A CHANCE meeting at one of Ipswich's favourite old watering holes resulted in a union that would stand the test of time.
Howard and Marlene Smallwood will mark their 50th wedding anniversary today.
The Raceview couple first met at the North Star Hotel - once a fixture of Ipswich's CBD - in the late 1950s.
Marlene was working at the bar while Howard used to frequent the place for a drink with his mates.
"It was a bit odd because Marlene didn't normally work behind the bar, but on this particular night they were short," Mr Smallwood said.
There was no cheesy pick-up line - Howard simply asked Marlene out and it went from there. The couple shared a mutual love of cars through the West Moreton Auto Club and claimed to be among Ipswich's first "lappers".
"Back in those days you didn't drive around and around in circles like the young ones do today," Mrs Smallwood said.
The pair went out for about three years before Howard proposed. They were married at the Brightview Apostolic Church on December 15, 1962.
After the wedding, the couple lived in Ipswich for three years, before moving to Rockhampton so Howard could take up a job as a truck driver. They returned to Ipswich in 1970, with son Jason born in 1971.
Howard, now 75, kept driving trucks while Marlene, now 71, remained a committed stay at home mum.
The happy couple also has one grandchild - 19-year-old Zoe.
"We are very proud to have reached our 50th anniversary," Mrs Smallwood said.
"We never thought we would make it, but I suppose that we have always been there to help each other over the years and that has helped us stay together."
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