If my life were a Charlie and Lola cartoon, this would be the introduction - I had this little nanna called Freda, she was small and very vicious.
Some people who have nannas who bake and sew. My Nanna only made orange juice with Metamucil and the only arts she practised were infidelity and bitchiness.
Although she did give us week-old cakes from Rando's bakery - does that count?
Harsh? But very, very true. You see, of all my relatives she is the most notable and controversial.
Nanna Freda was a woman ahead of her times. There was not an ounce of Betty Draper in her.
She ran her own hairdressing salon in Lithgow in the 1950s and 1960s and now for the good bit, she also had many boyfriends, much to the dismay of my grandfather, who was a generous and humble man.
Why did they not get divorced? One can only assume the divorce laws and his misplaced devotion stopped that happening.
My Mum once told me that Nanna's affair with the local optometrist made the New Idea, when his wife spilled the beans under an assumed name.
According to Mum, Freda also shagged her driving instructor and a man called Basil, who was the MC at my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary.
Strange but true.
I also hold her responsible for the eating disorder I had at 16, which was the result of her taunts about my weight and the offer of a pair of control pants.
Like Yin and Yang, black and white, there were some good things about Nanna Freda:
She taught me the importance of being overdressed for most social occasions. As a result, I spent my early 30s decked out in Alannah Hill Even though I now live in Newcastle and am just meeting a journalist for coffee, I will wear tomato-red peep toes. This week, I will be wearing this to work. With a black pencil skirt and the red peep toes. I fucking love clothes and she is the reason why.
I learnt how to disguise clothing purchases from your husband. Well my husband does not care, but my ex was very funny about spending so things had to be smuggled into the house ala Freda.
And finally, rat cunning was more important than beauty.
I suppose underneath all that Helena Rubenstein, Elizabeth Arden Schoolyard Red and Ponds creme there was a heart.
She did take my Dad and aunt in when their Mum (her sister) died in 1951 and their father did the bolt, never to see the kids again. Although I suspect the adoption had more to do my my Grandfather and her mother, who was living with them at the time because Nanna said she never wanted children.
Eden, I want to pass on some Freda wisdom to your blog readers as a thank you for inviting me to post on your blog:
1. Control underware is important (please only tell people over 18 this).
2. Do your own PR. Hassle, harass and stalk those who threaten to reveal your secrets.
3. Get your Mum and husband to look after the kids. That way you will have more time for your boyfriends!
Over and Out.
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