Arthur Montgomery’s “good manners” won him Rose Hein’s heart after 18 months of courtship back in 1952. “I had to be polite, you know, otherwise I wouldn’t have had the date I so desperately needed,” Arthur quipped last week in an interview.
And, after 60 years of marriage, the Greenacres pair of keen bowlers who met on a blind date still beam with love for one another.
“It has really been a wonderful 60 years. We do everything together,” Rose said, with Arthur adding: “Rose is very understanding”.
They got married on April 24 1954 at St Cuthbert’s Anglican Church.
“Our wedding reception was held at the Algoa House Hotel which was on Western Road, where close family and friends came out to celebrate with us,” shared the couple.
Although the couple are both from Port Elizabeth, in those days Arthur worked as a plumbing contractor in Graaff-Reinet, while Rose was the Port Elizabeth municipal typist.
Arthur, who was 26, then came home for an annual ball, to which he would go with a date arranged by his brother.
“When I got home, my brother had bad news, my date had fallen ill and was unable to attend the ball. He told me not to worry though, as his wife had organised me a substitute, who worked in the same department as the initial date,” said Arthur.
Adamant to find a date, a nervous Arthur finally plucked up the courage and went to the Hein family home in Newton Park on the evening of the ball.
“I looked at him and he was so well mannered when he spoke to my parents. It was love at first sight,” said Rose. “He opened the door for me and we had a wonderful night.” The next day Arthur asked her on a second date.
Rose, 82, said: “We went to Saldanha Bay and after that date I made up my mind, he was the one for me.”
While Arthur, who is now 87 said Rose’s surprise visit to Graaff-Reinet had sealed the deal for him: “She called me to tell me she was at the station.”
They said love, togetherness and always being there for one another is the glue that has stuck them together for all these years.
“We are a close-knit family.” The couple’s family organised a luncheon to celebrate their anniversary last week and have also planned a family reunion in Knysna this year.
“We have three children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. They have truly been the best thing that has happened to us.”
At least twice weekly, the couple make time to go bowling, at the Port Elizabeth Bowling Club in St George’s Park, where they are long-serving members. Rose was made an honorary life member in 2012 for all her hard work and still assists in the kitchen, preparing food for tournaments. Arthur is still a very competitive and accurate bowler.