Jeune & Frank | 60 Years

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Walking to school one day, Jeune spied something on a telegraph pole that made her heart flutter: “FG L JW” was scrawled in chalk with a love-heart around it. “There was just mutual attraction from the word go,” say Frank and Jeune of their young courtship that began as they lived around the corner from each other in the country town of Wellington.

A strong-willed young Frank told Jeune “you’ll marry me!” and it was decided. On the 15 March 1952 at age 18 and 17 respectively, Frank and Jeune were married in their home town surrounded by family and friends.

“It was a beautiful morning,” says Jeune, “and I can remember clear as a bell the sun streaming through the church windows and the masses of flowers.” Frank reminds her that she was running early for the 9.30 wedding, so had to drive around the block.

Jeune’s mother had made her dress – with a lace neckline and ruched bodice – and she wore the obligatory gloves.

Following the wedding was a ‘breakfast’ at home and the celebrations continued right up until the departure of the “Mail Train” at four in the afternoon.

Jeune explains: “It was a tradition in those days to have a big send-off at the train station.” Couples would usually take the train even if it was just to the next stop where they had a car waiting, and the steam train would ‘cockadoodledoo’ all the way to the edge of town. “If you heard the train doing that, you would know there was a newly married couple on the way to their honeymoon.”
Frank and Jeune took the train to Orange where they spent their first night and then spent time visiting family and friends.
Fast forward 60 years, and Frank and Jeune reflect on what has kept them together.

“Whatever we’ve done, we’ve always done together,” says Frank. Jeune adds, “Whatever Frank did, I followed. If he was on the [cycle] track, I was on the track. Whatever I was doing in the community, Frank supported me. Whatever he was doing, I supported him.” Right up to today, they are an active couple in the community, heavily involved in organising the Annual Wellington Vintage Fair which will see its 19th year this year. Jeune sums it up in one line: “the couple that plays together, stays together!”

Frank wonders aloud why modern couples choose to do things like taking holidays separate from each other. Jeune says that it seems harder these days for couples to find time together with so many commitments, especially with the expectation that children should be escorted everywhere. She says, “we could just send the children off doing their different activities – they could go alone. Whereas today you have to take them, sit with them and then bring them home.”

Frank believes that “if people could just spend more time together, going dancing or other social pursuits and not caught up in everyday work,” then more couples would stay together.
Hearing Frank and Jeune talk about their life together, it sounds as if it has been full of activity from the start. As well as raising four children, of whom they are very proud, they list the many sporting activities and business pursuits that they have embarked on together, and speak with smiling eyes about their recent travel around Australia and the world.
In 60 years there have certainly been ups and downs.

“The best times in our lives were probably when we had no money and had to improvise,” says Jeune, and she adds that learning to say sorry and never going to bed without settling an argument have been essential keys to their long-lasting relationship: “Anything that happened yesterday stays in the past. Tomorrow is the day to look forward to.”

“Keep it simple” says Jeune, “it is the coming together of family and friends that really matters.”

 

Carly Tia
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