Checking out the talent on a Winton street one night brought Doug King face to face with his future wife.
Doris (82, nee Butcher), and Mr King (87) celebrated 65 years of marriage in Mataura last week.
In 1956, he had been working for a bridge-building company in the town and had been having a drink at one of the hotels next door to the picture theatre, Mr King said.
‘‘It was half-time for pictures so we went out to look over the talent and that’s where I saw Doris and she invited me back into the pictures.
‘‘The worst part about it was her mother was sitting next to her.’’
Mrs King said that was not quite how she remembered it.
‘‘I never asked him to go in.’’
She and her mother often used to go to the pictures, as there was not much else to do in the town, she said.
Mrs King was 16 years old and Mr King was 21 years old.
From that time on, Mr King was smitten.
‘‘From then on it was all Doris.
‘‘She was on [my] mind all the time.’’
In those days, he dressed as a Teddy Boy, with ‘‘stovepipe trousers, brothel creeper shoes and swish back hairdo’’, Mr King said.
He was a novelty in the town, Mrs King said.
‘‘Being a way down here at the end of the South Island, you didn’t see the Teddy Boys.’’They married about a year later. After the wedding ceremony and before the reception, they went to a hotel lounge bar for a drink.
‘‘The policeman came in and told Douglas to take me out because I was underage.
‘‘Seeing I was only 17, I wasn’t allowed in there,’’ she said.
They knew the policeman, but even though Mr King pleaded with him, they still had to leave.
‘‘She got kicked out of the pub on her wedding day,’’ he said.
They lived in Winton for several years before moving to Christchurch.
Seventeen years later, they moved back to Mataura.
Enjoying a laugh together was one of the factors that kept their relationship strong, Mr King said.
‘‘If you can laugh, even at ourselves, it is half the battle won.
‘‘We have a lot of mirth.’’
Trust and keeping the marriage vows were important ingredients to a long life together, he said.
Young people today had high expectations and wanted everything now, Mrs King said.
‘‘They want everything yesterday, as the saying goes, and they are not prepared to do the hard work to get what they want.’’
The couple had their ups and downs throughout their life together.
‘‘The ups have been far greater than the downs.’’
His doctor told him recently he should buy Mrs King a blue sapphire for their 65th wedding anniversary, which was the customary gift, but he could not afford that, he said.
There had not been many wedding anniversaries when he had given his wife a gift.
‘‘It sinks in today how long 65 years is and it’s about time I bought something, but not a blue sapphire.’’
The couple have nine children, 24 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.