Today, 17 May, would have been my Auntie Joan’s 100th birthday. She was dad’s older sister, and she died 3 years ago, just before her 97th birthday. She was married to Uncle Leo for over 70 years – they were very devoted, and she found it hard when Uncle died.
My sister Jane and I used to stay with Aunt and Uncle in Adelaide for a week or so during some school holidays. Auntie Joan’s daughter, my cousin Marlene, was quite a bit older than we were, and married with little kids herself, so it was always exciting to see them too. I remember sleeping in the spare room at Elizabeth Street and hearing different sounds (more traffic for one) at night. They had a big vase of pampas grass in the lounge room and some very speccy frosted glass drinking glasses to drink from. Auntie Joan also had a box of old high heeled shoes that we used to dress up in. Very smart they were too. We went to the Adelaide show with them once. (the fairy floss! The show bags!). The horrible taste of Adelaide water is also a strong memory! They had a huge walnut tree in their backyard. It was the time of the baby boom so there were neighbours with kids on both sides that we used to play with.
Later, when I was studying social work, I stayed with them full time for a couple of years before I lived independently. Slept in the same room, with my cousin Suzanne, who was also boarding there. More happy memories of those times, including having nana Becker staying there also, from time to time, not long before she died. Uncle Leo worked for the railways, and Auntie Joan kept the house. She was a great one for getting her hair done, and it was a simple, happy life that they lived. Auntie Joan had a fabulous display of African violets, and they both played tennis – uncle was a coach of juniors for years.
There are very few photos – or not that we have anyway – of dad’s family when they were young, but there are a couple of photos of Joan, Leo and dad taken possibly at Joan’s 90th birthday party, plus the only photo we have of dad’s whole family, and a snap that has appeared in the blog before of dad and Joan with their mum and the chooks… Happy birthday (and happy memories) Auntie Joan!!