A campus romance has turned into a 60-year partnership for a Gore couple.
Douglas and Daphne Dixey celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with a family lunch on Sunday.
Mrs Dixey said the pair met at Christchurch Teachers’ College in 1957.
“The only thing I can remember is dancing with him the first year, because his stride took him two strides to the end of the dance hall,” Mrs Dixey said.
It was after a church Easter camp in 1958 they started going out together.
Mr Dixey knew the relationship was serious when Mrs Dixey gave him her telephone number.
“We didn’t have a phone at home,” he said.
“I had to go to the wee red box down the end of the road to have a conversation.”
The pair used to go cycling together.
When Mr Dixey fitted a small motor to his bike, he used to tow Mrs Dixey.
The trouble was the dynamo, which could be rested on the wheel to make the headlight glow, could not keep up.
“My mother kept wondering why my bike’s dynamo kept blowing . . . he towed me a little too fast,” she said.
“If you go too fast you blow the bulb,” he said.
Even though they had discussed marriage, technically Mr Dixey did not propose, she said.
“We were downtown for New Year’s Eve and he said as we went past a jeweller’s shop ‘I’ll buy you one of those next year’.
“He never asked.”
In 1959, which was their first year teaching, both were posted to schools in Christchurch.
However, the next year Mr Dixey won a job at Fairfax near Otautau and Mrs Dixey spent two terms at Oxford.
They married in the August school holidays in Christchurch.
Mutual attraction drew the pair together in the early days.
“I just liked her personality.
“We had a lot in common and enjoyed each other’s company,” Mr Dixey said.
“We just sort of gelled,” Mrs Dixey said.
Friendship was the basis of their relationship.
“We were friends right from the beginning, which is the most important thing and the fact [is] that we are still friends as we are getting older,” she said.
“Respect for each other,” he said.
The first time the couple had an argument Mrs Dixey had her back to her husband, and when she turned around he had gone to work in the garden.
At seeing that her first “temper tantrum” fizzled out.