SHIRLEY & REX ABEL

THIS SOUTH­PORT COU­PLE CEL­E­BRATE THEIR 70TH WED­DING AN­NIVER­SARY ON TUES­DAY

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - PEOPLE - AS TOLD TO DENISE RAWARD

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.

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