Kathleen | Aged 86
Lewisham | November 2015

Describing herself as a bit of a dresser, Kathleen enjoyed dating when she was young, remembering she even managed to go out with two boys at the same time and on more than one occasion! Her mum didn’t approve of such goings on so Kathleen had to leave her suitors on the street corner in order to escape her mum’s sharp words when she returned home. One day, out on a coach trip to the seaside in 1952, Kathleen met Ray. The feeling was instant, different and indescribable. After sharing some egg sandwiches and a punnet of strawberries, Ray made his move and kissed her on the coach on the way home. Eager to impress his new crush, and with the knowledge that the object of his affection was 22, he told Kathleen he was 19, instead of his actual age of just 16! Ray quickly came clean about his lie after they agreed to meet a few days later and Kathleen, agreeing age is just a number, was quick to forgive. And so their courtship began, dating regularly until in 1954 when Ray was called up to complete his National Service. They were married on his discharge a few years later.

Kathleen remembers that they were very very happy. She doesn’t know why it worked so well, she just knows it did, for her their love is still indescribable. Of course, just like in any marriage, there were arguments and upsets along the way with cross words and thrown crockery. Kathleen attributes this to her character, never one to mix her words, she always said exactly what she thought! Even though he was younger than her, Ray seemed more grown up, a little old fashioned perhaps in some ways with an older way of dressing and a mature style. Their marriage wasn’t to be long, sadly Ray died in her arms aged just 41, and she misses him more and more every year, believing that the pain of losing someone you love gets worse as time goes by. Kathleen feels we only ever truly love one person in our lifetime and, for her, that was Ray. Love hurts for Kathleen now, she truly loves Ray and the pain of her loss will never go away.

To hear Kathleen talk about how she met Ray and found out his real age watch the video below: