Ted and June Streak last week celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary.
Ted, 95, and June, 91, have outlived almost everyone they know including one of their sons.
“When we die, there will be no one at our funeral,” jokes June.
The afternoon sun fills the living room of their Edgemead home where they sit and remember, sometimes with difficulty, the many years they have seen through together.
The topic of death does not seem to bother them as they speak with ease about how they would like to go.
“I want to be cremated. No fun and games with a burial,” says Ted, to which his wife laughingly agrees.
Originally from Johannesburg, the couple met through neighbours. They got engaged in December 1946 and married the following year.
June’s father had died a few years earlier, so her uncle, Robert Boothman, walked her down the aisle.
Hanging on the wall is a framed black-and-white photograph of the bride and groom on their wedding day. They lost their wedding album many years ago when moving around. This picture of their wedding day is one of only a few they still have.
June had turned 20 a month before the picture was taken. It shows her holding a massive bouquet of flowers.
“Blooming bouquets were so long back then. Mine had to lay in the bath,” she says.
They had two sons, Ian and Kevin, and moved to Cape Town in 1956, when Ted, who worked for Shell, was transferred.
They lived in Camps Bay, which they loved. “That house in Bakoven was fantastic,” says Ted.
Unfortunately they had to move when their son, Kevin, developed croup and doctors warned living near the sea could cause his death.
They moved to Pinelands, where they lived for about 20 years. They then moved to Mowbray for about eight years before settling in Edgemead.
June still drives when she has to do grocery shopping and laughs as she recalls being pulled over by traffic officers a few months ago.
“I was driving down Letchworth Drive and they stopped me and asked for my driver’s licence. I think they got a fright when they saw this old grey-haired lady driving this old Toyota and they wanted to check if I had a licence.”
Ted can no longer drive or do much else. He is blind in one eye and has only partial vision in the other. Hearing is also difficult and last year he developed dementia.
As Ted speaks of his ailments, his wife soothes him sweetly saying, “Never mind, darling. You’re still alive.”
But his memories of the past are still sharp and helps June fill in the blanks.
Ian died of a heart attack a few years ago, which was a terrible loss for them both. They also have two grandsons, Sean and Ryan, but as much as they adore their children and grandchildren, June says she would have given her “back teeth” for a daughter.
“But it was never in the good Lord’s plans,” she says simply.
Asked if they have lived happy lives, June says she’s lived a pretty good life, but struggles with today’s “pressures” of always having to be alert.
Ted describes his life as an “excellent” one and is ready to go a few more.
“I’ve had the finest 95 years anyone could ask for. I reckon another six years is all I need. I’d like to be 101,” he says.
When June asks who will look after him, he replies: “Where the hell are you going?”
The Streaks believe the secret to a good marriage is “togetherness” saying they never went anywhere without each other.
As they cosy up for a picture, June can’t contain her laughter as Ted flashes his teeth for the camera, and it’s clear his knack for being able to make her laugh, after so many years, is another of the couple’s secret ingredients to a successful marriage and happy life.