If you have been reading The Colour of Life in the last few weeks you will notice that my father-in-law has begun talking about how he met and married Joan Flanagan, and shared stories of their adventures as newly-weds.
Today it would have been Joan’s 97th birthday. She sadly died in 1994 far too soon following an operation. However I am very grateful for the fourteen years that I was privileged to know her.
We only met once before David and I got married in a matter of a few weeks and despite the surprise, both Geoff and Joan made me feel that I was the perfect choice for their son! Both our parents met for the first time at our wedding and here are both mothers at the registry office.
A highly experienced business woman before she married Geoff, she applied this to being a wife and mother. As you will have seen in The Colour of Life, with six children to bring up money was tight at times; both of them put in long hours and effort into providing for the family.
With Geoff on the road with his job and also earning money with his band, Joan would have spent a lot of the time on her own. But when she talked about that time it was with fond memories too. One of the most successful ventures was turning their large Georgian house in Wexford into a B&B in 1965 to 1968. At £1 per night with a full Irish breakfast lodgers were treated royally.
There were summer holidays at Dunmore East that have become stuff of legends with days at the beach in all weather. There were parties and old friends and a lot of laughter and Joan’s smile lit up the room.
They had a wonderful life before and after retirement with travel to Europe for Geoff’s job and holidays, and one trip that really stuck in his mind, which was to Africa to visit their niece Ann who worked for the Canadian government.
They epitomise everything that is good about marriage and family. They have left us with wonderful memories and the example how hard work, love and commitment result in a thriving family of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She had a wonderful laugh… enjoyed crosswords and the Rubix Cube… liked a whisky and a cigarette.. loved the sun and was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and mother-in-law.
Happy birthday Joan… you are still with us.