Still having a ball

Bruce and Mary King on their wedding day in 1954. Photo supplied.
Bruce and Mary King on their wedding day in 1954. Photo supplied.
Bruce and Mary King's long-lasting love story began on the dance floor, much like many couples of their era.

The 82-year-olds, celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary in Wanaka today, met as teenagers at a ball in Alexandra and developed a relationship at dances throughout the district.

''We used to travel anywhere for a dance ... that was our life in those days,'' Mr King said.

''A ball on a Friday night and a dance on a Saturday night, all round Central Otago,'' his wife agreed.

Mrs King (nee Hesson) grew up in Alexandra and was working there as a typist at the time, while Mr King - from a Wanaka family - was building houses for workers on the Roxburgh Dam.

Shortly after Mr King moved to Oamaru for work he was joined there by his future wife, who moved from Dunedin.

''She couldn't do without me, so she followed me.''

They married at St Enoch's Church, Alexandra, n April 24, 1954.

Wanaka couple Bruce and Mary King (both 82) met at a ball as teenagers and today celebrate 60 years of marriage. They were married in Alexandra in 1954. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Wanaka couple Bruce and Mary King (both 82) met at a ball as teenagers and today celebrate 60 years of marriage. They were married in Alexandra in 1954. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
After a decade in Oamaru - five years before the wedding and five after - an opportunity arose for Mr King to run a building business in Wanaka, where they have lived ever since.

''[I'm] born and bred here and all our relations are here and that's why we've stuck to it,'' Mr King said.

The pair were heavily involved in the Wanaka community, including Mr King's 21 years in local government - nine as a Lakes County councillor and the rest on Wanaka's community board.

They have three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. While many of their family members live close by, Mrs King keeps in touch with those further afield via Facebook and Skype on her iPad.

Mr King said their successful union was due in part to ''never having time to argue''.

Having a husband who ''does what he's told'' also helped, Mrs King said.

The couple had a celebratory family lunch over the Easter break and planned to spend today's anniversary doing ''just the usual'' at home together.

 

lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz