Married for 72 years and he said: “ she didn’t like me at first”
AS a regional daily newspaper editor I was often asked if we could do a story on a local couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
As we are all benefiting from breakthroughs in medical research it started to become apparent that while 50 years was great it was now a case that we had to reset the story benchmark for celebration stories at 60-year anniversaries.
I wrote many of these, but in my years as a journalist I was never invited to do a story on a couple celebrating their 70th anniversary and that is why when I was told that Joan and Ron Grandison had just celebrated their 72 year anniversary I jumped to go and meet them.
Joan and Ron live in a small home alongside many other residents in the pristine Bremer Waters Retirement Village on Moores Pocket Road.
They are not the kind to seek publicity and it was only because their neighbour Peter Lifebody rang me that I found out about their long, long marriage.
When they were married in Brisbane on March 31, 1951 Joan was 22, while Ron was 24.
If you do the math’s correctly you would know that they are now well into their nineties.
Joan is the daughter of former Ipswich Police Sgt Lou Hudd and was born in Ipswich before travelling at a young age throughout Queensland with her family as he was transferred from one station to the next.
Ron also has close local connections having worked at Mt Crosby Power Station for 31 years as an electrician.
It was in Brisbane at the Sandy Roberts Dance Studio that they first set eyes on each other.
“I noticed her across the dance floor one night and started out on my romancing, but it didn’t go too well at first, in fact I don’t think she liked me,” Ron said with a grin.
“I was persistent and eventually after a few years I made her realise I was the right man for her.”
When asked how and where he eventually proposed to her Joan said he never did.
“He had a motorbike with a side cart, and he just leaned over to me one day and said, ‘I suppose we should get married’,” she said.
“Obviously I must have said ‘I suppose we should’ because a short time later we were walking down the aisle at St John’s Church.”
They put their long life together down to always having respect for each other’s opinions and never having a real argument.
Both Ron and Joan battled through cancer scares during their life’s journey which included having two children, John and Claire. Only John has given them a grandchild.
Joan was quick to advise Claire’s decision to become a teacher steered her away from having children.
“She saw enough of what some kids get up to,” she laughed.
Joan and Ron were regulars on the bowling green at Mount Crosby and both excelled in the competitions.
“The legs have let us down over the past few years, so we had to give it away, although I still send a few down at the Bremer Village indoor bowls events,” Ron said. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and Ron said Joan had always been a great cook, although he said it had now become his turn to be the chef. Can he match her prowess?
“Let’s just say I am learning and at 94 years of age that’s a little difficult.”