SE­CRET TO LAST­ING LOVE

Geelong Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - CHAD VAN ESTROP

HANNIE AND JIM’S SE­CRET TO ETER­NAL LOVE

GRANDIOSE and to­kenis­tic dis­plays of af­fec­tion on Valen­tine’s Day don’t sit well with North Gee­long cou­ple Jim and Hannie Hoek­stra.

The cou­ple, clos­ing in on 60 years of mar­riage, say love is a year-round pur­suit and some­thing to work on daily.

“It’s not the only day in the year, we care every day for each other,” Jim says.

Jim and Hannie’s ro­mance con­tin­ues to blos­som de­spite sig­nif­i­cant set­backs.

They live to­gether at the Mul­ti­cul­tural Aged Care Ser­vice — two years af­ter Hannie suf­fered a stroke.

In a true labour of love, able­bod­ied Jim moved to a unit on the grounds of the aged care ser­vice six months ago to be closer to his wife.

“I was 18 months on my own in (our old) house com­ing home every night from her, look­ing at the walls all by my­self, so I sold the house and bought in here,” Jims says.

The cou­ple share lunch and din­ner daily af­ter Jim walks over from his unit.

When the Gee­long Ad­ver­tiser ar­rived yes­ter­day the pair were hand-in-hand as Hannie com­pleted her favourite ac­tiv­ity — draw­ing.

Hannie has shown tremen­dous sup­port for her hus­band.

In 1968, when the cou­ple had two young chil­dren, Jim was se­ri­ously in­jured af­ter fall­ing down a scaf­fold.

Three months later Jim left hos­pi­tal, but it would be an­other nine months be­fore he re­gained in­de­pen­dence.

Hannie fed, bathed and at­tended to Jim’s needs dur­ing the slow re­cov­ery.

As Jim laid in­jured in hos­pi­tal, he pleaded with Hannie to find an­other man to sup­port her.

“I told her ‘we’ve got two lit­tle chil­dren and I don’t know what to do. You might have to look for some­body else be­cause I can’t work any­more’,” Jim says.

But it wasn’t a sug­ges­tion Hannie took se­ri­ously.

Jim’s been a ro­man­tic along the jour­ney, propos­ing to Hannie while on top of the You Yangs af­ter a bike ride.

The cou­ple fell in love while ball­room danc­ing at The Palais as teenagers and mar­ried in De­cem­ber 1958.

In the era of in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion, Jim’s ad­vice for cou­ples is to look to the long-term when times are tough.

“You’ve got to have a lot of time for each other,” he says.

Pic­ture: ALI­SON WYND

Hannie and Jim Hoek­stra have been mar­ried for al­most 60 years.

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