THERE are more “downs than ups” in marriage jokes Charlie Conway reflecting on his 70 years of marriage.
100-year-old Charlie and his 95-year-old wife, Teresa, celebrated their Platinum wedding anniversary with family and friends at Brooklands Care Home, Magherafelt, last Saturday.
The sweethearts met back in 1940 when Charlie was 28 and Teresa was 25 and were married two years later – on June 9 1942 – in St Patrick’s Church at The Loup.
Charlie and Teresa (nee O’Neill) had met by chance and spent the two years getting to know each before committing to marriage.
“The first day I saw her I thought she was well looking,” said Charlie, a native of Ballymoyle, Coagh.
Teresa recalled that they had a small wedding as was the custom during the war years when “things were scarce”.
They had their wedding breakfast at Teresa’s aunt Charlotte’s house where Teresa lived and worked prior to getting married.
During their four-day honeymoon at Portrush, Charlie remembers the ‘Big Dipper’ at Barry’s Amusements getting stuck.
The couple remember the ‘Big Dipper’ stopping when they were at the top and having to wait until the operator got it going again. “Once she gets down I’ll never be up on it again,” Teresa recalled saying at the time.
The happily married couple returned and lived at Ballymulderg on the outskirts of Magherafelt where they farmed for years and also at Ballyneal and later took up selling insurance to “make an extra shilling.”
Charlie and Teresa went on to have a family of six – five girls and one boy – and have 18 grand children and 24 great grandchildren.
The Conway family had a big celebration to mark Charlie’s 100th birthday on October 8 last year but the couple requested a low key party to mark their Platinum anniversary.
Amongst the well wishers who sent cards congratulating them on reaching such a unique milestone were Queen Elizabeth and the Irish President.
Both Charlie and Teresa have enjoyed good health and attribute much of their happiness to having a good family “that gave us no bother.”
The couple, who moved to live in Magherafelt 40 years ago after building a bungalow at Highfield Road, like reading newspapers.
Charlie who has vivid memories of the Second World War and how tough life was around Magherafelt in the 1940s - never misses the news on television or watching the horse racing.