It’s Been A Great Journey
The young honeymooners desperately held hands in fear that this magic day would turn into their last. The inclement sub tropical weather had forced their scheduled aeroplane flight to be transferred to another airport. This was only the second flight of their lives and the butterflies in the newlyweds’ stomachs were as fierce as a swarm of angry wasps. They prayed for their lives as the ‘Fokker Friendship’ aeroplane absorbed every bump and bounce the violent storm inflicted.
Twelve months earlier, the couple had crossed paths one evening at an upmarket hotel in the city. Jan and John were both attending separate functions and met in passing. They had actually known of each other through mutual friends as they’d both grown up around the Bronte area.
Despite his initial nerves, John managed to string a good yarn together and even managed a laugh from the young lass. His confidence was buoyed by his impeccable appearance: a sharp haircut and a freshly dry-cleaned suit. His regular getup of surf shorts or jeans had been sidelined for the evening.
John did his best as young Jan agreed to a date the following week. She was impressed with the chiselled good looks of her gentleman caller. He was a quiet type, genuine from his toes to his nose.
John did not muck about. He knew he had a keeper under his wing and there were plenty of others enviously lining up to take his place if he faulted. There was no shotgun required here. A loving yet brief courtship saw the two marching down the aisle at Mary Immaculate Church in Waverley almost a year to the day after their first date.
It was 1962 and times were simple. St George beat Wests 9 – 6 in the league grand final, Sir Bob Menzies was the prime minister, Rod Laver cleaned up in every international tennis meet, surfboards were still nine foot long and a new band called ‘The Beatles’ were penning their modest hit ‘Love Me Do’.
Following a honeymoon in Coolangatta the couple settled into married life, setting up their new love nest at Coogee. The next few years saw two become three; then three became four. With a couple of young sons to test their mettle, John snookered a job with the fire brigade as Jan continued part-time work as a hairdresser for some of Sydney’s most flamboyant personalities.
These were good times; days were spent at the beach with a regular gang of other families: surfing, sunning, beach football and rides on the train in the park, than at the end of the day, a few beers at the surf club or a barbecue with friends. Life was complete.
John and Jan eventually outgrew their small unit and chanced upon a ramshackle semi in Park Avenue. Borrowing more money than they could jump over from a sympathising bank manager, they proceeded to turn their purchased dump into a wonderful home. John worked hard at three jobs to make ends meet and still managed ample time for his young family.
All the hard work started to pay off with a few family holidays here and there: Avoca, The Entrance, Forster. They didn’t have to travel too far as the Eastern Suburbs pretty much ticked all the boxes in their eyes.
Then one day they stumbled across a brochure for Hawaii. With a flashback to that honeymoon flight all those years ago, the pair toppled their demons and took a chance. They were now rid of their two prodigal sons and the world was their oyster.
They both realised their dream of a world beyond Anzac Parade and never looked back, eventually travelling to a plethora of amazing places together. John and Jan are worldly people nowadays, continually doing their best to spend their kids’ inheritance.
On June 30, 2012 John and Jan Maguire celebrate their wedding anniversary for the 50th time around. With two sons, two daughters-in-law and five grandsons full of beans it has been a great ride. Through good times and tough times this pair have rolled with the punches and steered their family smoothly. And I’ll tell you something for free: it sure has been a first-rate journey for the whole lot of us.