Still The One

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Jan and Graham are a quintessential couple, their story beautiful in its simplicity. After meeting through mutual friends, Graham proposed shortly afterwards, a record number of ten times! The pair have now been married for over 50 years, and here they share their inspiring life journey.

Where did you first meet each other? Graham: It was a blind date –I was asked to take you to the Banker’s Ball. Jan: Graham’s friend knew my best friend – they were going to the Ball together. My best friend wanted to find a partner for me, and Graham’s best friend wanted to find a partner for him. Graham: We just sort of clicked!

What was your first impression of each other? Graham: See the Bank of New South Wales was up one end of the street and The Commercial Bank of Sydney (where I worked) the other. The post office was opposite my window, and Jan used to come up every working day and get the mail for the Bank of New South Wales. I thought she wasn’t a bad sort. Jan: I thought he was a bit old, but it didn’t matter.

When did you become a couple? Jan: We were just friends until we got engaged, which was not long after the Banker’s Ball in August 1959 (we were engaged in January 1960). Between August and January he’d asked me 10 times to marry him.

How long did you date for before you became engaged? Jan: Graham had told his sister he would come up to Toowoomba, QLD, to see her on the January long weekend of 1960. Graham: I bought a new Morris Minor. Jan: And I said, ‘Righto, I’ll come with you as long as you don’t ask me to marry you.’ But that didn’t happen … he did ask. So I said alright, and he took me down to the main street of Toowoomba to buy an engagement ring.

When did you get married? And what was the day like? Jan: We were married on 24 September 1960. The church was St John’s Anglican, Coffs Harbour, NSW. We had a best man, groomsman, chief bridesmaid and bridesmaid, so four in the party. It was a beautiful day! There were 70 guests at the ceremony.

What was your wedding attire like? Jan: It was peau de soie, which is a heavy satin, and it had pure lace little flowers in clusters, and a pearl in the middle of each cluster. I had it made in Tamworth by the same lady who made the blue frock I wore to the Banker’s Ball. It had stringy straps on it and a little bolero that went over the top. It had buttons down the back and it was fairly plain otherwise. Graham: I wore a dress suit, didn’t I? Jan: … a dinner suit. Graham: A black dinner suit with a black bow tie.

Tell us about your family. Jan: We have three children: two sons and one daughter. With my daughter, I was sure I was having another boy, so when she arrived I howled for half the day I was so happy!

What do you love most about your partner? Jan: I’ll say he’s been a good provider and he never complains – he accepts everything as it comes and he’s very tolerant. Graham: Well, she’s such a wonderful wife, friend and companion to put up with me. Not only that, but I got on well with all her family. Jan: Yeah, that was a good one.

What advice do you have for young couples on commitment? Jan: Be more tolerant. Graham: Be loving! I guess you could say you both put up with habits – gee, it’s hard sometimes. Jan: We had very limited wants in those days. We never went out for dinner; we had people in for dinner. Graham: Or we went out to their place.

What advice do you have for young couples on forgiveness? Jan: Yeah that’s one thing, be forgiving. Graham: Make up as nicely as you can. Jan: Don’t bear grudges. Graham: We’ve never had a really bad “ding” over a disagreement – the next morning, we’re right as rain. Jan: Kiss each other goodnight every night and every morning. Graham: Yeah, that’s something we’ve done.

What is marriage to you? Jan: Companionship – someone to share the burdens of life with. Graham: Always having a friend.

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