Five 40th anniversaries add up to class act

LIFE BEGINS AT 40: Couples, from left, George and Barbara Symons, Lieb and Mariette Schreuder, Rod and Margo McCleland and Gavin and Megan Longe celebrated their 40th anniversaries together at the Coachman Restaurant in Humewood last Saturday night. Picture: IVOR MARKMAN
LIFE BEGINS AT 40: Couples, from left, George and Barbara Symons, Lieb and Mariette Schreuder, Rod and Margo McCleland and Gavin and Megan Longe celebrated their 40th anniversaries together at the Coachman Restaurant in Humewood last Saturday night. Picture: IVOR MARKMAN

La Femme’s Razaan Hackenberg interviewed five couples who celebrated their ruby wedding anniversary this past weekend

A GROUP of five couples who all either still work, or have worked, at Port Elizabeth’s Grey High School celebrated their 40th wedding anniversaries this past weekend.

The five are George and Barbara Symons, Peter and Dee Hollely, Rod and Margo McCleland, Lieb and Mariette Schreuder and Megan and Gavin Longe and four of the five managed to meet up to toast their 40th wedding anniversary at the Coachman Restaurant on the Port Elizabeth beachfront last Saturday evening.

Barbara Symons said the friends started meeting regularly from 2000 when they realised they all married in the same year – 1975 – and hence were reaching their 25th – or silver wedding – anniversary. Barbara said there were originally six couples who celebrated together.

Sadly, Gill Jones, who taught English at Grey and marked the day with the group and her husband, Vaughn, 10 years ago, was widowed last year.

The six weddings all took place in the second half of 1975, with the first being on July 5, then July 26, September 27, December 6 – and two of the couples even were married on the same day, December 13. Barbara said to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, all six couples renewed their wedding vows on September 10 2005 at St George’s Anglican Church in Knysna.

Not only do they all share a connection to the boys school, with eight of them teachers by profession and four of them teachers at Grey High, but five of the couples’ sons all attended the school. The McClelands had two daughters.

THEN: Dee Macrae married Peter Hollely on September 27 1975at Rosebank Methodist Church in Cape Town
THEN: Dee Macrae married Peter Hollely on September 27 1975at Rosebank Methodist Church in Cape Town

PETER AND DEE HOLLELY

Patience, spontaneity secret of 40- year marriage

KNYSNA couple Dee and Peter Hollely believe patience and spontaneity are the keys to their marriage as they celebrated their 40th anniversary in September.

Dee, then Macrae, said her sister introduced her to Peter in 1970 and they became friends. When he asked her to marry him it took her five years to say “yes”.

“I still wanted to be independent and I wanted to make sure I was certain,” Dee said.

Retired head of department and biology teacher at Grey High School Dee said marriage was a commitment and she wanted to be committed forever.

Peter, who was headmaster at Victoria Park High School in Walmer before retiring, said he was willing to wait for Dee because he wanted her to be prepared for marriage.

“It took a while but she came to her senses!” Peter said.

The couple married on September 27 1975 at Rosebank Methodist Church in Cape Town and Dee remembers it as being “absolutely perfect”.

The couple have two children, Andrew and Sheonagh, and one grandchild.

Dee said she loved that her husband was unpredictable.

“He keeps me on my toes, which keeps me young.”

She said the secret to their marriage was patience, while Peter said he loved his wife for her strength and commitment to their marriage.

STILL GOING STRONG: Mariette Fourie married Lieb Schreuder on December 6 1975 at the Dutch Reformed Church in Graaff-Reinet
STILL GOING STRONG: Mariette Fourie married Lieb Schreuder on December 6 1975 at the Dutch Reformed Church in Graaff-Reinet

LIEB AND MARIETTE SCHREUDER

‘Our  40 years of wedded bliss’

JEFFREYS Bay couple Mariette and Lieb Schreuder always try to give each other space as they celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary next month.

Lieb, who before going into retirement was a teacher at Andrew Rabie High School, said he met Mariette (nee Fourie) Fourie in 1972 at a house party.

He asked her for a dance and when he realised how well she danced, saw she danced well they started chatting. speaking.
“I took her out on a date and from there on everything went well,” Lieb said.

The couple married on December 6 1975 at the Dutch Reformed Church in Graaff-Reinet.
Mariette, who was an Afrikaans teacher at Grey High School, said their wedding day though a long ceremony as they only took their vows at 6pm, was a “super” occasion. because they only took their vows at 6pm were married at 6pm. but that it was also ‘’super’’.

“It was a hot, beautiful day and we had all our family and friends with us,” Mariette said.
She added that they had invited about 300 guests to their wedding.

Because they stayed in a small town and had to invite everyone.  The couple have two daughters, Moya and Tilette and They also have two grandchildren. Mariette said she loved the fact that her husband always made his family feel secure.

“He is reliable and has a strong character,” Mariette said.  Lieb said he loved Mariette’s cooking, her personality and that she looked well after him. He added that they were very different from one another.

“I am more of a sporty person and Mariette is more of a culture person but we balance each other out,” Lieb said.
Lieb said that the key to their long marriage was giving each other space.

