For many, the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day is an occasion to enjoy a dark beer or two, or make some claim to Irish heritage. For our family, Saint Patrick’s Day marks another special occasion, Nana McLeod’s birthday.
Myrtle McLeod was born Myrtle Cain, in a small town just north of Auckland, New Zealand.
She lived a long and eventful life, despite contracting an illness that left her completely deaf. However, she quickly learned to lip read and anticipate events, almost as if she had a new-found six sense: The family quickly learnt to turn away before making a smart remark.
It really was as if she had eyes in the back of her head”
Nana McLeod took a special interest in her 13 grand children and 31 great grand children, who in turn developed a special bond with her. Communication was never an issue, in fact, many of the grand children became adept at their own unique sign language.
“At school camp, I quickly realised I was the Charades School Champion, basically because a life time of talking to Nana” said one.
Nana McLeod passed away peacefully in May 1997, just missing out on her telegram from the Queen. Her ashes are interred in the Aramaho Cemetery, beneath a rose bush called ‘Peace’ in Wanganui.