Nana Fred would then take little Gareth back to the house for a nice cup of tea. Usually, Nana Fred's neighbour and dear Fred Barbara would knock and join us. She was a tall, broad sight of a woman that Gareth ever did see, but was really easy to talk to and made light of things if anything got all dreary. Especially with that broad Newcastle accent of hers, well, you would be forced to laugh well of course. After that and when Barbara would leave, it would be time for his father to come back to take him home. In that aspect, little Gareth would go to Nana Fred and give her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.

All of this was all so many years ago. Gareth in fact had a lot of trouble remembering a lot about Nana Fred when he wanted to, but things just slipped away. When she sadly passed away in her sleep in 2009, Gareth was devastated and couldn't even speak weeks leading up to the funeral. There was one thing, however, that he did find a bit strange. After his Nana’s sudden passing away in her sleep, all of a sudden, he kept on having dreams and visions of Nana Frederica coming to see him. One night while have awake and slowly slipping into a doze, he felt a sort of light pressure upon his left cheek.  Nothing heavy, but soft, like soft kisses on his face. Then there was a light whispering sound, a woman’s voice. It was sort of muddled at first, but Gareth could still make out what they said. ‘Love you,’ were the words that were spoken into his ear. He suddenly awoke in that instant and tried to figure out what had just happened.  What had just happened? He tried to analyse with himself if it was all just a dream, that he was drowsy from lack of sleep and was just imagining things. But no, he knew what he heard and he knew that somebody has softly kissed him on his face. ‘Love you,’ was not just a sound that was made through the house. ‘Love you,’ was not just in his imagination. It was his dear old departed Nana Frederica saying goodbye and wishing him well.

By the time it got to the funeral, Gareth was pretty spooked out from her death and the occurrences of the few weeks earlier. But now, he was in a place of peace and love, with all the family gathered one and all to say one lasting final goodbye to Mrs Frederica Harland. It was the most beautiful service you could ever have wished for and a lot livelier from over funerals. In her past wishes, Nana Fred had always said that when it was her turn to go, that she would like everyone who attended her funeral to come dressed entirely in white. It was her way of saying that she didn’t want anyone to feel sad over this and that they must go fourth in life and enjoy their future days. The songs were lively too. The music was a little number by Frank Sinatra: My Way that was playing. It had been Nana Fred that wanted this and all there were not crying, but smiling. When the service was ending and everyone in the Church were ready to go to the wake, Gareth spotted someone at the back of the Church. It was as everyone was leading out to go to the wake. An elderly lady with a full head of white hair. She was dressed in black, like the others, holding, what seemed to be a photograph. He couldn't see her full face because it was covered by a dark veil. But he knew by the figure and stance that it was a woman. She then turned around and went out of the Church.

Gareth immediately made his way out of the group of mourners and quickly ran after where the lady had left. When he got to the end of the isle he saw something on the floor. The picture. She must have dropped it as she walked off. So, in a flash, Gareth scooped up the pho in one hand and ran outside. There was nobody there. Everybody else from the service had gone round the front way, but this woman left this way to get out. Gareth was a little surprised for a second and went over to a nearby bench that was by the side of the Church. He sat down and looked out over the other side of the road where there was a little park. A tall, elderly man stood standing near the entrance leading into the park. He was looking directly at Gareth and was smiling happily. Gareth all of a sudden felt a shiver down the back of his spine as he felt something at his left cheek. It felt like two pressed lips kissing him. He raised his hand towards his cheek and then felt it. It was exactly like someone had just kissed him, but there was nobody in sight, only round the front. He then looked back over to the park where the old man was standing; but this time, not alone. He was accompanied by a woman of the same age, the same one Gareth followed out and whom had dropped the photograph. She lifted the veil from over her face and gave out a warm and pleasant smile. It was his Nana Fred. She was saying goodbye.

Gareth looked all upset, but returned a smile back for he knew she would not want to see he all upset like this. She then took hold of the gentleman's hand who was standing beside her; this was her husband. Gareth’s Grandpa Leslie. The two of them both smiled and they turned around slowly into the park. Gareth looked down at the letter that his Nana had dropped and looked at it. It was a picture of him and his Nana Fred on his fourteenth birthday the year earlier. They were both smiling happily with a birthday cake decorated with a full set of lit candles ready to be blown out. This was her gift to him now.

As he remembers that moment very clearly to this day and realised right then and there, that his Nana Fred was happy and now in a better place with the person she loved. It also brings him tremendous joy also, when he was at his sister’s house visiting that his Nana appeared again. But not to him, but his three year old nephew who all of a sudden began to talk wildly to himself. When asked who he was talking to, he honestly replied, 'Nana Freda.' Gareth was not at all surprised by this and when he asked his nephew what she had to say, he truthfully said back, 'She a little tired but she is ok,' and that was all Gareth Jones wanted to hear.

