Being married is 'easy'

HAPPY UNION: St Johns residents Rona and Barney Band are celebrating their 65th year as a married couple.
HAPPY UNION: St Johns residents Rona and Barney Band are celebrating their 65th year as a married couple.

Rona Simon first met her future husband Barney Band when he started dating her room-mate. But it wasn't long before he had eyes for her.

"I thought he was quite nice and he was a handsome boy. He started taking me out and he transferred his attention to me," Mrs Band says.

Mr Band had a Ford 10 red convertible and they would often go out on double dates to the movies.

Rona was in her final year of teacher's college in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Mr Bard was working as a mechanic. They married a year later in 1949 and moved to Durban where they brought up their children Sandra, Sally and Noel.

Mrs Band went on to become the principal of a small Jewish school. There were 11 staff members and they were all good friends, the 86-year-old says.

The couple moved to Auckland in 2001. Their son was living in Pakuranga and he offered to build them a house on his property.

Later they shifted to a cottage opposite Pakuranga Plaza before moving to Shalom Court in St Johns last February.

On Thursday the couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with a surprise party organised by their daughters, who came over from Australia for the occasion.

Being married to Rona has been easy, her husband says.

"Things went smoothly. We didn't have much money but we were happy," the 92-year-old says.

Living in Auckland did take some getting used to.

"It was so open and there weren't any high fences when we came," Mrs Band says.

"Everything was so clean. Gradually over the years more and more high fences have appeared and the pavements aren't so clean any more."

Feeling safe enough to walk around after dark was another difference.

"One night Barney suggested we go out for takeaways. Going there, getting the fish and chips and coming back, I was in a state of terror because you just don't go out walking at night in Durban."

They've had some good rows in their time but Mrs Band concedes Barney has been a very good husband.

"He loves his kids. He's protective of his family. Anybody looks at us the wrong way and he's there. Anybody says the wrong thing to us and he's on the phone laying into them."

So what's the secret to a long and happy marriage? Perseverance, she says.

"I reckon if people can get through the first four, five years then there's maybe a chance for them."

East And Bays Courier