Friday, 29 June 2012


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.


  1. Happy Anniversary Jez and thank you so much for sharing your happy memories with us. I'm glad you went on to prove your families wrong!

  2. This brought me to tears Jez! Happy Anniversary and congratulations for 55 years!! I had a long comment written and is disappeared! You were such a beautiful couple!! Yes there is such a thing as love at first sight!! Thanks for sharing!!

    Big Hugs Giggles

  3. what a beautiful post. so lovely to get a glimpse of your personal life. my parents met in 1955 when my mom was 15 and my dad was 17. they are still best friends too and have been married 51 years. it's a wonderful thing to behold, and a model for how I've wanted to live my life. (and 25 years into my relationship with my husband, things seem to be working out pretty well). thanks for sharing this.

  4. Happy Anniversary for today.

  5. Congratulations... 55 years is a lifetime and I am in awe that you made your dress, and it looks so perfect... you are clever... we had fruit cake for our wedding cake, just 20 years ago, and to me it has to be fruit cake... sponge cake just doesn't seem right... loved seeing the photos and so glad you shared them with us...xx

  6. Happy Anniversary Jez. I really enjoyed your blog post, you and your wedding dress are beautiful - what a wonderful skill to be able to make your own wedding dress *sigh*. I love the chocolate medal, what a great little personal touch that was on behalf of your Mum :) I felt sadness when you spoke of why it was a quiet day, it is such a shame that families can't put aside their own opinions around such matters just for a day, this resonates with me on my wedding day, although both families attended, I don't think either of them exchanged a word. The most important thing is that you and your hubby knew what was right for the two of you xx

  7. Thank you all for your lovely comments. I enjoy reading them.

  8. Happy (Belated) Anniversary, Jez!

    This post was amazingly beautiful - it is wonderful to get a deeper glimpse into your life and I am so glad you shared all of those precious memories with us. (You looked so, SO beautiful, by the way! And I think that chocolate medal is a riot :) )

    There is such beauty in the simplicity of the few meaningful, very treasured photos, the gorgeous handmade dress, and the homemade fruit cake. I think one of the (many) reasons I love this post so much is because it is the perfect reminder of what is truly important in life.

    You have been and continue to be an inspiration to me, Jez... As a matter of fact, one of the index cards I created in my latest bunch is dedicated to you. (Since we live across an ocean, it's my virtual way of sending love and cheer as you heal.)

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful spirit and for the continued inspiration.


  9. wow! what a story! happy anniversary! thank you so much for visiting my blog...i'd love for you to submit a story as part of CREATIVE SUGAR-my new storytelling project. i've updated the link...thank you for letting me know :)

    best wishes!


  10. Kristin - you actually made me cry reading your comment, I was so touched by it. I'm so grateful to Lisa for 'introducing' me to such lovely people through her Messy Book and E-Course. Thank you. And thank you Juliette. I'm always a rather private person, but all your comments make me feel I might post one or two other stories - strange courting and wedding tales seem to be a feature of our family history. Jez

  11. I'm reading through your archive, Jez, and came across this one. Wow, 55 years. Congratulations! What a beautiful story! My husband and I married within two weeks of meeting each other, so we never actually dated before we got married! Our 'courtship' took place after we got married, which is a bit back-to-front by today's standard. We also had a fruit cake at our wedding, with about 12 people in total there. We have a long way to go to catch up with your 55 years though, we're only at nine years. :-)

    Gosh, I love reading about such lovely first-hand accounts of strong relationships. Thank you for sharing!


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