Nana's Teeth -- Reminiscence of a Grandmother on a South Worth Farm

  • By Julie Green Siemion
  • Posted 5/26/2001
  • Essay 3299
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This is a reminiscence of "Nana" -- Frances Amelia Bishop Boyd -- by her first grandchild, Julie Green Siemion. Nana lived on a farm at South Worth near Port Orchard, which her grandchildren visited, to their great delight.

Nana's Teeth

"This is a story about my mom's mother, Frances Amelia Bishop Boyd.

"My brother John and I spent many a magical day exploring Nana and Bompa's farm at South Worth. The ferry ride over from Fauntleroy was exhilarating. As many a child before us and after, we stood arms outstretched at the bow of the ferry gulping in the smell of the sound, squealing at the spray, and entranced by the circling gulls. Ferries were smaller way back in the 1940s and 1950s so the sea spray was always anticipated. What an introduction that ferry ride was to the wonderland to come!

"The old farmhouse stood in the middle of a city kid's dream. A mile up from the ferry dock was an acre full of trees to climb, berries to pick, chickens to feed, and fresh milk and cream to go with the berries. Row upon row of ripening strawberries marched next to straight rows of raspberries. Gooseberries shared the top stringer of the fence in the front with rambling roses. The yard was dotted with plum trees, apple and cherry too. We always seemed to eat too many, too green and ended up sick, vowing to never do it again -- until next time. The tree limbs just seemed to bend down allowing us to climb aboard and the smell of ripening fruit overwhelmed our now rusty memories.

"John and I would awaken to the smell of the woodstove and "camp coffee" perking in the kitchen below. We would both troop downstairs and while rubbing sleep from our eyes, Bompa would pour us our cups of "coffee" (evaporated milk, blessed with coffee) and Nana would open the oven door and place our little green stools in front. There we would sit leaning into the oven for warmth, sipping our coffee, and watching Bompa fill the first cigarette wrappers of the day with tobacco and roll them in a contraption that popped out smartly formed cigarettes.

"When the coffee woke us up and our stomachs started growling, Nana gave us a bucket and sent us off to Mrs. Blackstead's farm for fresh cream. For young children with rich imaginations this trip through the woods was fraught with eerie sounds, strange smells, and the unavoidable comparison to Hansel & Gretel! We would arrive breathless but unscathed, exchange the empty bucket for full and race pell-mell back to Nana's afraid to look back - just in case. Nana would then give us each a bowl and told us to go out and pick whatever we wanted from the ripe berries for breakfast. These carefully picked gems (we ate more than were put in the bowl) were topped with the incredibly delicious cream -- what a treat.

"I don't know exactly when John and I realized that Nana was different. She didn't always have teeth in her mouth -- her teeth resided in the glass by her bed! Nana admitted that she preferred to be toothless since her teeth no longer fit properly and hurt her mouth and she only wore them for special occasions. It didn't matter to us, she still made the best fried chicken fresh from the hen house out back, and the best pies ever. Over the years we got used to seeing Nana both with and without her teeth.

"One morning our family excitedly drove to the Fauntleroy ferry dock to meet Nana and Bompa. They were coming to visit us for a change. We stood with anticipation at dockside waiting for the ferry to arrive. As it arrived closer to the dock, John and I scanned the upper deck -- each vying to find them first. Straining against the railing I searched, determined to be first. Then, there she was, smiling and waving and blowing us kisses. I waved back and shouted for all to hear 'There's Nana, there she is ... and she has her teeth in!'"



Lovingly submitted by the first grandchild, Julie Green Siemion, May 23, 2001

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