Sunday, August 1, 2021

Genealife in Lockdown - Aunty Joan

Genimate Alex Daw over at the Family Tree Frog blog has challenged fellow geneabloggers to write about their lock down experiences in a series of blog posts on Sundays during National Family History Month in Australia.

See what Alex has to say about the challenge here: 

As someone who is always up for a challenge I will try to post on the topic Genealife on Lockdown each Sunday in August.

Joan at Bondi - 1 January 1968
Today, August 1st, is a day for celebration in our family. My Aunt and Godmother, Annie Joan Chatfield (nee Hogan) is celebrating her 100th Birthday in lockdown today. 

 Aunty Joan, who still lives independently in her own home supported by community nurses, is in lockdown  due to the latest Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney. While the nurses will be on hand with a cake and to help read her messages Joan will not even be able to celebrate with her daughter and granddaughters. As her hearing is not the best it will be difficult for Joan to take phone calls. Her daughter is hoping to have a small family celebration once lockdown is over.  

Aunty Joan is just one of the many people whose quality of life has been impacted by Covid-19 and its associated restrictions. 

As a small tribute to Joan I will share a few photos and memories of my generous, gregarious and glamorous godmother in this post. 

Annie Joan Hogan was born in Cobar, NSW, on August 1st, 1921. She was the third child of Andrew Hogan and Myra May Good.

Joan joined our family when she married my mother's brother Bill (John William) Chatfield in 1938 and their only child was born the next year in 1939. Joan remained in Cobar near her family when Bill went to war in 1942.

Joan and Bill - a farewell or welcome home?

Joan, Bill and their daughter used to travel to Sydney regularly to attend family weddings and birthdays.

Joan (L) her daughter, my grandparents and family members in Sydney c. 1942

My mother, Elsie (L) with her friend and sister-in-law Joan outside the Sydney GPO 1940s.

Joan was the matron of honour at my parents wedding in 1948 and, in 1949, was back in Sydney to attend my Christening where she became my Godmother.

My parents' wedding L-R: Dad (Allan), Mum Elsie, Aunty Joan, Uncle Tom (Dad's brother)

Joan, Bill and family lived in Cobar until the mid 1950s when my cousin completed her schooling.  They moved to Sydney in  the mid 1950s setting up their home in a flat on the clifftop at the southern end of Bondi Beach (see first photo). I was always spooked when we drove down the street to their home as it was so steep and I worried that we would end up in the drink. 

At that time my mother was working at Farmers department store in Sydney and Aunty Joan followed her there with a part-time position as a sales person. In no time at all Joan was working full-time and in a couple of years became the buyer for women's overcoats for the Farmers organisation. Joan had a long and successful career with Farmers (now Myer). Joan has a flair for fashion and is always impeccably groomed. When I was young and slim I would often come away from Aunty Joan's with a barely worn addition for my wardrobe. I loved those hand-me-downs. 

Joan's daughter married in 1960 and Joan became a grandmother in 1962. Joan has been a much loved devoted grandmother to her two granddaughters for nearly sixty years.

Proud Grandparents Joan and Bill at the Christening of their first granddaughter 1962

One of the big family celebrations I remember is Bill and Joan's Silver Wedding Anniversary in 1963 when family and friends gathered at the Kensington RSL in celebration.

Joan and Bill (centre) and our extended family at the 25th Anniversary celebration in 1962

After living in Bondi for a number of years Aunty Joan and Uncle Bill made their home in Coogee not far from my home. Mum and Aunty Joan were great pals and with Dad and Uncle Bill took several holidays together.  Since moving to Coogee Aunty Joan has been a parishioner at St Brigid's in Coogee and until well in her nineties was actively involved in parish affairs.

When I was about to make my debut in 1966 Aunty Joan helped Mum and I with the selection of my gown. When I became engaged in 1969 Aunty Joan bought the wedding dress I had chosen and organised my veil and cap. She joined Mum and my bridesmaids at home on my wedding day to get me properly dressed for the big event.

Aunty Joan and I on my wedding day

Uncle Bill suffered a number of strokes and for many years Aunty Joan cared for him at home until he passed away in 1988. She was a devoted carer. Uncle Bill had always been the driver in the family but when he became incapacitated Aunty Joan faced the challenges of  Sydney traffic and took to the roads in her Datsun Bluebird.

In the fifty years since I was married  Aunty Joan has shared many happy and sad occasions with our family. She has attended Christmas festivities, weddings, anniversary parties and birthday celebrations. I have enjoyed digging through my photo archive to find images of Joan and our family.

Matron of Honour Joan with my parents on their 50th Anniversary 1998

Aunty Joan at our son's wedding 2002

Mum and Aunty Joan at our 40th Anniversary party - 2010

Aunty Joan at Mum's 90th birthday - 2013

We send our love and congratulations to Aunty Joan on reaching her centenary and hope that once she comes out of lockdown she can celebrate her birthday with her loved  ones.


crgalvin said...

What a lovely tribute to your Aunty Joan. Best wishes to her on her 100th birthday.

Kiwi Nomad said...

Much love to your Aunty Joan as she reaches 100 years. I hope it isn’t too long before you can all celebrate together.

GeniAus said...

Thanks Carmel and Kiwi. Writing this post gave me an opportunity to reflect on a strong and successful family member. SO pleased the post will be archived in the Australian Web Archive.

Kerryn Taylor said...

Best wishes to your Aunty Joan on her 100th birthday, she sounds like an impressive lady.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

What a fabulous tribute to your Aunty Joan who looks like she’s a glamorous live wire. What a shame that she can’t celebrate her birthday in style today.

Alex Daw said...

Oh Jill - this is such a lovely tribute to your obviously very dear Aunty Joan. Happy Magnificent 100th birthday to her indeed. I still can't help but feel we have been passing like ships in the night over the years Jill. My paternal grandmother lived at the North End of Bondi beach in a flat. And, although it was before I was born, my maternal grandparents lived at the south end in a flat. I know my maternal grandmother was a sales assistant in a dress shop but I have no idea where. No one is alive today who might be able to remember. Thank you for such a beautiful contribution to our blogging challenge.

Jennifer Jones said...

This is a beautiful tree bite to your Aunty Joan. I feel sad that she has to spend such a significant birthday in lockdown after living such a lively life. it’s sad and difficult times we are living in. Sending her all my best birthday wishes x

Maggie said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Aunty Joan! I hope she's having a lovely birthday in spite of lockdown, and that you all get to celebrate with her soon.

Margaret said...

A lovely story Jill. Happy 100th birthday Aunty Joan, sharing it with me and all the horses out there. I do hope the celebration with family and friends happens soon.

Flissie said...

So enjoyed your story of your godmother and wonderful Aunty Joan. She sounds such a wonderful lady and a lot of fun. Congratulations on her 100th birthday -- I do hope she is able to enjoy a special celebration with the family who love her.

tasteach said...

Fantastic post about a wonderful aunt. In all the photos her clothing flair shines through. Hope she has a wonderful 100th birthday with her carers and when out of lockdown, enjoys better times with her children and grandchildren. Deafness certainly causes lack of communication in times of mobiles - my mother is also totally deaf and only uses iPad for sending messages.


GeniAus said...

Just popped back in and saw so many lovely comments, thanks. My cousin reports that Aunty Joan had a good day and the nurses were able to arrange for her to Facetime with her daughter and family


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