SECRET TO LASTING LOVE
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.
Hannie and Jim Hoekstra have been married for almost 60 years.