The first time Frank Morris set eyes on Ailsa Hilliam, it was at a dance at Eden Roskill RSA, in the summer of 1955.
A young and handsome Frank purposefully walked towards the girl who had caught his fancy to ask her for a dance. But at the last minute he changed his mind and asked the girl sitting beside her instead.
Laughing, Ailsa recalls: “He wasn’t sure if I was a good dancer so he asked my friend.”
However Frank couldn’t resist asking Ailsa for the next dance. The rest is history as the couple got married two years later on November 30, 1957. They read out a telegram that they received from one of their friends that read: ‘Been raining hope you have a little son later, best of luck’.
Aisla clearly remembers her wedding dress had the best satin you could buy with a silk organza overlay and a guipure lace neckline. Their wedding was featured in the New Zealand Herald newspaper.
They will be celebrating their Diamond Wedding Jubilee on November 25 at the Summerset by the Park Retirement Village, which they moved into six years ago.
Walking down memory lane as she leafs through the beautifully preserved black and white wedding picture album, Ailsa says how she had to leave her job at Ceylon Tea once she got married at the age of 21.
“In those days women were not allowed to work once we got married….though I think the rule changed, six months after our wedding,” she says.
The reason behind it, says Frank pointing to his stomach “is because women would soon have a big tummy.”
“Also women took too long to do shopping during their lunch break at work,” he laughs.
Parents to three daughters (Wendy, Kristine and Raewyn) and son (Stephen); grandparents to 18 grandchildren and six great grand children, Frank says he has been a planner all his life and has been working hard at organising their 60th wedding anniversary, to which he’s invited 60 people.
Having worked in fields that required planning and production, he takes pride in getting his three daughters getting married, in a span of 11 months in the same year. “That’s what they wanted, and none of them wanted a joint wedding.”
Apart from being a keen dancer, Frank spent a lot of his time on the field, playing soccer and cricket while his wife was immersed in a world brush-stroked with colour and creativity.
Ailsa is a talented landscape artist who exhibits her works of art all over New Zealand. Her painting adorns the wall of the retirement village as well.
Ask her about Frank, the man she has spent her entire married life with and she smiles saying: “He’s a cool man, pretty cool, most of the time.”
As for 82-year-old Frank, he simply looks into his wife’s eyes and says, “I love you.”