Nanny (Sandra Jean) was born 12/28/1939 in Bangor, Maine to Florence and Norman. It was Thursday, under the sign of Capricorn. The US president was Franklin D. Roosevelt. Color TVs were not yet invented.
Little about her childhood is known, but there is no definitive proof that she wasn’t a child prodigy or imbued with super powers. Just saying.
She graduated Brewer High School in 1958 and married Grampa on April 10, 1958. Back then, she always went by “Jean.”
Eight and a half months later, her first child was born. The house would be full of children, she had four, and then grandchildren for many, many years to come. It was her grandchildren that would dub her “Nanny.”
Where Nanny really shined was with her grandchildren. Her grandchildren were always welcome, and she was always willing to give them the love and attention they desired. Nanny never hesitated to tell me how many times she got up with me in the middle of the night when I was a baby. My earliest, and some of my fondest memories, were at Nanny’s house in Eddington.
Nanny never complained when her grandchildren would build a fort under the kitchen table and then run off without cleaning it up…at least she never complained to us. She never complained to us when cutlery went missing because her grandchildren had taken it outside to play and left it under a tree. However, she might have been a tad upset when we would drink too much of her Tab.
For those unaware, Tab is a diet cola soft drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company, introduced in 1963. All of my memories from the house on the Nickerson Rd in Eddington include Tab as the drink of choice. At some point she changed from Tab to Diet Pepsi. Diet Pepsi was never quite as alluring as the mysterious Tab.
Somewhere in the hustle and bustle of raising children and grandchildren, she found the time to become a CNA at Eastern Maine Medical Center.
When she and Grampa divorced, she remarried to become Sandra Jean Davis. By this time she was known as “Sandra” instead of “Jean.”
She lived on Pearl Street in Bangor, still loved to have her grandchildren over, and collected as many knick-knacks as she could to elegantly decorate her first floor apartment. It was in this lovely apartment where many of her other grandchildren would make their memories with Nanny. These may or may not include metal-edged BINGO chips and magnetic wands. (No? Just me?)
Time passed, situations changed, and Nanny was forced to move around. She was at times homeless, lived in the Freese’s Building, and lived at the Phillips-Strickland House. It was during this phase that her mind started to deteriorate. She would do things like catch her hair on fire while cooking, or drop a salad, breaking the bowl, just to pick it up and put it in another container…with some of the broken glass from the original bowl.
Somewhere in this timeframe, she also earned the name “Nana Hemp” as she shared a story about growing a “very pretty plant” in her window for a while only to later learn it was marijuana.
Nanny moved to Florida with Cindy in 2013. Who wouldn’t rather spend their final years basking in the sun rather than freezing in the snow? Also, retired dudes.
Sandra Jean Davis died peacefully, with her daughter Cindy by her side on May 17, 2015.
She is survived by her sister Linda, daughter Sally and her husband John, daughter Cindy, and her son Dan.
She had 12 beloved grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, 3 stepsons, and 4 step grandchildren.
She was predeceased by her mother Grammie (Florence), father Norman, brother Larry, and daughter Beth.
She will be buried at Pine Tree Cemetery in Eddington. May God have mercy on her soul…enjoy her glass salad, and tactfully ignore the pretty pot plant growing in her mansion window.