Together ’til the end of time

2018-04-24 06:01
John and Leah BartlettPHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

John and Leah BartlettPHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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When John (82) and Leah (79) Bartlett from Seawinds made a vow to be side by side in this journey of life, they meant every word.

The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday and are looking forward to spending more years together.

The couple met in Franchhoek and have six children, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

“My husband came to visit one of our neighbours and they were related. I was introduced to him then. I never really paid attention to him as I was not interested. Thereafter his sister-in-law came back and told my mother that someone in Mowbray was looking for a helper and they wanted me to come help. My parents allowed it and I went to work, I was only 16 years old when I took that job,” says Leah.

Her employer had to show her where the shops were and where she should get the newspaper every day. “I was not used to walking alone and late so I was afraid of people around me. And it was an area that I was not used to so it made me really uncomfortable. So the first day I went to fetch the newspaper, I met John at the newspaper stand. He gave me such a fright and I ran home. The next day I went back to fetch the paper and he was there again. Every day I went to fetch the paper, he was there waiting for me.”

John says he got used to her routine and knew that every day she would come for the paper. “I was working in Mowbray at the time so I would wait for her. She didn’t keep the same times but I would just wait for her there until we started talking. I would walk her home and we got used to each other. I knew she was the one for me,” he says.

Leah says from there, the rest is history. They got married when she was 20 and John was 23.

“He was my first love and I’m glad I’m still with him.

“We have shared a lot and we have been through a lot together, but I’m just glad that through the grace of God we have managed to stay together. I think what keeps us together is being able to communicate and still laugh at each other all the time. No matter how much we get angry with each other, we don’t allow the sun to go down with our anger – we talk things through,” she says.

John says: “When I look at her, she is still young and beautiful. Though we like different things, we still make it work. She likes being indoors and I love going out, but we always look back and cherish what we have done together. What really keeps us going is that I haven’t stopped teasing her. I tease her all the time and that keeps us happy.”

Leah says her advice to other women, especially nowadays, is to respect your husband. “Back in the day most women didn’t work. You had to sit at home and wait for him to come back with the money. John came back home with 10 pounds,” she says.

“It was a lot of money back then. We would survive with it. Nowadays, women are working and some even earn more than the husband, and respect is out the window. Women find it easy to walk away these days because they work so they don’t need a man, but our advice will be to stick it out together, make things work and talk about things. Communication is the key to a lasting marriage,” she says.

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