Chalking up 70 years together is a real cause for celebration, and Bolton Clarke At Home Support clients Rex and Fay have some very simple secrets to a long and loving marriage.
An inspiration to their four children, 10 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren, for more than seven decades Rex, 95 and Fay, 89 have said “I love you” every day. They also keep the romance alive with the help of weekly date days arranged through their Home Care Package.
The pair met at highland dancing, where Fay was performing and Rex fell in love with her ankles.
“She had racehorse ankles,” Rex says. “She had to have good ankles to catch me!”
“He was asking other people out for dances, but I think it was just chemistry,” adds Fay. “I saw him and there was something about him.”
When Rex asked Fay’s father for permission to marry her, the answer was conditional.
They were allowed to be engaged but could not marry until Rex had a house. Fay’s parents expected it would take a few years, but such was his love for Fay and his desire to marry her, Rex had the house built in just 11 months.
Rex was a bullock worker in the Bunya Mountains before a three-year stint in the RAAF. The couple lived in Roma for many years, where he was integral in the planning and construction of the Pinaroo Cottages Aged Care community with the support of Rotary, serving as President for a year. The site was opened by Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen, who lived in a cottage behind Rex and Fay. Sir Joh helped Rex put up a water tank at Pinaroo in the cold and sleet.
When asked about the secret to their long marriage, the pair say it wasn’t always easy to get along – they have had their share of arguments, but communication and compromise are important.
“Never take an argument to the bedroom, and always talk it over. Life’s too short to complain,” says Fay.
She remembers on one early date she wanted to see the film The Red Shoes, released in 1948, about a ballerina. Rex hates ballet but took Fay to see the film, where they sat in the dress circle. He harrumphed all the way through it, such was his displeasure – but he did it for Fay.
These days the couple’s home is a shrine to their love and the family they have created, filled with photographs down the generations. But a photo cannot capture the way they look lovingly at one another, and the love has not waned in almost 71 years of marriage.
Neither has the romance – this Valentine’s Day, Rex worked with Home Care Package Planner Sue Davidson to plan a special outing. The team arranged a new dress for Fay and a buttonhole for Rex, collected them from home and took them for a special lunch at Hervey Bay’s Waterfront Restaurant.
After more than 70 years, it’s a well deserved celebration. Their dedication to one another and the love they share is the true essence of the feast day of St Valentine.