Harold wrote this in tribute to his dear wife, JOAN .

She left us quietly and peacefully in the early morning of the eighth of the first month

of the year and crossed into that other world for ever hidden in the midst of time.

She left us, Christine and David and I sitting there in great despondancy and distress.

It couldn't be true that she was nolonger with us and yet it was.


She left us in the manner that had she lived. If she had to go then she went without

pain and distress and that is a great deal to be thankful for. One day I shall meet her

again and that is something to look forward to.

I have found times in the past when the thoughty of death,to say the least, has been

unwelcome. Natural enough in normal times but having seen her go quietly and without

resistance to the other side, I sense that in due course, my death will be met almost

thankfully because I shall not find her here again in this life.


I became aware of her in my middle teens and til then , lived what you might call a

normal existance as an individual. That early kind of life when you steer your own course

and pick and choose your friends your actions and your course for the future, but from the

moment I became aware of her I unknowlingly began a drift that carried me into another

direction.

She was there standing on the chapel steps, talking to two of her friends, I remember

their names, Elsie Hughes and Bella Morrow. They were roughly a couple of years older

than I and at that age I felt too much junior to them to expect to be accepted as a

contemporary. Of course at that period of life such an age difference was something of

a natural barrier. I had seen her often enough but somehow, this time I wanted to attract her

attention to myself. There was something about her quiet manner, a kind of gentleness

that isn't normally apparent in people but whatever it was, from that time I began to loose

my sense of individuality. Unknowingly but surely.


Her name was Joan and she kindly agreed to meet me one evening. From that day on we

gradually changed, Half my personality was stolen from me but in exchange I received

the equal from her.. The star of life began a new luminescence and from those early days

I became aware that I was really alive.


The Second World War had meant a little to me in those early months but before long I

felt I ought to do something whatever it might be. and having found I was old enough, I joined

what was then known as the Local Defence Volunteers, the L.D.V..Issued with one or two rifles

between a dozen or so of us, we took turns to be whisked away in private cars to patrol the

moorland to provide early warning against possible arrival against German Parachute Forces

or individual landing of spies and similar events. Standing with Joan at Crown Point Denton

(near Manchester) in the evening waiting to join the group on duty night unknowingly prepared

us for longer periods of seperation. Then I took it into my head to volunteer for the

Royal Marines. Still a little under the age of eighteen years old I thought that was what I

should do.


Then I really found how much I missed her, years of letter writing. Many evenings by my bunk

with pen and paper trying to create a substitute link to my reason for living. Odd periods of

leave when I hurried from many parts of the country to be with her. Whenever it was we

decided to marry, war or not. On one occasion when she could , after that, she came to me

wherever I was fortunately, as a Marine and living in private billets, we were able to spend

a few unforgettable days together. Supreme living except for those days of parting at whatever

railway station it happened to be. Terrible days those, but worse to leave her to leave for France.

(Harold told me that he had left some money with a florist to have 2 dozen red roses delivered

to Joan on D-Day when It became publically known that the Invasion had started.)


That was more than fifty years ago but those days taught us the value of being together in later

years. Years of happiness, years of struggle, years of bringing up the children with high hopes

for the future. God was kind to us. As the children grew older they fulfilled all our hopes and

looking about us we pitied those who were unfortunate in finding such happiness as ours.

So how can I complain ? She was the light of my life for so long.


We travelled to many parts of the world together and saw what there was to be see but

happiness was in our hearts and we lived only for each other. Travelling the world,

Marco Polo, Pizarro, Columbus nor anyone else ever found greater treasure than we found

on the step of home. We took it with us when we set off on every journey.We envied nobody.


I can't see her anywhere among the crowds or anyone at all like her. She seems so far away

and never more in this life to be near me, but I also know that in a way part of her is always

with me. It's just a matter of having patience . We have waited for each other many times before.

This is the longest wait the hardest and lonliest wait but this time it's the last wait so it's no

time to be sad, not really sad because after this wait there'll be no more waiting.

I could have died in 1944-45. We have had all those years since, side by side.

How can I be sad ? Look say I .Look what I have to look forward to. I have an idea that the day I

die will be the best day of the remainder of my life.. Then we shall be together again.

Written for Joan, (signed)Harold her husband and partner. April 97.