Love was in the air at Peninsula Villages on Valentine’s Day, as the aged care organisation welcomed back visitors for the first time in months.
The previous visitation restrictions that were put in place to protect residents from Omicron began easing last week, allowing visitors to return to Peninsula Villages’ facilities, in alignment with NSW Health advice.
For Pozieres House resident Margaret, this easing of restrictions was extra special as her husband of 67 years, Barry, was able to pay her a visit for Valentine’s Day.
Margaret was Barry’s secretary when they met in 1948, and an office romance soon blossomed. Seven years later, in 1955, the pair got married and now, 74 years after meeting, they have four children, ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Prior to restrictions, Barry would visit Margaret every other day, helping her with lunch, playing music and chatting with her about family. However, once restrictions were implemented, this all changed.
Judy Moroney, the Wellbeing Co-ordinator for Pozieres House, explained that Barry was determined to stay in regular contact with his wife throughout lockdown, so eagerly learned how to make video calls.
“When the restrictions first started, Barry could not visit Margaret, so we set up regular FaceTime calls for him,” she explained. “It really showed that love knows no boundaries, even after 65 years!”
For Valentine’s Day this year, Barry paid Margaret an in-person visit for the first time in 2022. Judy commented, “It is so lovely to see the two of them in each other’s company again. Margaret’s face lit up when she saw Barry come in and the smile didn’t leave her face for the entire visit. They are obviously still very much in love!”
Over in Don Leggett House, Elaine and Robert celebrated Valentine’s Day by reflecting on their 65 years of marriage and sharing insights into its success.
The couple first met at a tennis picnic in Parsley Bay, Sydney when they were just 17 and 19. Robert recalled his first impression of Elaine, “I bowled her out while playing cricket and she got cranky, but I chased after her because I knew it was love at first sight, and I was right.”
Elaine admitted she found Robert “spunky” when they first met, and that opinion hasn’t changed at all over the years. “Robert is my company, he’s spunky and I love his fashion sense,” she admitted.
Robert said “I love you” first, but it was Elaine who asked Robert for marriage, which Robert was delighted by. The couple got married on a hot summer day in church, stayed at hotel in Bondi Beach on their wedding night, then went on a two-week honeymoon to Forster, NSW. Robert recalled Elaine looking magnificent on the day, and Elaine agreed, stating “I remember feeling that Robert was lucky to marry me.”
When asked to share what advice they have for younger couples, Elaine said, “Look after each other and think about each other’s feelings”.
Robert agreed and cheekily added, “Tolerance is the key to successful marriage. Let your wife be the boss!”
Today, the couple both reside at Peninsula Villages, Elaine in Don Leggett House and Robert in an independent living unit in Pam Palmer House, and they spend as much time together as possible.