Long-time lovebirds

GAWLER couple Albert and Doreen Merritt last week celebrated 60 years of love, laughter and holding hands together.
The long-time lovebirds married six decades ago on March 29, 1958, in Birmingham, England, after meeting around 18 months beforehand at work.
“I had just come out the army, and I didn’t know whether to go back,” Mr Merritt said.
“I was a painter and decorator, and I was working down in a warehouse and her sister, Barbara, was working there, and I said ‘would you let me take you to the pictures, Barbara?’
“She said ‘no, I have already got a partner, but I will see my sister Doreen, and ask if she wants to go’.
“She must’ve gone and seen Doreen and then they came downstairs, and (Doreen) said ‘are you Al Merritt?’
“I said ‘yeah, do you want to go to the pictures with me tonight?”
The pair agreed to meet at the cinema, but their plans were soon put in jeopardy by severe fog that caused public transport to stop.
“You couldn’t see out in front of you,” Mr Merritt recalled.
“I went home, got ready and my mum turned around and said ‘where are you going?’
“I said ‘I have got a date’, and she said ‘you are mad’.
“Of course, all the buses and trams had stopped, so I had to walk nine miles to the theatre – by the time I got there, she was waiting outside.”
After getting married, the couple moved into a flat, which became the first home of their three children – Gary, Kay and Andrew.
In late February 1971, the Merritt family made the move to Adelaide, shifting several times before settling in Hillier Park.
Later, Mrs Merritt became ill, and it was decided that she would move into Trevu House Residential Care Facility.
Despite not living together now, Mr Merritt visits several times a week, where the couple share meals or take trips into the main street for coffee and shopping.
Mr Merritt said the years together have been filled with happiness and that he “wouldn’t trade (Doreen) for anything”.
“We had a nice home, a swimming pool and a tennis court,” he said.
“We haven’t travelled much of Australia, because we spent our money going back to see the family – we used to go back every couple of years to England.
“But, we have been happy; we’ve had a good life.”
Mr Merritt said the key to their successful relationship has been good communication; working as a team; having consideration for the other person; and always holding hands.
“Young people these days don’t hold hands, I don’t know why,” he said.
“Wherever we are, we are always holding hands – it’s just nice.”

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Growing up in Roseworthy and attending Kapunda High School, Laura joins The Bunyip in June, 2016 whilst completing the final year of a double degree in Journalism and International Relations at University of SA. This is Laura's first role as a Journalist following a stint at Gawler Council in the Communications Department. She will cover the news in the Playford and Mallala council regions. Outside of work, Laura enjoys anything health and well-being related, and can be regularly seen shopping for fresh, healthy produce at local markets.

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