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Edition 311 – Pearl Anniversary

On the 24th of December, 1990, two lives changed forever. I’d been invited to Christmas Eve drinks at the home of a university friend and his wife. As the sun set on that pleasant evening, I found myself sitting next to a holidaying young English lady and we chatted the night away. That was the first time I laid eyes on Trish.

A week later, after we’d each respectively holidayed away over the Christmas/New Year break, I stumped up the courage to give her a call at her sister’s home. I remember how nervous I was that day – it was a phone number I’d never rung before and I knew I’d be talking to at least one gatekeeper before I had the chance to re-acquaint myself with Trish. 31 years later, the nervous call was more than worth it.

Throughout 1991, we corresponded the old fashion way – hand written letters sent by Air Mail and overseas phone calls at $2.00 per minute. In the days pre-email, mobile phone and social media, that was the speed at which communications of the heart took place.

When an unexpected gift arrived for my birthday in March via Hong Kong, I was a little flummoxed. I knew no one in Hong Kong. It just so happened that Midland Bank’s internal mail to the Antipodes was sent via the former British colony. When I unwrapped the parcel, I was delighted with the surprise….and also felt that, just maybe, the relationship we were building was a lot more serious than we each first thought.

A rendezvous in Los Angeles in June 1991, halfway between London & Sydney, allowed us to spend two weeks getting to know each other. We learned a lot about ourselves over a short period of time. We may have been on holidays however, realistically, we were entertaining a trial run of life together.

Upon my return to Sydney in the cool of winter and Trish’s return to London in the glowing warmth of summer, we decided the way we could expedite proceedings and spend more time with each other was to get married. Trish emigrating to Australia on her own was just about out of the question and I’d never contemplated the move to the UK. When you know it’s right, you know.

In what may seem bizarre, we had to prove to the authorities that I wasn’t sourcing a “mail order bride”. Our communications with each other were laid bare for all to see, to prove that what we had together was our love and our dream for a life shared. Magistrates in the UK, Justices of the Peace in Australia and the Department of Immigration all took a peek into what we said to, and how we felt about each other.

Trish arrived back in Australia in late November 1991, with the requirement on her visa that we were to be married within three months of her arrival. We beat the deadline by 12 days.

30 years later, a courtship of less than 14 months, across two hemispheres has well and truly stood the test of time. We’re blessed to have each believed in our love together back then that meant quick decisions had to be made about committing to our lives together. There was no time for thinking it over. We simply had to do what had to be done to keep the process moving forward. A lot could have gone wrong.  Very little did.

Today, it’s 30 years to the day since we exchanged our vows at Roslyn Gardens at Peakhurst in Sydney’s south. We’ve written our love story together and through those years, welcomed first Callum, then three years later, Fraser into our lives as we created our own family. We’ve shared joy and pain; new life and loss; opportunity and challenges. I’d change none of it.

To my love, thank you for our life together. We’ll both be a bit wobbly on our legs in another 30 years. Nonetheless, I look forward to continuing to write our love and life stories together as we venture into the future with as much anticipation and shared belief as we did back in ‘92.

This Week’s Tip

“Believe in a shared dream and let your lives together unfold.”