Sixty years and still laughing
Kelvin Heights couple celebrates their long marriage
It’s a big year for Frank and Margaret Aldridge – the couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on January 14 and Mr Aldridge celebrates his 90th birthday in December. Times may have changed since this spritely South Otago farming couple first met, in 1950, but there are certainly no signs of inactive old age in the Aldridge household at Kelvin Heights, where they retired 30 years ago. At 89, Mr Aldridge still manages a large vegetable garden and is renowned for his record-breaking tomatoes and spuds. He was even recruited to sell his sought-after organic parsley to a Frankton cafe last year. Mrs Aldridge, 82, also manages a good-sized flower garden, is a wonderful cook and when younger was very keen on photography, painting and floral art. But back in the 1950s and 1960s, when they were raising a young family of three while farming at Clinton, in South Otago, there was little time for hobbies. ‘‘As soon as I was able I would be out in a storm helping with the lambing,’’ Mrs Aldridge said. She’d be kept busy running morning and afternoon teas across the paddocks of their farm, which eventually grew to 178ha. Somehow Mr Aldridge managed to fit in time to play sport, often travelling out of town to compete in rugby, athletics, tennis, cricket and later bowls. Mrs Aldridge has her mother to thank for 60 years of happy marriage. Her mother met the young farm worker from Hawke’s Bay on a Southland train and invited him to their Woodlands farm to see how the job got done in the south. Three years later, in 1953, he married her daughter at First Church in Invercargill after a six-month engagement. Mr Aldridge’s own wedding was the first he had attended, and when he saw his mates doing over his car with tin cans, confetti and graffiti, as was customary, he whipped his bride away smartly. ‘‘I didn’t want to go because I hadn’t had a meal yet,’’ Mrs Aldridge laughed. They got as far as Mossburn and her dress hat blew out the car window, only to be returned in Te Anau by an observant following motorist. ‘‘We had a hilarious time.’’ They’ve had their differences but they’ve never got in the way. If they had a row Mr Aldridge would head out to his vege garden ‘‘for a bit of a scratch’’ to cool off. The couple’s proudest moments have been holding their newborn children, then seven grandchildren and now two greatgrandchildren.
Retired farmers: Celebrating 60 years of wedded bliss, Margaret and Frank Aldridge, of Queenstown.