THEN: Megan Barnes and Gavin Longe maaried on July 5 1975 at Trinity Baptist Church in Cape Road
THEN: Megan Barnes and Gavin Longe maaried on July 5 1975 at Trinity Baptist Church in Cape Road

GAVIN AND MEGAN LONGE

Friendship kept their marriage strong

PORT Elizabeth couple Megan and Gavin Longe have focused on being the best of friends as they celebrated 40 years of marriage in July. Megan, nee Barnes, met Gavin in 1971 at their mutual friend’s birthday party.

Self-employed creative embroidery teacher Megan, 62, said she was reluctant to go to the party because she did not have a boyfriend and she was shy. However, she noticed Gavin at the party and liked what she saw.

“After Gavin’s date left early, he asked me to dance with him and I was smitten,” Megan said. She said the following week at school their mutual friend asked if she was interested in Gavin and their friend reported back to him.

We attended a dance together the next weekend and that was the beginning of a long and blessed friendship and marriage,” Megan said. “The shy teenager was head over heels in love and still is.”

The couple who stay on the Grey High School’s premises married on July 5 1975 at Trinity Baptist Church in Cape Road.

Gavin, 61, who is a school bursar at Grey High School said he remembered he was very nervous on their wedding day. “We were only 21 years old at the time but we had a lot of fun,” Gavin said.

The couple have two children, Paul, 35 and Lauren, 33. Megan said she loved that her husband was kind, caring and loving.
“He is my best friend and he is always available to listen,” Megan said. “When I speak to him about a problem or challenge, he gives thoughtful and sensible advice.”

Gavin said he loved his wife’s generous nature and her cooking. He said they focused on being the best of friends and not making a big deal out of minor issues.

“Not all battles need to be won, accept that you are each entitled to your own point of view,” Gavin said.
Megan said they had weathered the highs and lows that life had presented.

“Our love and respect for each other has grown over the years as, united in our love for God”. , Megan said.

THEN:Margo Jannasch married RodMcCleland on December 13 1975 at Newton Park Methodist Church
THEN:Margo Jannasch married RodMcCleland on December 13 1975 at Newton Park Methodist Church

ROD AND MARGO MCCLELAND

Union built on ‘give and take’

SUMMERSTRAND couple Margo and Rod McCleland have learnt that compromise is important in a marriage as they look forward to celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary next month.

Margo (nee Jannasch), 62, who is a teacher at Newton Park Pre-Primary School, said she and Rod were at school together but only started going out once he returned from army training in 1971.

Rod, 63, who teaches geography at Grey High School, said he bumped into Margo at a local café one day and offered her a lift home, which she fortunately accepted.

He said Margo invited him for tea at her parents’ home. “After a couple of tea visits we decided to go steady and the rest is history,” Rod said.

The pair married on December 13 1975 at Newton Park Methodist Church with the reception at Chelsea Tea Gardens.
“Our wedding was the best day of my life,” Rod said.

The couple have two children, Braddon correct spelling and Carryn. They also have two grandchildren. Margo said her husband was kind, loving and caring and loved that about him.

“It has been a wonderful 40 years with a loving family,” Margo said. Rod said he loved that his wife was unassuming, sensitive, kind, dependable and intelligent.  “She has a lovely sense of humour and she is my best friend,” Rod said.

Rod said the decision to marry Margo 40 years ago was a good one: “She has been a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother,” adding that the secret to their marriage was learning to compromise.

“There is a lot of give and take in marriage,” he said.

THEN: Barbara Robertson married George Symons on December 13 1975at Lomagundi Presbyterian Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe
THEN: Barbara Robertson married George Symons on December 13 1975at Lomagundi Presbyterian Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe

GEORGE AND BARBARA SYMONS

Years fly past on wings of humour

GREENACRES Village couple Barbara and George Symons are able to balance their different personalities as they look forward to celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary next month.

Barbara, nee Robertson, said she met George in 1973 when they were both working at Sinoia High School in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. Later that year George – today the deputy headmaster at Grey High School – asked her out on a date.

“He took me out to, of all things, a cowboy dance!” Barbara, 66, said. She taught history at Collegiate Girls High School until retiring in 2014.

The couple dated went out together for two years and married on December 13 1975 at Lomagundi Presbyterian Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe.  The pair have three children; Miranda, Ian and Justine. They have four grandchildren.
Maths teacher George, 64, said he loved his wife for her steadfastness and unwavering commitment to God and her family.
“She is unconditional love personified,” George said, while Barbara said she loved her husband’s wisdom, his sense of humour and his unflappable nature.
“When I have any problem or issue, he listens and gives sound advice,” Barbara said.  She said added that George was able to stay objective and calm while she tended to be more emotional.  George said the secret to their marriage was laughter.
“One has to be able to laugh,” George said and although their personalities were quite different they were able to balance it out.
“We are actually rather different but it seems we complement each other and make a good team,” George said.

Barbara said at first when she just got married their one- year anniversary felt like a lifetime away and that she could never imagine 40 years of marriage.

“Now I look back and wonder where the years have gone.”
She added that it had been a fun journey, divided into chapters and new adventures. all the time.

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