When Deniliquin’s Ron and Norma Barnett chose to be married on February 14, 1953, Valentine’s Day wasn’t celebrated like it is today.
But this year’s Valentine’s Day was extra special for the couple, who celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with family and close friends on Wednesday night.
‘‘We just chose that day — it was just another day,’’ Norma said of the decision to be married on Valentine’s Day.
‘‘We were married at the Presbyterian Church and had our reception at the Guide Hall. It was about the only place to have a reception then.
‘‘The Guide Hall was an old army hut and was located across from the old power house in those days,’’ Ron added.
Norma (nee King) met Ron when he was sent to Deniliquin from Melbourne to help build the then CSIRO building in Charlotte St, which now houses Murray Irrigation Limited.
They met through mutual friends associated with the swimming club, when it’s weekly carnivals were held on the Edward River.
‘‘I was living at the Globe Hotel — in room 13 which was on the balcony that just recently collapsed — and there was not a lot of activity in the town for someone on their own,’’ Ron said.
‘‘At night I would walk around the town and see what activity was going on.
‘‘A regular thing every week was the swimming carnivals, which were held at the end of Edwardes St. I would go and watch on Tuesday nights.
‘‘They were a great bunch of people (at the carnivals) and after about three months of watching I got to know a few of them.
‘‘One night there was a dance at the North Deniliquin Tennis Club — also an old army hut — and the swimming club group asked me to go along.’’
Norma was also a regular at the swimming carnivals, which she said were ‘‘about the only entertainment in town’’, and also at the dances.
It’s where she and Ron met and after a few months dancing together, a romance flourished.
After an 18 month engagement, Ron and Norma were married when they were 23 and 20 years old respectively.
In the life they have lived since, they have welcomed six children, and now also have 19 grandchildren and 28 great grandchildren.
The couple say there is no real secret to a long and happy marriage like theirs, saying it’s all about communication and working together.
‘‘You just need to listen to each other and take advice,’’ Norma said.
‘‘And don’t argue — it’s about give and take,’’ she continued.
‘‘Or just give in,’’ her husband responded with a laugh.
Celebrating with the Barnetts on Wednesday night were members of their original bridal party, with the exception of Norma’s sister Linda who has since passed.