Friday, 29 June 2012
55 YEARS AND STILL BEST FRIENDS
Today is our 55th Wedding Anniversary. A very special day, particularly after the health problems of the past few months.
With the card my sister sent she enclosed a list of wedding anniversary 'gifts', and it seems 55 years is Emerald. I didn't know that, and it's a good job I wasn't expecting Emeralds because I really don't like them much. I'll wait for the Diamonds in 5 years' time.
When I look back I'm surprised at how short a time 1957 was after WW2 - still a strong memory for us at that time, and still a time of shortages, and some things continued to be rationed until July 1954.
We had a quiet wedding, just close family. I made my own dress of figured satin, choosing a pattern with a 'sweetheart' neckline because I loved this style, and also made my own veil with little white cotton flowers stitched on.
My mother made the three-tier wedding cake (fruit cake in those days, not sponge or chocolate cake!), and my brother iced it, and my mother made the wedding 'breakfast' for the 'reception' at home - salad, tinned fruit and blancmange, and wedding cake as far as I can remember, and no alcohol.
Dev's sister's fiancé took the photographs - just a dozen of them. How different from today, and yet our little album is so precious to us, and the pages are turned over on each anniversary. As you can see, the photographs are already turning to an old-fashioned sepia colour. The wedding photos get older and I look younger - today's photos look newer and I look older!
You've probably also spotted the fact that the bridegroom is wearing a medal. My lovely mother, who had a nice sense of humour, gave him a chocolate medal on a ribbon, awarded for being brave enough to marry me.
He still has it, looking a little the worse for wear, but he treasures it.
We met at his sister's 14th birthday party when I was 13 years old, and he was quite grown up at 15. You may not believe in love at first sight, but we each saw the other 'across a crowded room' before we even spoke, and that was it - love, and we've never changed. These days I think that love at first sight is more a question of seeing someone and somehow recognising them as the person you always want to be with.
When I say it was a quiet wedding, there was a special reason for that. For one thing we were 'too young' (at 24 and almost 22), but most of all for the fact that his family didn't want him to marry me, and my family didn't want me to marry him - apparently we were not right for each other in spite of all our years of 'courting' and we were told the marriage wouldn't last a year.
It was quiet because my family didn't talk to his, and his family didn't talk to mine, and my father turned the 9 inch TV on and he and my brothers watched the cricket.
One nice thing about the day (apart from getting hitched at last) was that it was 'walking day' in the village in the afternoon, and the main street was decorated for the event with bunting and flags.
Obviously this photo was taken after the church service. As I said, I made my own dress and veil. My sister and I always made our own clothes, and my mother sewed all through the war when my father was at first 'missing' and then in a Japanese POW camp in Changi for 4 years, her only way of paying the mortgage on their new bungalow and keeping us in just enough food. And then I taught my daughters to sew, though it only took with one of them.
It seems sewing has always been in the family. My mother always said that her grandmother - my great grandmother - made the green velvet suit for the little boy in this famous painting of 'Bubbles' by Sir John Millais. It's fame rests in the fact that the Pears Soap company bought the painting for £2,200 and used it for advertising their soap after the soap tablet had been added in the lower right corner. Was Millais prostituting his art for advertising, or was he a canny salesman?
I have two cards of the picture, and obviously the advertising message varied from time to time, and the colour printing also varies. There's an interesting article on Wikipedia about Pears Soap, worth looking at. Apparently it was the world's first registered brand, and the worlds oldest continuously existing brand.
So, 55 years on, still best friends, and still in love. We hope to reach 60 years with a fair wind behind us.