It takes two: Edmonton couple still going strong after 70 years
Couple repeats their original vows in the same church where they were first wed
Seven decade itch? Not for these two lovebirds.
Marion Rattray, 94, walked down the aisle at McDougall United Church for the second time Saturday when she and her 94-year-old husband Alex Rattray renewed their marriage vows.
The couple repeated the same words they first recited in 1944 in front of friends and family, with their two sons Don and Doug Rattray standing by.
I was standing there, waiting for Marion to come down the aisle. My knees were shaking. I was kind of nervous, I was just a young fellow. I wasn’t carrying a cane at that time- Alex Rattray, recalling the day he and Marion were first wed
Recalling the first time he saw his bride-to-be coming down the aisle, 70 years ago, Alex says, “I was a little bit nervous. That was my first venture into marriage.”
“She winked at me a few times, too,” he adds with a smile.
Marion, however, claims the winking was accidental.
“I was standing there, waiting for Marion to come down the aisle. My knees were shaking. I was kind of nervous, I was just a young fellow. I wasn’t carrying a cane at that time. When she finally came down to the bottom of the aisle, we hugged and that was the start of 70 years.”
No secret to lasting marriage
The Rattrays say there isn’t much of a secret to their seven decade marriage.
Jumping in and finishing each other’s sentences so smoothly their answer seems almost scripted, Marion starts out.
“We never thought about it. It was just what you did, you know. It always worked out and we liked our family.”
“And we’re lucky that we had good health,” interjects Alex.
“Well, that’s a big part of it,” she concedes. “We’re not [pretending] we’re happy when we’re not. When you're not having good times, you work around it.”
“We took holidays whenever we needed it,” Alex jumps in.
“You bet. We've had wonderful times.”
Family was the most important thing
Their son Doug Rattray says the couple’s lasting success in love is no surprise to those who know them.
“I go up to visit them and the two them will be sitting in their favourite chairs. Sometimes not saying any words but living through the past 70 years of memories. They don’t have to chat, they don’t have to talk – it’s all there,” adds their son Don Rattray, visibly choking up.“They're kind of the perfect match. A perfect mesh of personalities and everything worked. They appreciate each other. That's the main thing.”
We’re not [pretending] we’re happy when we’re not. When you're not having good times, you work around it.- Marion Rattray, on the secret to her 70-year marriage
“What sounds crazy to me, more than anything, is I can barely stand myself after almost 70 years – I can't believe that somebody can actually tolerate another person for 70 years.”
And while the newly-renewed-weds are proud to celebrate their huge milestone, they say having their family there, all around them, was the best part of the day.
“Having family around is just so exciting for them,” says Don. “My dad has been planning this for probably four months – ever since Christmas.”
With files from CBC's Travis McEwan