Love still sparkles after all these years

By Ilona Hanne


Bill and Joy Reader are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this week.

Bill describes Joy as being the best trophy I ever won, which are words of praise considering their house is full of the dog trial trophies won by Bill through the years.

In fact, their courtship started, says Joy, thanks to dog trials. The trials were held on Joy's family farm at Te Popo and Bill was there for those. I saw her walking home and offered her a ride in my 1926 Model A Ford but she said 'no, thank you', Bill says.

He says he drove home thinking about her, and the next night tried again, with more success. My parents were strict and in those days you didn't just get into a car with anyone, Joy explains. So I had spoken to them the night before and they said it was okay to say yes if I wanted.

They were just about 19 years old then, and after that ride home they started courting. We went to dances most weekends. We both loved our dancing and back then you could go to a dance every Saturday night.

The Ngaere-based couple got married at 11am at Stratford Methodist church on October 25, 1952. Joy wore a dress made by Mrs Darrah in Stratford, who also made one of the bridesmaids' dresses. The dresses were a soft lemon colour and the girls carried red bouquets. We had many a comment on them, says Joy.

Their honeymoon was just two days long. We got to Levin and back again, laughs Joy, with Bill adding that it was a short honeymoon because there was a big mustering job on the Hawera farm I was working on and I wanted to be back for that.

The Hawera farm came with a cottage that the young married couple moved into. I can't remember if it had power then, says Joy, although she does remember cooking on its wooden coal range. They lived on Bill's wage of nine pounds and ten a week.

Asked the secret of a long and happy marriage, Joy and Bill agree that it is give and take and doing things together.

Them were the days, Joy says, looking at a picture of them from their early marriage. Best thing I ever did was marry Joy, Bill adds. I'm a very lucky man.

- Stratford Press

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