Ernie | Aged 80
Streatham | November 2015

Ernie’s first experience of love was from his grandmother. He recalls her as a beautiful Hampshire lady, incredibly kindly, who gave her food and time to her family during the war years. Partly raised by her from the age of 5, Ernie feels she exuded love to the whole family. He remembers that love to this day and feels his ideas of care and respect were formed by her strong guidance. This guidance was to have an impact on Ernie’s relationship with Rita. Aged 21, and recently demobbed from the Army, Ernie didn’t understand anything about falling in love, until one day it came into his life in the form of a beautiful flame haired girl, Rita, who caught his eye during a visit to Streatham Ice Rink. He knew he wanted to see more of her and so, to ensure she noticed him, Ernie bought a pair of ice skates giving him the chance to chase her round the rink! And notice him she did, it was from then on they did everything together including taking their marriage vows in 1960.

Ernie firmly believes that respect formed the foundation of their relationship from the moment they met and their determination to be together, come hell or high water, despite initial reservations from their parents, meant they grew closer than ever. Married for 56 years they haven’t accrued great monetary wealth, in fact, they have remained in their rented home in Streatham where Rita was brought up. But Ernie feels hugely blessed to have enjoyed so much love and affection throughout their marriage, something he believes others don’t see in a lifetime. In fact, without Rita, Ernie wouldn’t be interested in great riches, she’s everything to him. He simply can’t see the point in having anything unless Rita is there to share it. Now, at his age, he questions what he would even need other than her love. Looking back, he does worry that the youth of today have lost some of that important guidance about respect and kindness imparted to him by his grandmother all those years ago.

To hear more about Ernie’s love for Rita and his views on respect watch the video below: