60 years on… cou­ple look back on first en­coun­ters

Sunday Tribune - - HERALD - MYR­TLE RYAN

ON APRIL 7, 1958, Les­lie and Emily Peters danced the Fas­ci­na­tion waltz, to the silky tones of Nat King Cole’s voice, at the Natal Vedic Hall in Carlisle Street, after hav­ing ex­changed their wed­ding vows at St Raphael’s Church.

Last Satur­day, cel­e­brat­ing their di­a­mond an­niver­sary of 60 years to­gether, the cou­ple took a spin around the dance floor at the Elan­geni Ho­tel, to the same waltz.

As the Right Rev­erend

Dino Gabriel, An­gli­can

Bishop of Natal, said dur­ing a spe­cial ser­vice held at St Thomas Church, Mus­grave, to com­mem­o­rate the oc­ca­sion, such mile­stones are rare nowa­days.

The Right Rev­erend Ru­bin Phillip, Bishop Emer­i­tus of Natal, and for­mer Archdea­con May La­ban also par­tic­i­pated in the cer­e­mony.

Of course, the ques­tion on ev­ery­one’s lips was how Les­lie, 89 and Emily, 85, had met all those years ago. Ev­ery­one loves a ro­mance, and theirs also re­flects how times and cus­toms have changed.

With­out Face­book, Twit­ter, cell­phones and other mod­ern­day so­cial me­dia, a dif­fer­ent course was fol­lowed along the way to ty­ing the knot.

“Ev­ery­thing was com­part­men­talised in those days, be it race or re­li­gion,” said Les­lie. “When some­one caught your eye, you told your par­ents. The match­mak­ers were called in and it was their task to check that there were no skele­tons in the re­spec­tive fam­ily clos­ets.”

In this case, the match­mak­ers were Emily’s mother’s younger sis­ter

Aunt Emily and her hus­band Jimmy David – who had al­ready ear­marked Les­lie and Emily as ideal for each other.

Les­lie said he first no­ticed Emily at a teach­ers’ con­fer­ence in July 1957, but their first face-to-face en­counter was when she was shop­ping with her mother, and he with his, at OK Bazaars in Dur­ban.

“None of the short skirts of to­day,” he re­calls. “She had on a long skirt, her hair was well done, and not too much make-up.”

As a re­sult of this en­counter, Les­lie’s fam­ily was in­vited to her fam­ily home for tea.

Emily, it seems, played hard to get and some­times just dis­ap­peared when she was to meet him.

Typ­i­cal of this was when the Davids in­vited him to a ca­sual dance and some­how Emily slipped away – enough to de­ter a young man, but he per­se­vered.

“Though out­go­ing and bub­bly, she also had a shy streak,” he said.

Their first ac­tual date was when he drove her to the beach­front. He can­not re­call if there was a full moon.

“I was too busy con­cen­trat­ing, en­sur­ing I did not put a foot wrong,” he laughs. Any­way, the evening proved very suc­cess­ful for both.

“There was no turn­ing back for ei­ther of us,” he said.

Both en­joyed ball­room danc­ing. Mean­while, with her up­right pos­ture, dress style and gra­cious man­ner, Emily was of­ten re­ferred to as The Queen.

“She had the same hair­style as Queen Elizabeth of Eng­land but, un­like her, she never wore a hat.”

After their mar­riage, be­cause Emily was a Methodist and he an An­gli­can, they would at­tend the early ser­vice at his church, then the later one at hers.

When this proved rather ex­haust­ing, Emily took the de­ci­sion to join the An­gli­can faith.

On the ques­tion of a suc­cess­ful mar­riage, Les­lie men­tioned that shar­ing time to­gether as a fam­ily was the glue that bound them.

They and their three chil­dren, Alis­tair, Melvin and Shirelle, played bad­minton on Fri­day nights, and ten­nis on Satur­day af­ter­noons, and out­ings were al­ways done as a fam­ily.

Fi­nally, Les­lie stressed to guests at the func­tion that they should find some good cause to give their time to in their youth.

“Don’t wait un­til your re­tire­ment. Be use­ful and find joy from your outreach while you are young, and make it a way of life for you,” he sug­gested.

Emily and Les­lie Peters cel­e­brated 60 years of mar­riage re­cently.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.