Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Mothers' Day Joan

 Joan was born in Newcross, London on 12th Dec 1922, to Richard and Emma. She went to school in Ealing, then on to learn shorthand and typing (Pitman's). She moved up to Downham Market at the start of the war, and worked as a legal secretary for a local solicitor.

Her happiest memories before she married were paradoxically those of the war years spent living at the Chalet, the house her parents rented during the war. Cousins from London often came to visit as a respite from the war, especially her first cousin Thelma. They also had an evacuee called Rosie, who she often spoke of with fond memories. She had a difficult relationship with her father, who thwarted her longings to train as a teacher, but was close to her mother.
On August 3rd 1946, Joan married my father Dennis at Stow Bardolph church, Norfolk. They had their wedding reception at the Town Hall annexe in Downham. 

They had four children, the firstborn were twins, born in October 1948. Tragically, one died at the beginning of December that same year. My middle sister was born three years later in 1951, and I was born four years after that in 1955.

After my dad died in 1959, she was left with the three of us, all still at primary school, and became the sole wage earner. Living at the coast allowed for seasonal work, and for several years she worked as an ice cream trader in the summers, and took in washing for the large guest houses too. In later years, after we had all left home, she joined the canteen staff at the local high school.

She loved dogs, had them all her life, and had a particular favourite in older life, Sally, and was heartbroken when she lost her. 

 She had unrealistic educational  ideals for us as children. She constantly gave us 'tests' to make sure we were on target. I didn't mind them as I was quite a high flyer too. The thing I found very difficult was, that at school at exam time, she insisted on my recording all my friends' results to guage how well I was doing. I remember the horror of having to tell her about the 9% end of year history result! (And now I LOVE history!) I consistently changed the results for friends who had performed better than myself. We didn't have an easy relationship, especially after my elder sisters had left home. My adolescence had been difficult, and I shall write more about that when I write about my father in a few days time.

Nevertheless, I did love her and things did get easier between us as she got older, although she was still very intractible and we disagreed about many matters. She lived to the age of 78, and died of heart failure following a successful abdominal operation in 2001. Her ashes are buried at Old Hunstanton Churchyard.

No comments: