Tag Archives: open reel tapes

Happy Birthday Nan!

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Nan May & Christopher 1988My grandmother on my father’s side would have been 100 years old today. She made it to 84. I was with her when she drew her last breath, and I still miss her. I used to visit her quite regularly, and phone her a couple of times a week. She was blind, due to her diabetes, in her latter years, but her hearing was always sharp. I would often talk for two or three hours, and I’m afraid it was usually me that did most of the talking, so perhaps it’s surprising that she didn’t go deaf as well.

One regret is that while I have some photographs of her, and my grandfather, I have no video or audio of her. I didn’t get a video camera until after she died (actually with some of the money she left me). It would be wonderful now to be able to play back video or audio clips.

Grandmother's ClockBack in the 1960’s when my grandparents were overseas in Singapore, they kept in touch with my parents by sending open reel tapes in the mail. Unfortunately, tapes were comparatively expensive and so they got wiped after being listened to, and re-recorded over. One or two did survive, but in the 1970’s my father wiped them by using them to record music off the radio.

I didn’t really want or get many of her belongings after her death. Towards the end she was in a nursing home, and she knew she wasn’t going to go back home again. She told me that if there was anything in the house that I wanted, then I should let her know, and I could have it. I felt really uncomfortable with the idea of doing that.

The one thing I did want, and I did ask for was her old eight-day clock. Unlike most modern clocks this one has a real clock movement. All I know is that my grandparents purchased it in Chatham in around 1946. I recently had it checked and some of the parts were worn and were replaced. I am sure it cost me many times what the clock was originally worth, but of course, one doesn’t put a price on such items.

I know that since her passing, I’ve done things that I know she wouldn’t have approved of, but as I wrote above, I still miss her, and wish I could call her up for a chat just one more time.

Happy Birthday, Nan.