OUR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
Jean and I were married 55 years ago today in Sandyford-Henderson Memorial Church in Glasgow.
It was when I started working at the church community centre in Glasgow that I met Jean. She was a member of that church, was leader of the Brownies and a frequent visitor to the centre.
Our friendship gradually developed and in the summer of 1953 we went on holiday together to Portsoy. Although we were guests in the local hotel, we were boarded out in a house a short distance away, Jean having a room upstairs while I was downstairs.
There was a piano in the hotel, and we always remember that one lady there, in her Aberdeenshire accent, would ask me to give them a “tunie.”
We became engaged in August of that year.
Jean and her father
1954 was the year in which -
Roger Bannister ran the 4 minute mile
The Vietnam War began
There was a hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific
Senator Joseph McCarthy began his anti-Communist hearings in America
The Nobel Prize for Literature went to Ernest Hemingway
Films popular that year included -
The Belles of St. Trinian’s
The Dam Busters
Doctor in the House
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
On radio there was Hancock’s Half-Hour, the Goon Show and the Billy Cotton Band Show.
On TV there was the first soap be screened in the UK the Grove Family, and 1954 was the year which saw the controversial play 1984.
At the back - my father, Jean's father and my cousin John.
With Mary the Matron of Honour is the flower girl Jane a niece of Jean's.
On the left is Jean's mother and on the right my mother.
Our wedding, which used the Church of Scotland form of marriage, was conducted by my uncle Rev George Hardie who was a Baptist. At that time he was the Secretary of the Baptist Union in Scotland.
The matron of honour was Jean’s friend Mary, the best man was my cousin John, Rita my sister played the organ and Jean’s brother-in-law Angus was church officer.
The reception was held in a nearby hall, and, after the meal and the usual speeches, there was some dancing. Of course my side of the family were rather staid compared with Jean’s relatives. At the end of the evening they all went to her parents’ house, where they partied till the small hours.
Back row from the left - Angus and his wife Jean's sister Sally, Jean's brother Bill, Robert's daughter Rene, Jean's brother George and his wife Marion, and Jean's brother Robert.
On either side of Jean and myself, her parents and George's son George.
In front - Robert's children Ann and John, Margaret daughter of Angus and Sally, George son of Robert, and Peter and Jane children of Angus and Sally.
When Jean and I left the hall, we went to Central Station where we joined the overnight sleeper to London Euston. From Paddington Station we took the train to Newton Abbot, north Devon, and there we spent the first part of our honeymoon.
Among other places, we visited Torquay, Paignton, Buckfast Abbey and had a sail on the River Dart.
One of the things we always remember is the bar of a hotel where 3 or 4 older men befriended us and entertained us with their songs. This was long before Karaoki!
And another thing that sticks in my mind is the fact that I suffered quite badly from hay fever for the whole fortnight!!!
When our time there was over, we returned to London for a week of sight-seeing. We stayed with the parents of Leonard Lewis, my friend from RAF Brize Norton. Some years earlier my own parents had acted as hosts to Mr and Mrs Lewis when they visited Scotland.
With my parents, my sister Rita and her fiance Richmond. They were married later that summer.
I usually finish this blog with music, and today there's really only one piece that's suitable. In our courting days, this was OUR SONG -