Orakei school reunion sparks romance
Bryan and Robynne Jackson both knew as soon as they saw each other that they were meant to be.
"When Bryan walked into the room it was like I recognised his soul. Something just clicked inside of me," Mrs Jackson says.
They met at the Orakei School 50th jubilee, a celebration neither had planned to attend.
Both had been students of the school but did not know each other at the time.
When Mr Jackson was in form two, Mrs Jackson, formerly Robynne Lord, was a new entrant.
Mrs Jackson, now 72, was in Auckland on holiday from Sydney when she heard about the jubilee. She and her mother were going for a walk and passed the school.
The reunion ball was that evening and an old school friend offered her a half-price ticket.
Neither she nor Mr Jackson was looking for a relationship.
She had been married in Australia but was separated.
Mr Jackson had recently split from his third wife and had decided he would not remarry.
Two of his old school friends bought him a ticket to the ball and convinced him to go.
He noticed Mrs Jackson as soon as he walked in the room but it took him 2 hours to pluck up the courage to ask her to dance.
He asked if he could see her the next day.
During their lunch date, Mrs Jackson recalls thinking: "I really like this chap."
He asked her how many more days she was in Auckland. She said 37. He waited 30 days before putting an engagement ring on her finger. That was on the auspicious date of August 8, 1988.
Mr Jackson says he wanted to ask her to marry him right after their lunch date.
"I used to say I was never getting remarried but when you meet the right person everything changes," Mrs Jackson says.
They had a small wedding ceremony in Hobart in 1991 with only their children from previous marriages present.
It is not the first time Mr Jackson has married a former Orakei School pupil.
He met Maureen Malcolm when they were 4 years old.
They got married at the age of 23 and were married for five years. They are still "bosom pals", he says.
Mr Jackson, 80, was a foundation pupil at the school.
He started on July 2, 1938, the day it was officially opened by the first Labour Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage.
Mrs Jackson says she has happy memories of the school and formed some lasting friendships there.
Mr Jackson was less interested in formal education.
"School got in the way of things I wanted to do," he says.
By the age of 6 his lifelong passion for collectibles was taking form. It started with marbles. That led to stamps, postcards and cigarette cards.
In 1962 he opened the Muzeum of Automobilia, Sounds, Victorian and Collectibles on Marua Rd, Mt Wellington. The private museum contained more than 100 collectible cars and operated for many years on the site.
The Devonport residents are still very much in love and renewed their vows on a cruise ship in the Caribbean in 2000.
They are looking forward to attending the upcoming Orakei School 75th jubilee celebrations on September 20 and 21 next year - this time together.
Go to orakeischool.co.nz to register for the planned celebrations or contact the school for further information on 521 0657 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
East And Bays Courier