SHIRLEY & REX ABEL
THIS SOUTHPORT COUPLE CELEBRATE THEIR 70TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY ON TUESDAY
SHIRLEY: We just get on well. That’s what it comes down to. REX: We just don’t argue.
SHIRLEY: When I was 14, I went to work as we did in those days. I worked as a machinist making children’s clothing in Melbourne and I had a friend, Phoebe, who invited me to go along to the pictures. REX: She was a blind date.
SHIRLEY: Yes, Pheobe was meeting a boy there and he brought along his friend. It was Rex. I met him and didn’t think much of it. Phoebe didn’t end up marrying that fellow but I ended up marrying Rex. REX: We’ve known each other 73 years.
SHIRLEY: We used to see each other after work and at weekends. Rex was one of 10 children and lived in Richmond and I lived in Armidale. REX: I used to dink her home on the bike.
SHIRLEY: I was 17 when we got married and Rex was 19. It wasn’t unusual in those days. We never had a lot of money but were happy.
REX: I worked at the malthouse at Richmond where we did the flour for breadmaking. I was there for 25 years.
SHIRLEY: He used to drive a taxi at weekends too. We had our first daughter in 1951 and then there was an eight-year gap until our next one. The hospital told me there was something not right but that proved them wrong. I had a son three years later. REX: Our kids were always good kids.
SHIRLEY: Yes, we’ve never had any real dramas in our lives. We’ve always been happy to be together all these years. All our children have gone on to have happy marriages too, so we’ve been very lucky like that.
REX: We used to go camping for our holidays to Ocean Grove every year. We’d set up the big tent and take everything with us, even carpet and a sink.
SHIRLEY: We did that for many years. The aunties and their families would be there too. They were just simple, good times — idyllic really, although I’m not mad about camping these days.
REX: After the malthouse, I worked in plastics until I retired.
SHIRLEY: We retired to Seymour in country Victoria to start with but that didn’t really suit us. We went back to Melbourne but we’d always wanted a little unit on the Gold Coast. We’ve been up here 17 years now and we just love the lifestyle.
REX: Shirley is a great saver and we’ve done quite a few overseas trips.
SHIRLEY: Yes, we’ve been on cruises and tours. We love our trips away. We’ve seen some nice places and met some friends along the way. REX: We’ve always had pretty good health.
SHIRLEY: Yes, although Rex has got a couple of issues now that we’re keeping an eye on. I’m still going alright. I’ve never driven a car. I’ve never been interested in it. I walk everywhere. I just love it. I walk a few times a day just to get out and about.
REX: They’ve got lovely gardens downstairs at the units and I water those.
SHIRLEY: We’re very content. REX: We’ve got seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren we’re very proud of.
SHIRLEY: We’ve always just enjoyed life. It helps that Rex is the most easygoing man you’d ever meet. He’s always happy. He’d come home from work whistling. We’ve never been rich but life has always been good.
REX: It’s what you make of it.