NEW GLASGOW – Joy and Junior MacLean are what Maritimers call the salt of the earth. This lovely, kind and unassuming couple raised their family of three sons and one daughter in Merigomish, along the Shore Road of Pictou County and their love is as evident now as it was on their wedding day almost 56 years ago. Junior has been a resident of Glen Haven Manor for the past five years and before the pandemic Joy was a daily visitor well known to staff for her gentle manner, friendly personality and warm smile.
Valentine days come and go but unshakable love endures
Daily visits that were once a given, have since turned into regular weekly or bi-weekly ones, during the pandemic but the MacLeans’ love still burns bright and strong. Joy tells the story of last April when she and Junior were to have their 55th anniversary but couldn’t be together, how the leadership team and staff at Glen Haven went beyond the call of duty to make the day was a very special one. Because of the extraordinary milestone, an exception was allowed where Joy, accompanied by her sons Barry and Jeff, enjoyed a specially authorized window visit with Junior to mark the occasion. A window was decorated with hearts and congratulations by Glen Haven staff and Junior taken to that window with a great view to be able to see his wife and two sons as the three looked up at him from outside, brimming with excitement and affection. Joy says she felt just like that bride of five decades ago while they blew kisses and revelled in the moment just to be able to look into each other’s eyes. “I don’t know how I could ever repay them for turning the day into something so special,” she said with her voice quivering with emotion. Joy also mentions that their daughter Janice was unable to be there for the window visit but that they were also thinking of her and wishing she too was there to be part of a moment that will be long remembered. The first indoor visits of the pandemic and long-awaited hugs back in July also hold a special place in Joy’s heart as she and Junior welcomed that yet another historic day.
When asked about their wedding day, Joy recalls it was cold and windy just like the day of their 55th anniversary but also says that the weather did not deter them from it being a great celebration, full of fun. The wedding ceremony was held in the First Presbyterian Church in New Glasgow, the town where Joy grew up, and the reception for 50 guests took place in the church hall. In those days, she says this was considered quite a big reception
Joy and Junior are very proud of their children as well as the careers they chose with all four having done well in a variety of areas, from the lumber, manufacturing and wholesales industries to office administration.
She is quick to mention that their two grandsons and two granddaughters are a great source of pride and joy. Joy also beams when telling the family is very excited to mark the graduation of their oldest grandchild, Andrew, from veterinary school this spring.
Joy herself had a successful career as a bookkeeper, working for companies such as the Moore Brothers, the lobster factory in Lismore when it was owned by Nickerson’s and also for Senior Care.
Junior too had a career marked by success as production manager and running the press for The Evening News in New Glasgow for 28 years and for a few years after The News scaled back on local production, he worked with Sam’s Pizza in Trenton.
Joy and Junior have had much happiness and wonderful memories over the years and have relied on each other as they also endured immense grief with the loss of their oldest son, Steven, at the age of only 46, which Joy says was without a doubt the hardest time for their family.
Joy is now living in the north end of New Glasgow, back to her childhood roots, but says she always holds a special place in her heart for Merigomish where she and Junior spent the busy days with their sons and daughter and all that entails – early mornings in rinks for both hockey and ringette, at the ball field and of course swimming all summer long and making hay.
Junior also enjoyed the game of curling, so there were many outings connected with that for the two in between family outings and commitments, while Joy not only taught Sunday School and CGIT but also was very involved in the Merigomish community association.
The MacLeans were always at the heart of what was happening in their community and enjoyed every minute of those times.
Joy remarks on how quickly the years have flown by and said she remembers her mother saying the same thing.
Valentine’s days for the MacLeans were marked with the occasional special dinner out, a nice card here or there and in recent years the Sweetheart’s Dinner at Glen Haven.
More important to them was every ordinary day. When asked what makes for a long and happy marriage, Joy has the answer. “Appreciate the good times, have a good rapport with each other and don’t take each other for granted.”
It is clear Joy and Junior have long held a magic key to the triumph of an unshakable love.
TAGLINE: Kim Dickson is director of communications for Glen Haven Manor.