Growing up in England during the years of World War One, Joyce Lawson knew very little about Valentine’s Day as a celebration of romance; instead she celebrated her birthday every February 14th.
But that all changed when Joyce was introduced to the love of her life, a soldier from the north of England named Alan.
“It was September 1946, we were both 19 and we saw each other regularly, as much as a soldier’s free time allowed,” Joyce remembers.
After their engagement in 1947, Alan’s regiment was posted overseas to Germany, and so the couple wrote to each other every day.
“Our courtship was mainly by mail, oh how I wish I had kept [the letters]! People would ask, “What do you find to write about?” But lovers are never lost for things to say to each other: daily happenings, plans for the future, our love for each other, our longing to be together, what more!” says Joyce.
As they started to plan for their wedding, clothing rations made finding a white dress difficult. Luckily, Joyce and her mother were resourceful.
“I heard it was possible to buy a R.A.F. parachute. They were made up of many panels of cream, pure silk, and so I bought one and my mother and I sat and unpicked it all, and then made my wedding dress”.
Valentine’s Day took on even more significance, as Alan’s leave from Germany was finally approved.
“This was February 1948 and the 14th of February fell on a Saturday, so we were married on Valentine’s Day, which was also my 21st birthday. How kind was fate to us.”
Finally married, Joyce and Alan travelled the world together as Alan was posted throughout Germany, and the couple welcomed their first of two daughters, Susan, into the world.
Although Alan passed away five years ago, Joyce remembers their years together very fondly, especially on the date of the 14th of February.
“I can still remember the lovely days of courtship and marriage in the “Good old days”. I hope you have enjoyed my story, as I have enjoyed remembering it” says Joyce.
Joyce Lawson, resident, Aveo Tranquility Gardens, Helensvale