Centrestage duo celebrate 14 years of marriage after on-and-off courtship that lasted a decade.
Port Elizabeth’s Mr Entertainment Gary Hemmings celebrated 14 years of marriage last week with Tanya, nee Warr. Here is his story behind their years together: “Tanya mesmerised me from the first moment I laid eyes on her at a computer class at UPE in 1986. She was my Grace Kelly, I her Moe, Larry and Curly rolled into one.
“I played the unenviable role of her secretly infatuated ‘best friend’ as varsity turned into a Midsummer Night’s Dream for me at her behest.
“One fateful evening at the end of our first year, I took Titania for a moonlit walk along Sardinia Bay Beach and Bottom confessed his love and stole his first kiss.
“Tanya, who clearly wasn’t ready for commitment of this magnitude, ran for the hills and immediately incarcerated me into friend-zone Alcatraz.
“Everything else always seemed second best after that, Tanya became a chartered accountant and I majored in drinking and entertainment.
“Six years later I pulled a Shawshank Redemption escape and we finally started to date officially.
“Tanya left the CA world she hated so to play a critical role as partner in the creation of Centrestage at the PE Club in 1996, selflessly burying herself in the back office to support my showbiz endeavours.
“Betwixt life’s realities, I was given the dreaded ‘need space to find myself’ speech. A two week ‘dream’ holiday on a houseboat on Lake Kariba with my later-to-be best man Sean Martin did little to ease my woeful mind – I had never felt so miserable!
“It was then that Sean gave me the sagest advice: ‘If you really love this woman, there is nothing left to do but to LAY SEIGE to her. Take every measure humanly possible to leave her with no alternative but to have you back.’
“Driving back from Zimbabwe, upon reaching Cradock, I got the terrible jawdropping news that a ‘suitor’ had asked Tanya to supper on the very night that I was to arrive back home. This Lancelot completed the 250km journey back to PE in just under an hour!
“I then set about laying siege to my Guinevere with a resolute, Alamostyled abandonment of logic! I went down on my knee at our favourite restaurant at the time, Café Brazilia.
“We wrote our own vows, were married by the running Reverend Derbyshire at Apron Strings on 20 January 2001 and have spawned two extraordinary children, 12-year-old wannabe magician Aiden and his 11-year-old devoted vegetarian sister, Genevieve.
“After spending so many years supporting my dream, Tanya is now chasing her own. She has gone back to university to complete a degree in the direction that she should have taken all those years ago.
“With a cum laude psychology degree to add to her B Com CA, Tanya is hoping to complete her masters one day.
“For our 14th anniversary, we enjoyed an absolutely terrific meal at Sticky Fingers on the Richmond Hill Stanley Street strip, accompanied by a bottle of our favourite wine – the fivestar Thelema Rabelais.”
– The Herald Reporter