Still the One I Love

Ray & Daphne

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We hear a lot of amazing stories at WHITE, but sometimes there is one that really stands out. Four years ago, we interviewed Ray and Daphne Watson who had been married for over sixty years. Now, they have reached their 71st wedding anniversary, and they couldn’t be happier.

Married on June 21, 1941, Ray and Daphne planned everything together. This was the start of a prosperous partnership in which two best friends have spent more than seventy years living, loving and laughing together.

Sitting in their lounge room with matching armchairs, it is clear that Ray and Daphne are still very much in love. While Daphne knits teddy bears for African children, Ray tells me about their experiences over the past 71 years. These have included four children (with two adoptions), several grandchildren and even a few great-grandchildren; moving home several times and relocating from Melbourne to the NSW coast; winning lawn bowls championships and gardening awards.

Ray and Daphne were clearly made for each other. In a world where some have forgotten why a marriage is such a powerful act, they remain the best of friends and are a testament to the amazing and special tradition of marriage. Apparently Ray always wins the fights (or so he says!), but Daphne has all the fine details stored in her memory, and, while we are speaking, she only interjects to correct some of Ray’s details. The two speak with me like a well-oiled machine, never interrupting the other, and always adding to what has been said.

They knew each other when they went to school, but it all started when they met again at a dance when Daphne was 19. Ray remembers this with great happiness when he says, “I asked her for a dance and then I never let go of her!” Luckily, Daphne’s original date was very much the gentleman, and must have known true love when he saw it.

They stayed around the Melbourne area until they went on holiday to Lake Macquarie and found that the temperature was much more to their taste. Two weeks later they had sold their house, packed up and moved to the area that was only meant to be a short holiday for them.

Throughout their marriage they have always made decisions like this together and listened to what one another have to say. “Don’t be angry with one another,” says Daphne. Ray also recommends that you spend your free time with your loved one. “Back when I was working, all the blokes used to go straight to the hotel and have a beer when they finished work. I always came straight home to Daphne.” Their lawn bowls career was all the better for it, but now they prefer to sit together and chat.

Both Ray and Daphne agree that people don’t communicate as well as they used to. Ray is a keen letter-writer, and was surprised to find out years ago that none of his friends at bowls wrote letters anymore. He still writes to family members, and his obvious connection with his granddaughter, Rachel, (who joined our conversation) reflects the fantastic family relationships that Ray and Daphne have encouraged.

Family photos cover the walls in the lounge room and family albums fill the bookshelves. Rachel shows me a book on the history of Ray’s grandfather, a German man who was “always bloody angry and used to make me tie up his shoes because he was too fat to do it himself!” Daphne jokes that Ray is turning into his grandfather, and he denies it and laughs along with his best friend.
Having now moved to a nursing home at Lake Macquarie, Ray says that everything about it is wonderful, except for the fact they have single beds. “I’ve spent most of my life sleeping in the same bed as her and now I don’t get to snuggle her anymore!”

Ray and Daphne’s story is a true love story – a story of deep friendship, devotion and utter happiness. The close relationships they have with their family are a true testament to their devotion to each other and they are an inspiration for all couples. Their warmth and wisdom are a reflection of the wonderful life they have led together and are truly encouraging for all couples.

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