Peter and Gerry Boddington of Eastern Heights celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary and renewed their vows during a ceremony at Milford Grange Retirement Village.
Peter and Gerry Boddington of Eastern Heights celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary and renewed their vows during a ceremony at Milford Grange Retirement Village. David Nielsen

How to make a marriage last 60 years

THE story of how Peter met Gerry starts with Peter courting another woman.

It was the 1950s, Slim Dusty was topping the Australian music charts and a ticket to the pictures cost less than $1.

Peter had made the 450km journey from Gunnedah to Sydney to take a woman named Colleen out on a date.

He had called on her a few times during the short holidays he took in the state's capital, but this time when he got there the lady he was keen on turned him down.

It seemed Colleen, who worked at mental health facility, had been asked to do an overtime shift, so she suggested Peter take her friend out instead.

"She came down to the gate and said I can't come with you," Peter recalled.

"I said, oh that's great - I only came 200 miles to see you. She said one of my mates might be interested in going out with you if you feel like going, but I can't.

"Anyway I went out with her mate and I ended up marrying her."

Peter took Gerry out for a pizza at Parramatta and dropped her home like any gentleman would.

After a couple of years, they decided to tie the knot.

Peter and Gerry Boddington were married in 1954 at St Thomas's church in Willoughby.
Peter and Gerry Boddington were married in 1954 at St Thomas's church in Willoughby.

That tale is almost ancient history now for the couple who live at Milford Grange Retirement village together and this month celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Their wedding was a quaint affair.

Gerry wore a homemade gown and carried orchards picked from her father-in-law's garden as a bridal bouquet during the 9am service at St Thomas's church in Willoughby, north of Sydney.

The friend who introduced Peter to Colleen, Pat Kelly, was best man at the wedding.

For the first part of their married life Peter and Gerry lived on a farm just outside of Gunnedah where they had four children.

Sadly two have passed away including one son who suddenly died of a heart attack.

It's a tragedy no parent should endure, but Gerry says the only way to get through is to keep on living.

"If the gentleman upstairs says you have to come, you have to go," she said.

Peter and Gerry Boddington of Eastern Heights celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary and renewed their vows during a ceremony at Milford Grange Retirement Village.
Peter and Gerry Boddington of Eastern Heights celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary and renewed their vows during a ceremony at Milford Grange Retirement Village. David Nielsen

The family moved to Ipswich in 1964, when it was still a big country town.

Peter, who drove a taxi from 1967 until he retired in 2001, says since the city has at least doubled in size.

If you ask the pair, 'what's the secret to a long lasting marriage', Gerry won't hesitate before telling you the most essential part of a good relationship is to never hold a grudge.

"Kiss each other goodnight every day," Gerry said.

"Never, ever, ever go to bed angry.

"It doesn't matter if you're right, wrong or indifferent, you always kiss each other goodnight because you never know which day will be your last.

"That's what my mother told me."



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