Depression marriage lasts 78 years

TOGETHERNESS: Bert and Pat Archbold still live near the shop where they first met.
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
TOGETHERNESS: Bert and Pat Archbold still live near the shop where they first met.

Bert Archbold first encountered his future wife when he popped in to visit a friend on his way to a shop.

More than eight decades later, the Archbolds are celebrating their 78th wedding anniversary.

"Time passes so quickly," Pat Archbold said.

"I first saw her when she was 13," said Bert, "and I never saw her again until she was 16."

Bert, 95, and Pat, 94, still live near the place where they first met. The shop closed two years ago, and the church where the couple married, St Peter's, has been pulled down.

Pat said their courtship was "wonderful".

"[Bert] had a pony and all," she said.

They married in 1934 in the middle of the Depression.

"Life was grim then," Bert said. "I worked in a quarry splitting rocks.

"They were really hard, those days. I used to go everywhere on a bike to look for bottles to sell."

They both enjoyed movies. They even went to the Majestic Theatre for their honeymoon.

"I don't remember what picture we saw now," Pat said.

When Pat went into labour during her first pregnancy, Bert took her to the maternity home on his bike.

The couple used to go everywhere on a bike, with the baby in a cane pram.

"We didn't have much money. We used to go to the beach all the time with the baby on the handlebars, " Bert said. The couple had 14 children, but three have died.

Asked what advice he would give to young couples, he urged them to talk things out with each other.

The Press