Still laugh­ing af­ter 60 years

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News - Rachel Can­ning

Mar­ried for 60 years this Thurs­day and still jok­ing, Di­ane and Jim Haimes laugh that they met be­cause they were ‘al­most next door neigh­bours’ when Di­ane’s aunty bought the house next door to Jim’s fam­ily.

They started dat­ing when Di­ane was 16 and Jim was 21, got en­gaged on Di­ane’s 18th birth­day, and mar­ried in 1958 at St Mary of the An­gels by Rev FR. N H Gas­coigne.

Jim had trained as a builder and early years were spent in Welling­ton where they had lots of help from Di­ane’s par­ents look­ing af­ter their three young chil­dren, Mark, Sara-Jane and Ge­of­frey. In 1969 the fam­ily moved to Taupo¯, and Di­ane con­tin­ued her opera singing study with Bar­bara Ni­cholls. Pre­vi­ously she had trained un­der Sis­ter Mary Wine­fride Blake at St Mary’s Col­lege in Welling­ton. They both had busy work­ing ca­reers. Jim set up JE Haimes Ltd Build­ing and Di­ane took an ac­tive part per­form­ing with both the Taupo¯ Choral So­ci­ety and Cen­tre Stage Taupo¯.

A grand pi­ano sits in the Haimes’ liv­ing room as a tes­ta­ment to Di­ane’s love of mu­sic, but she is now legally blind and can no longer read mu­sic. Over the years she has sung in Any­thing Goes and was in Hello Dolly, the first pro­duc­tion put on by Cen­tre Stage Taupo¯.

“I sang many so­los with the choral so­ci­ety, and I per­formed in two op­eras with Waikato Opera — it was all sung in Ital­ian. I sang at Gov­ern­ment House.”

Di­ane says that even when she was in shows, Jim would be in­volved as a stage man­ager or the chil­dren would be in the show, and so ev­ery­one be­came in­volved. Jim spent many years rac­ing mo­tor­bikes at the speed­way and the mo­tocross and was in charge dur­ing the early days of the Taupo¯ Mo­tor­cy­cle Club. A high­light was be­ing the New Zealand En­duro 1984 team as­sis­tant man­ager for the In­ter­na­tional Six Days En­duro in Hol­land. Over the years Jim has given his time to many or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing the Ki­wa­nis Club, the Taupo¯ Ski Club, the early Taupo¯ Mo­tor­cy­cle Club, and the Waira¯kei Club.

When he turned 65, Jim handed over the run­ning of the busi­ness to son Mark and con­cen­trated on an ac­tive re­tire­ment in­clud­ing road tour­ing on his Goldwing 1500cc and ski­ing, and four years ago he took up moun­tain bik­ing. This year he broke his shoul­der ski­ing in the South Is­land but has made a full re­cov­ery and looks for­ward to more ski ad­ven­tures.

“I haven’t been sit­ting around. I’ve got an e-bike. Seven or eight mates ride a cou­ple of times a week. We do Craters [Craters of the Moon] or travel some­where else. I en­joy it, but I have a lot of falls,” says Jim.

Their only sad­ness has been los­ing their son Ge­of­frey when he was 42. Di­ane says that he was a great pi­ano teacher and played the harp, busk­ing with his harp in Jerusalem.

Jim jokes that his ad­vice for a long and happy mar­riage is to just keep say­ing ‘yes’.

“We had ar­gu­ments but we didn’t carry on with them. They were over the next day.”

Jim says that Di­ane los­ing her sight has been a test­ing time, but says that she copes well and still does the cook­ing.

Di­ane says they have been lucky to have each other and that Jim has been a very good hus­band, a great dad and a great grand­fa­ther.

“Although I had to com­plain to the man­age­ment — the cup of tea in bed was a bit cold.”

They laugh that they are get­ting old and tell of a re­cent gather­ing of friends where one couldn’t speak, an­other couldn’t hear, and Di­ane couldn’t see.

Di­ane is thank­ful for friends who are al­ways pre­pared to give her a ride.

Photo / Rachel Can­ning

Jim and Di­ane cel­e­brate their di­a­mond wed­ding an­niver­sary to­day.

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