Bob and Dorothy: 60 Happy Years
We're delighted to have joined Bob and Dorothy in celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary - 60 years of marriage. Bob and Dorothy have been residents in Ciudad Patricia for some years. Bob made a wonderful speech and has kindly agreed to allow us to reproduce it here.
Click here to read Bob's speech - it's quite a story!
On our diamond anniversary with silver in our hair we remember all our memories so let me take you there.
So, some 60 years later a very warm welcome to all our new and old friends and thank you for coming to celebrate with us. Many people have asked us “how did it start” - a long story - so in brief.
We first met at a church group in Ealing (London). A good friend of ours took a group of young people from our church to Ealing for what we called in those days a ”squash”. A general get together - games talks films etc. But we had to pay for the privilege. And Dorothy was the “subs” treasurer so came and asked me for money. Dorothy had very cold hands so I asked her who warmed them up for you!
We later found that we both worked in the centre of London and travelled on the same underground line – although we got on and off at different stations. I was a sweet boy of 16.5 and Dorothy was 18! Wow! Love blossomed! Whilst we commuted to work we discovered another couple in the same carriage who must have been in the same situation for he went away and the returned some time later, Evidently we were known as “the lovers” and the other folk were Romeo and Juliette - or was it the other way around!
Some time past and at that magical age of 18 I received that special piece of paper to say “you will report”… yes I was called up for national service in the Royal Air Force. That was two years of my life - but that is a very different story. Towards the end of my service I was home on leave when I found myself on a day trip with a train load of Sunday school children that Dorothy was taking to Hastings. Sitting on the beach and being a romantic, I said to Dorothy “shall we get engaged now or wait until i am demobbed?” We got engaged!
I was demobbed at the end of February and we decided to get married in September - well it was the middle of the tax year. I left the insurance job in London and joined a photographic shop in Harrow in north London area – they had a studio above the shop and that is what i wanted to do. So, in September we were married. We went abroad for our honeymoon – yes on a cruise to the Isle of Wight! It rained nearly all week !!
But, where would we live? A friend of ours found that a widow had two rooms to let so from my £5 per week and Dorothy’s £4 we paid £3 a week for the two rooms. Now you all know those first few weeks were a big learning. One day our landlady told me off for using her loo roll, hers was there and ours there!
But but but.. not long after we found that we were going to be parents. How that happened we did not know! What do we do now? How do we tell Dorothy’s parents? Well we did not have to. Upon a visit one day, Dorothy’s mother said “oh Mrs West saw you coming out of the doctors the other day!” Dorothy’s parents were very good and gave us two rooms in their house rent free so that we could save up enough for a deposit on our own place. Our daughter was born 10 months after the wedding so that stopped the wagging tongues!
We suddenly found that the council were giving mortgages. I went to the office where this gentleman was sitting behind a large desk to ask for a form. “How did you know that we were giving mortgages? We have only just decided it”? Oh I said, the grape vine! I did not dare to tell him that Dorothy’s brother worked at the town hall. By now I had left the camera shop and worked for a camera and optical repair company earning an enormous sum of £12 per week. We moved in to our terraced house in West Ealing London which cost £2300 and gave the removal men our last 10 shillings.. 50 cents today!
Time moved on and I worked in a partnership doing camera repairs. After 5 years, things were becoming difficult so I then had a job as a service and technical manager with a camera importer in London. During this time our son was born (yes at home), I remember it well, no hospital for the second child. And not long after we moved again to Kingsbury (near Wembley). I was now earning the enormous sum of £1000 a year. We had arrived. Another job move - still with an importing company but this time for the Russians. We imported cameras, microscopes binoculars and telescopes and later Russian radios During this period the company moved from Paddington to Holloway (both still in London). As general service manager I ended up with a staff of just over 100 plus 20/25 Russian mechanics and lasted some 7 years until i fell out with the English MD.
What do i do now? Two kids at school and a mortgage. We then decided to take the bull by the horns and move to Ashford in Kent and open a camera shop on a shoe string. We survived, the children grew up, daughter left teacher training college got married and move North to Scarborough, some 300 miles away. Son eventually left school and came into the business with us. It was an interesting time and gradually the business grew, eventually installing a very large Agfa film processing unit and employing some 9 staff.
During this period I have traveling some 925 meters down a coal mine and flying some 11.36 miles high and many times with my wife we travelled the world visiting some 31 countries as well as enjoying a trip on the qeii to New York returning on Concorde. The only problem was that after the trips we had to sell all the stock that we bought to go in the first place. Our daughter who stated that she was not going to have kids had 4 and our son married and produced 2 boys.. well with his wife.
Then after 25 years we came to spain – son the business is yours! He sold it some 18 months later to a large organisation called Jessops. He did the right thing at the right time for digital had arrived and killed the wet film business.
2½ years ago after living in Beitachell for 15 years we moved again, and we trust for the last time here on Earth, to be with you all at Ciudad Patricia. We now have 6 grand children with 6 great grand sons and recently another 5 step great grand children. Yes, we have had our ups and downs like most marriages. Dorothy tells me what to do and if i agree, then i do it! We always kiss good night and again kiss to say good morning, even now!
The seasons come and the years pass by but love will always stay and the two of us have the sweetest gift of all a diamond wedding day.