NOT many people can say they have been married for seven decades, but Esme le Grange and Lambertus du Preez have reached that milestone and are now looking forward to spending a simple evening at the Spur for their 70th wedding anniversary later this month.
Like most love stories told over the years, the Jeffreys Bay couple’s romance started with a chance encounter that ended up being one of the “best” things that happened to them.
“I was with my friend in church when I met him. He was standing in front of me without a song book.
“I left my friend’s side so I could share my book with him and from that moment since, we’ve never been apart,” Esme gleamed as she shared their special love stor y.
Esme, 89, and Lambertus, 90, both went to Pearson High School but did not know each other at the time.
“I was a grade higher than her so we didn’t really have the same circle of friends,” Lambertus said.
Esme, who lived on South Union Street in South End, said she knew from their initial encounter that she and Lambertus were meant to be together and by the time they were ready to get married, there was no doubt in her mind that she was doing the right thing.
Lambertus, who lived in Sidwell, in Du Preez Road, said the street had been named after his father, which was one of his family’s proudest moments.
“My father was involved a lot with the history of Sidwell in terms of developing it,” Lambertus said last week.
The couple dated for two years before talking about marriage.
“I did it the old-fashioned way and approached her parents, and asked their permission before even discussing it with her,” he said.
It was Esme who brought up the topic and Lambertus simply agreed: “I was scared of actually proposing to her, more so than speaking to her parents, which is ironic,” he said.
The couple married on July 21 1945 at the Dutch Reformed Church in South End.
They have two children, Johan, 60, and Maria, 65. They also have five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
“We waited a few years after getting married to have kids and when they were born, we decided not to have more because we wanted to be able to afford to send them to university so they could study further and have degrees, unlike the two of us,” they said.
Esme said her favourite moments she had shared with her husband were those quiet times spent at home doing nothing.
“I would find him just staring at me and I’d ask what the problem was.
“He would simply respond by telling me he loved me and, man I tell you, that look in his eyes would bring tears to my eyes,” Esme said with a big smile, while looking at her husband of 70 years.
Even though they have been together for so long, love has not always been easy.
“We both love the Lord and love is not easy but without Him, it wouldn’t have been possible. No matter what I do, he always says thank you and treats me like I’m special,” she said.
“In everything you do in life, you get what you put out.”
Esme and Lambertus are looking forward to spending their anniversary with their daughter, son-in-law and friends at the Spur.