DECEMBER 14 is always a special day for Gail Pedersen and her mother, Rennie Sala, as they share a wedding date.
57 YEARS AGO: A young and Rennie Sala in love James on their wedding and Church in Observatory day at the Methodist in Cape Town
Gail and Stephen Pedersen married on the 28th anniversary of Gail’s parents James and Rennie Sala (nee Niemann) and this year, while they celebrate their 29th anniversary, her parents will have their 57th.
While Lorraine couple James and Rennie had a small intimate wedding at the Methodist Church in Observatory, Cape Town, Gail’s wedding to Steve hosted about 250 people when they tied the knot.
The Pedersens, who live in Broadwood, married at Fountain Vineyard Christian Fellowship – formerly known as Fountain of Life Community Church, Walmer Heights, on December 14 1985.
“My father, on his own anniversary day and his daughter’s wedding day, took most of the photographs – what a stress! But he had done amateur photography as a younger man, and we also needed to save money,” Gail said.
“There were a large number of guests, as we tried to include folk from so many areas of our lives – past and present. The reception was held in the hall of the Walmer Methodist Church – and we served Chinese food and fruit salad and ice cream.
“Steve’s first teaching post was at the Morningside High School, the former Chinese School – and we loved the idea of having Chinese food at the reception.”
She said the date was perfect for teachers, because they’d be finished doing reports for the year, and would “finally be on holiday”.
Clarendon Primary School head of department Steve and church financial administrator Gail met when he was in his first year of teaching.
“He was boarding with friends who attended the same church as I did.
“We were introduced at a church picnic. I was very impressed by his gentlemanly manner, though I did not want to date anyone – I was waiting for the ‘right’ man – and it was him,” Gail said.
Steve said he liked the “no-nonsense girl who dressed well and had a twinkle of fun in her eye”.
Gail continued: “We got on very well right from the start, had a similar sense of humour, and found ourselves having fun and spending more and more time together. Respect and good communication are essential.
“Both of us had committed our lives to following Jesus Christ before we met, and this was and is the cornerstone of our marriage and family life.”
James and Rennie met in Cape Town when he was dating one of Rennie’s friends who lived with her in a hostel.
Rennie then met James’s mom at Cuthbert’s Shoes, where she worked at the time, and took a liking to her.
“She then invited Rennie to my 21st birthday,” the retired Telkom draughtsman said.
James’s proposal went something like: “If I sell my bike, we’ll have enough money to get married.” Rennie, who was a home-maker, “loved nothing better than to be with her family” as her own childhood family was torn apart by the early death of her parents.
They said always doing things together was one of the contributing factors to making their marriage work.
“Also, I always respected Jim – and he was a hard worker who provided for the family,” Rennie said.
James and Rennie also have a son named Gerald, and five grandchildren.