It all started with a cup of tea for a Seawinds couple who celebrated 65 years of marriage on Wednesday April 19, and their love for each other grows sweeter each day.
John, 87, met Leah Bartlett, 87, in her hometown, Franschhoek, about 67 years ago when visiting a neighbouring farm. He happened to pass by Leah’s home where he met her family and she made him some tea.
The two went their separate ways, and about three months after their first encounter Leah, who was 16 at the time, moved to Cape Town for work and tried hard to adjust to life in the city, which her brother had warned was a very dangerous place
On a Saturday morning, Leah went out to buy a Cape Argus and walked into John, who lived in Mowbray. When he said, “Hello, Leanie,” she screamed and ran thinking she was in danger.
“I got such a big fright, cried and ran back to my workplace as fast as I could with every intention to go back to Franschhoek because I was so traumatised,” she said, chuckling.
Only hours later did it dawn on her that she had seen the young man at her house three months prior. She then went to the same newspaper stand the following Saturday looking for him and John was there waiting for her with a newspaper under his arm.
They then became friends, courted for a few years and over 60 years later the couple had seven children, seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Nowadays, the Bartletts spend most of their time at home and reminisce about the old days while watching soapies.
Although Leah is not able to serve her husband tea anymore because of arthritis, John happily brings her whatever she needs.
The two credit their long-lasting marriage to understanding, love, a strong family bond and God.
“There will always be problems in marriages, but the most important thing you can do is to work through them and you trust in the Lord to carry you through the marriage. There will be many obstacles, but if you love someone, it’s about showing love every day, and you need to work through things and to overcome those obstacles ,” she said.
Her advice to younger couples is to “druk deur” and try to stand together even when times get tough.
John said he always wanted to set a good example for his children and having a healthy relationship was part of showing what love was really about.
“We started our relationship with communication, trust and understanding, and from that the love came and grew. We communicated, stuck together and never went to sleep angry at each other,” he said.