Summerstrand couple still solid as a rock despite 70 years of ups, downs

 Douglas and Norma Green
Douglas and Norma Green

NORMA and Douglas Green toasted 70 years of marriage together over tea and a special wedding anniversary cake on June 5 at their Dunant Park home in Summerstrand.

And the Greens would have had more guests at their wedding anniversary if it had not been Douglas’s 90th birthday last month – the couple celebrated that special day with their family and friends at The Black Horse Inn in Johannesburg.

“We decided it would be cheaper for us to fly to them than for all the children to come to us,” said Norma, as three of their four children are in or near Johannesburg. Only their daughter Beverly Green is in Port Elizabeth, and is also staying at Dunant Park.

“After 50 years of marriage you can call it gold but after 70 years it’s platinum. We are platinum sweetheart,” Norma said jokingly to Doug, who replied: ” Yes we are platinum!”

The two have lived long enough to see the good and the bad of life, including a rocky start as a young married couple in the Second World War. Although retired, the couple are active and each drives a scooter. Doug was a railways fireman and later moved to the telecommunications field, and even after retirement used to drive the bus at Dunant Park. Norma also paints in her spare time.

“Death doesn’t frighten us. We are ready to go,” said Doug, and Norma nodded in agreement adding that it would be “nice” if they passed on together.

Marriage is known for its trials and tribulations but Norma and Doug have kept it together 70 years later, and their three attempts to be wed are but a distant memory as the two look into each other’s eyes and finish off each other’s sentences.

“Let me tell you a secret; at the time we were young and in love and we just wanted to be together. When we were married for 10 years I had three children within that 10 years,” said Norma.

Both husband and wife share a deep faith and are members of Victoria Park Baptist Church, which had its 100th anniversary this year: “we both have a personal relationship with God and it strengthened our marriage and I love him more than I did then,” said Norma.

“It’s the power of God’s love,” Doug said in agreement with Norma – and the couple even took what was left of their anniversary cake to share with the congregation on the Sunday after their party.

Norma and Doug’s four children, Glenn, Beverly, Oliver and Russell, have also had children, so they now have 14 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

“We’re lucky to be able to see them and our children’s success,” said Doug.

As I was walked out, Doug opened the door like a true gentleman letting Norma and myself walk out first. – Sinesipho Mbandazayo

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