The Things I’ve Learned From Nanas


Photography by Juliette Seymour

I spent many summers in Upstate New York with my Nana.  Spending the days devouring books by V.C Andrews or ‘helping’ in her stained glass shop – which really meant breaking things.  But the nights were my favorite.  Staying up late in her kitchen, I perched on a kitchen stool at a small movable island, she leaned against the stove, glass of wine in her hands.

We talked.


photography by Juliette Seymour

We talked about everything.  She told me embarrassing stories from her past, dealing with anorexia, nearly being raped as a little girl,  sexual harassment, and her hope that things are better for me.  I tell her how many things have not changed, how people still don’t understand the word “no”, things I was afraid to tell my mother.  I told her.

One summer night we got on the topic of abortion, “ I’ve been to the abortion clinic four times,” holding up four of her long fingers

“And I have four daughters.”

Those words rattled about my head for the rest of the summer.  I knew that it was a right I felt I needed to protect.  It was not something that only “those” types of women did, it was something my mother and aunts did.  A choice that perhaps I would have to make, that anyone with a uterus would have to make.

With what little money I had left from that summer I donated it to Planned Parenthood.

I felt like a little activist.  Like I was making a change.

(Left to right) Mom, Great Grandmother, Grandmother, Me

(Left to right) Mom, Great Grandmother, Oliver the Dog, Nana, Me


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