Iris | Aged 85
St Margarets | November 2015

Iris was 16 when she first fell in love with a sailor, they wrote letters during his time at sea and she saw him during his leave from the Navy. Besotted by him, she hoped their romance would progress, but her heart was broken when she was told he was already engaged! A few years later, it seemed at first that her luck was to change when, at a dance in Teddington, a young man named Ted, recently discharged from army conscription, asked her youth club leader for permission to dance with her. Permission was granted and their love story began. However, Iris seemed to be unlucky in love a second time when a friend of Ted’s revealed that her new partner also had a fiancé! His parents, unimpressed by his two timing made Ted chose between Iris and his fiancé, this time, her luck changed and Iris was chosen. She recalls though that she wasn’t angry at being the other woman, and knew there was no need to shout, his mum had already done that and, besides, she wasn’t sure it was love at that point. Initially Iris didn’t find Ted overly attractive, but they had a lot in common; she considered them just normal people that clicked. Their courtship continued for a few years, spending time to get to know each other and, with shared interests, her love for Ted grew; they were best of friends, fuelled by their mutual enjoyment of dancing.

After an 18 month engagement, and with the added stress of saving to pay for their own wedding, they married in 1952. Iris fell pregnant, but sadly suffered from polio in the latter stages of her pregnancy leading to the early birth of their daughter. After battling for three months Iris lost the use of her left leg and foot which curtailed her dance partnership with Ted. However, Iris didn’t stop her husband from going out or from getting on with his gardening and craft hobbies. Looking back, she’s happy he did these things, he died 35 years ago, aged only 56, and Iris feels no regrets, knowing he filled his time doing the things he loved. It wasn’t easy to be widowed at 53, but her strong personality and willpower kept her going. Iris is a keen believer in fate. Looking back on their life together she sees it as one of complete trust, based on friendship, compatibility and true partnership, aspects she believes are more important than love itself.

To hear Iris talk about her experience of love and luck watch the video below: