The Celebration of St Patrick’s Day

For many, the celebration of St Patrick’s Day is an occasion to enjoy a dark beer or two, or make some claim to Irish heritage. For our family, St Patricks day marks another special occasion: Nana McLeods birthday.

If she were still alive today, she would have been 119 years old this month.

Myrtle McLeod was born Myrtle Cain, in the Wade, just north of Auckland, in 1898.

She lived a long and eventful life, despite being struck down with complete deafness while giving birth to her youngest child. However, she quickly learned to lip read and anticipate events, almost as if she had a new-found sixth sense: The family quickly learnt to turn aware before making a smart remark. “It really was as if she had eyes in the back of her head” noted one of the children.

Despite her affliction, she took great joy in her growing family. She took a special interest in her 13 Grand Children and 31 Great Grand Children, who in turn developed a special bond with her. Communication with Nana McLeod was never really 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 interned in the Aramaho Cemetery, beneath a rose bush called ‘Peace’, in Wanganui.


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