Gordon and Joan Homer, of Alexandra, who celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary today. Photo by Sarah Marquet.
They may not hear too well these days but Joan (90) and
Gordon (91) Homer, of Alexandra are still finishing off each
In fact, asking them about their lives sends them off on
tangents as they rediscover old memories, each taking turns
to complete what the other is saying.
Engrossed in their memories, they often chuckle at each other
as one says: ''No, it didn't happen like that''. They will
spend today celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary.
''You [had] better take me out for dinner then,'' she tells
him with a huge smile.
Their relationship started with a wave, back when they were
both living in Dunedin. At the time, he was working at the
Hillside Railway Workshops and she was making ladies garments
''and all sorts of things'' at Ross and Glendinings.
''I was biking out from town to Hillside and Joan was biking
in to town and one day I went like that,'' Mr Homer said,
demonstrating his wave.
He said there were ''quite a lot of dances in those days
too'' and listed a few before Joan (nee McDowell) spoke.
''Gordon, you're making me feel tired talking about what we
''Well you were 20 then, my dear,'' he replied.
Though Mr Homer denies it, Mrs Homer said there was
competition for his affection.
''He took two girls to the pictures and then he chose me ...
just as well he chose me.''
Soon after, they were married in a ceremony at the St Clair
''I went home and told my mother that we were going to get
married and she says: `Do you have to','' he said as they
both started laughing.
It was only a small ceremony and there was no honeymoon - he
was on final leave before the army sent him to serve in Tonga
and Fiji during World War 2.
''And I was so sad that he was going away, wasn't I Gordon?''
''Yes, but we used to write to each other every day ... I
won't tell you what was in the letters,'' he said with a
After the war, the couple started their own business in
Dunedin - Homer Knitwear - and supplied outlets such as
Arthur Barnett and Wolfenden and Russell for about 24 years.
They then moved to Palmerston North, Riversdale and
Invercargill to work in various churches before settling in
Alexandra, ''for the good weather'', they agreed.
''We used to come to Clyde for holidays ... we just had a wee
car with everything bar the kitchen sink packed into it,'' he
These days the couple lead a much quieter life.
''I just sit in my chair. I can't walk very well, I don't go
out much these days but I am quite content to sit in my nice
chair,'' she said.
Mr Homer is more mobile and gets out to play bowls.
He also cooks all the meals.
The couple have daily help from social services, for which
they are very grateful.
''They're just marvellous,'' she said.
They agree love and tolerance are the secrets to a long and
''We've never really had a cross word,'' she said.
''We all have differences of opinion but we've not had
rows,'' he said.
They also credit the Church and ''living by Christian
While they admit 70 years of marriage is an achievement, they
agreed ''it's not that long''.
''Life on Earth is just a fleeting moment. When you think
about eternal life, that's a long time.''
The couple celebrated their anniversary with family two weeks