Nettie Turns 100

My brother Johnny pointed out that today would have been the 100th birthday of my grandmother Nettie – born Наталка Потягайло, or Nataltka Potjahailo, on March 19, 1915.

Nettie died 16 years ago, but she lives on in our memories. Here she playing the mandolin in a duet with my father on Christmas Day, 1995:

And here she is as a member of the mandolin orchestra in Fort William, Ontario as a teenager (she and her cousin Stella are in the far left in the front row):

Mandolin orchestra, Stella and Nana at left of first row

Here’s my favourite story about Nettie. She was visiting us here on the Island in the early 1990s:

About the second or third day, I came down for breakfast and noticed that she was putting cream and sugar in her coffee. This was unusual, as I’d always remembered her taking her coffee black. When I asked her why she’d changed she told me that she’d been drinking coffee black for 60 years and had never tried it with cream and sugar. Earlier that year she had and, much to her surprise, she said, “it just tastes a lot better.”


Add new comment