Margaret Theron will never forget the first time she spoke to her husband Henri Theron outside a local café in Lansdowne.
The year was 1955 and 15-year-old Margaret had grown impatient along with the rest of the crowd waiting for the Argus to arrive. Among the crowd was Henri.
Both lived in Lansdowne and had attended the same school but with a three-year age gap they had never really spoken. Until that day.
“Talk about chemistry. I felt a shot of lightning from head to toe,” said Margaret.
He walked her home that day and their first date followed not long after. They were chaperoned by her mother on their movie date at the Kritz cinema but Henri did not mind.
The budding romance grew into a serious courtship that lasted five years until Henri cemented their bond with a marriage proposal.
“I was lying on the couch wearing a green dress and he leaned over and said ‘I want you to be my wife’”. When asked why he had wanted to marry her, his reply was simply: “My heart told me”. On February 6 1960, the couple were wed in the presence of 120 guests in the Claremont Methodist Church. Margaret’s wedding dress was encrusted with beads right down the back.
Her sister told her after how the sunlight through the church window had caught the beads, making her a dazzling sight.
Henri had been a ball of nerves waiting for his bride who arrived a few minutes late. His brother, tasked with driving the bridal car, had circled the “block a couple of times” to make Henri “sweat”.
“‘Let the bugger wait’ he told me,” recalled Margaret laughing. It worked, said Henri, who remembers popping mints into his mouth non-stop until his bride arrived.
Their wedding reception was held at Wynberg Sports Club. They had a three-tier cake that Margaret had ordered from Silver Leaf Bakeries at OK Bizaars. She still has the little bride and groom that was on top of the cake, said Margaret.
The decades that followed produced three sons and six grandchildren. The couple, now 80 and 83, have enjoyed travelling extensively over the years but say those days are now behind them.
Nine years ago Henri and Margaret left Rondebosch East and moved to Farmersfield Retirement Village in Edgemead.
After 60 years of marriage they still kiss each other goodnight and good morning. Sometimes there are kisses “in between”, depending if one is off to the shops or somewhere else without the other said Margaret.
Tomorrow they celebrate their diamond anniversary with a family dinner.
“He’s always been a very respectful man. He’s always made sure I’m safe. And every now and then he still tells me how much he loves me and that I’m beautiful,” said Margaret.
“She can’t help it if she’s beautiful,” responded Henri.