Reporter Devon writes about her grandmother Joy

My grandmother joy was born February 15 1919 in Australia on the east coast at a place called Tweed Heads. She is still alive today and healthy at the age of 81.

My grandmother's mother, Kathleen was only 20 when she gave birth to my grandmother, Joyce Isabella Parker. When my grandmother was just 6 months old, the Spanish flu managed to travel around the world. People did not think it would reach Australia, because it is so remote. One man who had the flu came over on a ship and spread the germs unintentionally. Everyone was so fearful of the flu, that the state borders of Australia were colosed to contain it. The day that the borders were colosed, my grandmother's mother, Kathleen, had gone on a walk along the border with my grandmother in a stroller on a Sunday afternoon. When she heard that the borders were being closed, she ran with my Grandmother and reached the border just in time to get home to her husband, Frank.

When my granmother was three years old her family moved to a town called Bundarra which is where her brother Bill was born.

When my grandmother was six she moved back to the east coast to a place called Nambucca Heads, which was her favorite place of her childhood. Their house was on the cliffs and my Grandmother loved the beauty f it. She used to love to stand on the cliffs and watch the whales spout water, as they swam up the coast north. Another favorite past time was walking along the paths and picking wild flowers for her mother. Her very favorite time was walking along a lonely beach collecting seashells. Her mother then gave birth to her second brother, Jim, whom my Dad is named after.

When my Grandmother was eight, her third brother Colin was born. Shortly after she was given a pet rhesus monkey named Cootie. My Grandmother's father Frank, built Cootie a box which they nailed to a tree. The box had a heavy cloth rolled up on it and whenever Cootie wanted to take a nap, she would pull down the cloth. In the winter time Cootie's little hands would get chapped and my Grandmother would go out and rub lotion on her hands. When my Grandmother was ten, the great depression hit. The family moved to Raymond Terrace where they lived on a farm that they referred to as "misery farm" because it was unsuccessful and miserable. Since they were moving and Cootie was not very nice to the baby, they gave the monkey to my Grandmother's uncle. Her uncle put Cootie on a chain in the back of his pick up truck. When he turned a sharp corner, Cootie fell out and was strangled to death.

At the age of twelve, my Grandmother won first price in her class for general proficiencies in all subjects. She told me that she was smart because she loved to read although she could not read that much because they had no electricity. On misery farm her fahter worked very hard to grow crops of potatoes and watermelon. Right before it was time to harvest the crops, there was a huge flood and all the potatoes rotted and the watermelon floated away. That was when her father gave up and moved to Inverell.

When my Grandmother was thirteen, things started to get better. When she was eighteen, she graduated from high school and went to college for two years.

When my Grandmother was twenty, they moved to Sydney and bought a nice house. One year later she got a job at a classy store in Sydney. Her brothers all got jobs as well.

At age twentythree, on October 6, 1944 she was having lunch at a little cafe near where she worked. She was reading a paper about World War II when a tall, dark, handsome officer in the American Navy walked in the Cafe and happened to sit near her. They have never met if the waitress had not mixed up their orders. When the mistake became evident they looked at each other and laughed. They switched plates but did not talk much because my Grandmother did not like to speak to strange men. Then she saw him looking at her and heard him ask:

"Do you live here in Sydney?"

"She said yes!"

He said "I live in the United States in a state called Illinois. Have you heard of it?"

She replied; "Oh, yes!"

He asked "What is there to do here in Sydney?"

They then chatted about things to do in Sydney, until it was time for them to leave. When they got up to pay, he said;

"Let me pay for you lunch."

She said; "Oh, no, I don't even know your name."

He replied, "I am Lloyd Shaddle; what is your name?"

She replied, "My name is Joy Parker."

He replied, "That is such a pretty name."

She thanked him for the compliment, smiled and said "I have to go."

He looked at her and said, "I would like to see you again...May I?"

She gave him her phone number. No sooner did she get home that day; the phone rang and it was Lloyd. He invited her to dinner and she accepted. She got all dressed up and met him at a nice cafe. He pinned a pretty pink carnation on her said,

"You look beautiful coming...and going!"

There was a band playing there and they danced until midnight. Then planned to meet again, on a picnic. Eventually Lloyd's shore leave was up and he had to go back to the Navy. They were both sad, but wrote each other often.

They would meet whenever possible. Over two years after they met, when my Grandmother was twenty-six, the war ended. Lloyd went back to his home in Illinois. He then sent a letter.

He wrote "I want you to be my wife and the mother of my children...I will open a dentistry practice here in Illinois with my father...Will you please come marry me as soon as possible?"

Although my Grandmother did not want to leave her family and home she loved him and wanted to marry him. She accepted.

It was required that American servicemen pay a $500 deposit if they intended to marry a foreign bride. This would allow for the return of the lady to her homeland in case there was a change of heart.

Since there was no commercial air travel at the time my Grandmother had to wait nine months to secure a passage on a merchant ship. It then took six weeks to reach New York. My Grandfather met my Grandmother in New York and they got married right away. They then traveled by train to Forrest, Illinois, where they lived happily ever after. They raised three children, Kathleen, William, and the youngest, James, my father.

After fifty years of marriage, my Grandfather Lloyd died seven years ago in 1992. My Grandmother still lives in the family home in Forrest, and we get to visit her or have her visit us often.

Take me back to Jim's section Click here to go to the Table of Contents page