Now, as Gareth sits on the bench in Greenfield Park where his dear Nana used to take him, he had immediately regained beloved memories; wonderful, happy memories. A tear dripped down his cheek. This was it now. He had spent over a good half hour here and now it was getting late. It was now time to make a few more new memories of his own and he wanted to start them off with witnessing the birth of his first child.

When he reach the St James’ Hospital, it took at least fifteen minutes at first just to find out which Ward his girlfriend was in.  When he eventually reached the ward, Emily had suddenly gone in labour.  After a while in labour and hard effort Emily gave birth to their first child, a girl.

‘What do you want to call her,’ said Gareth.

Emily’s tired but happy face looked up and Gareth and in a quiet little voice went, ‘Our life has been a song so far. Melody.  Let’s call her that.’

Gareth smiled. ‘Little Melody,’ she’s beautiful. He leaned over the bedside and gave Emily a kiss. ‘Our Melody.’

After a day of two it was then time to leave the hospital. Emily held Melody softly snuggled up in her arms and Gareth had all of Emily’s bags.

‘I forgot to ask, Gareth. Where were you?’

Gareth looked at Emily with a blank expression. ‘What do you mean?’

‘When I was about to go into labour and you suddenly turned up; where had you been. The doctors tried calling you and never got in touch.’

Gareth gave his girlfriend a warming smile. ‘I was at Greenfield Park. I was driving past and decided to stop by. It was the place where my Nana Frederica used to take me when I was a kid. It brings back so many great and sorrowful memories. But, now I want it with you two; my special little ladies.’

Emily smiled and kissed Gareth. When they had reached the car and got inside, little Melody began to cry.

‘Oh, baby, shh, shh,’ both of them went.

After a while there was nothing to do, she only just cried. Then all of a sudden, something landed on the hood of the car. It was a bird, a dove. Now, what was a Dove doing here? All three of the party in the car looked upon this magical white bird. All was silent and Melody has ceased crying. Now she was laughing. Gareth and Emily were astounded. This little bird had lightened up their child who was only a couple days old. It was making her laugh. Then, all at once it flew away. Melody was still silent and kept that way throughout the whole car round. All snug she was in her mother’s arms wrapped in blanket and proud father Gareth drove them both home to safety. 

That moment like all that have been puzzled Gareth. Who knows how that little Dove suddenly changed little Melody’s mood, we may never know. Or maybe, it was once someone of this Earth before; someone Gareth once knew. Well, that was the way he wanted to see it.










Submitted: October 06, 2013

© Copyright 2023 Robert Price. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:


Robert Price

NOTE: I have edited and revised the story as there were quite a lot of grammar and punctuation mistakes. Robert.

Sun, October 6th, 2013 5:13pm


I will be making note of your comments and I do hope you enjoy!

Sun, October 6th, 2013 10:17am

Ashley Shephard

Robert, this is another of your so beautiful and wonderful stories. As you said, as long as those we love and have loved us are in our memories they will never be gone. Nana Fred reminded Gareth of that and she wanted him to know her spirit was still alive and had gone to Heaven where she will wait for him when he is called by God to enter his Father's house. God bless you, Robert for writing and sharing this inspirational story that touched my heart.

Tue, December 10th, 2013 2:40am


Thankyou my sweet. I am so grateful and yes this is inpired from my own Nana Fred.

Tue, December 10th, 2013 5:59pm


It's a sweet story, and the fact it was inspired by your own nan makes it very personal for you, so I can sense you really put a lot of heart into this work, and that's what it's all about in my opinion. I found it easy to follow and the story was not forced or clunky. A nice, strangely uplifting piece, it'll stick with me :)

Sun, January 5th, 2014 7:47pm


Ah, I thankyou. It was very difficult to write in parts as it is based upon a real person. But I thankyou so much that you liked it.

Thu, January 9th, 2014 2:58pm

Nocturnal Writer

I like how you've written this story for your grandma Freda... Im sorry for the loss and hope your all living happy and healthy lives for she is surly watching over you all. The dove at the end...a symbol for hope, peace and innocence. Perhaps it was Freda hoping to cheer up the small child. You may never know. It was a lovely short story, it was heartful but very sad. There weren't any grammar or spelling errors that I could see. Keep writing and sorry I haven't been on either wattpad or booksie in a while, work overload... cant wait till I hand last portfolio in.

Tue, January 7th, 2014 9:21pm


Thanks. I am grateful you took time out of your bust schedule to look over my work. Much appreciated. Thank-You!

Tue, January 7th, 2014 2:38pm

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