Joy Hendey built fighter planes. A small woman, not quite five feet tall, an elf like demeanor, greying black hair, dark eyes. Underneath her grandmotherly appearance was the steel of a survivor.
Born in grimy, industrial Manchester, England in the 1920’s to an Italian immigrant family, she experienced the worst of the world wide Depression. Her father managed a living at his small grocery store.
Young Joy was educated in a nearby Catholic school. She recalled that she thought the nuns were angels since she could not see their feet as the habits that were worn brushed the floor. She said that she was shocked when she first saw a nun’s shoes, believing that the sisters floated on air.
World War II came to Britain in 1939 and the nation’s survival was in question. In 1940, the Germans launched devastating aerial attacks on the nation’s industrial centers . Teenaged Joy went to work in an aircraft factory, crucial work in the Battle for Britain. She told of operating a metal lathe for 12 hour night shifts. People would faint of hunger at their machines. Joy told of strict rationing. Families were restricted to one egg per month, flour and sugar were sold in grams. For her, the worst part was coming home by the underground and not knowing if your neighborhood was still standing. Joy was no fan of monarchy. She recalled seeing King George and Queen Mary touring the ruins in Manchester. She observed that the royals were “twits” who went back to their safe quarters and certainly never worked a night shift.
At the end of the WWII, Joy came to Marion as a war bride and became a long time parishioner at Gethsemane.