by Jane Rodgers
70 YEARS ON
On Saturday, October 10 2015 it was my great honour to be with my 92 year old parents, Barbara and Stan to celebrate their 70th (Platinum) Wedding Anniversary! What an achievement! It was a quiet celebration which was what my parents wanted but a very special one. It was a pity my brother was unable to attend but that has its upside too, as it means we’ll have another celebration in July when both he and I can be there! Dad’s 91 year old cousin did join us, however.
Before I celebrate their day, I think it is interesting to know how their relationship began. It was in 1935 when they were 12 years old! They met at St Peter’s Church in Wisbech, Cambs where my father was in the choir. My mother attended regularly with her mother and sat in the front pew. A very good viewing platform! They got engaged in March 1942 before my father was called up to join the army and their 70 year journey began on October 10th 1945 at 2.15 p.m. when they got married in St. Peter’s Church, where they first met. Before they actually married they both had a very harrowing time because my father became a prisoner of war, was declared missing, and on a second attempt managed to escape into Switzerland where he worked as a newspaper reporter until the end of the war. (That is another story!!) During all that time he managed to hang on to his engagement ring! However, he could not de-mob until November 5 1947. During this time, my mother worked as an engineering inspector at a factory in Luton and did not leave that job until 1948. In 1948 my father bought their first home and they were able to move in together.
Back to the celebration itself. Some very special presents were given on the day to bring back memories of their wedding day and the time they had spent together around that time. David, my brother and I had an original wedding photo of them hand drawn and framed and the artist did a superb job. We also bought a special frame “Our Wedding Day” and put a bridal picture with the bridesmaid party in it. In addition, “A Special Couple” photo album with lots of pictures of them together at that time was put together. Finally, a banner was produced to welcome them on the morning saying “Happy 70th Wedding Anniversary.” A wonderful neighbour produced a great anniversary cake. Flowers were sent by friends and a nephew, too. The day was spent in celebration at home which is what both wanted but we did toast with a bottle of champagne!
David and I would like to thank everyone who sent cards and messages. Over 30 were received and they were much appreciated. The messages were very moving. I would particularly like to thank my friends in Bangkok who sent greetings and yet had never met my parents. It was very thoughtful of you all. There was, however, one card which was really special and that was the one sent from the Palace! My father couldn’t understand how the Queen knew!
A special thank you, too, must go to the organizers of the dementia café and to my Mum’s ex-Keep Fit ladies each of whom gave presents and a card at one of their regular monthly coffee mornings my parents attend.
My parents are as much in love now as they were when they got married and I am very conscious of the wonderful gratitude they show each other every day. Sometimes it brings tears to my eyes. My father will do anything for my mother who now has no short term memory and many times I hear my mother say to my father, “Thank you so much for looking after me. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” The words of two songs, I feel, epitomize their love for each other. The first is John Legend’s “All of me” which includes the lines of: “ ‘Cause I give you all of me, And you give me all of you.” The second is Elvis Presley’s “ Can’t help falling in love with you” with states……..” take my hand, take my whole life too for I couldn’t help falling in love with you.”
I do hope that, having celebrated this very special anniversary, my parents will still have some more anniversaries ahead of them to enjoy.
Carole Ann Eastgate