Rita | Aged 76
Streatham | November 2015

Ice skating is one of Rita’s passions so it seems fitting that she met her future husband Ernie, in 1956 at Streatham Ice Rink, right behind her family home. The home that she would later move back into with her new husband, making her time spent renting the property a total of 77 years! When they met Rita was just 16 and didn’t really know anything about the birds and the bees, just that she should wait to meet the right person. And, although, she had dated other boys, she captured Ernie’s attention with her beautiful ginger hair, landing her with a new ice skating buddy and a future husband! Rita found herself in love for the very first time, in fact, looking back, she believes it was a case of love at first sight. She says she just knew that he was hers, and that they were bound together. At the time their parents weren’t too keen on their relationship, Ernie was 21 and recently demobbed from the Army and, of course, she was only 16. Undeterred, they continued to see each other, and 4 years later became engaged, marrying in 1960. Their family has since grown, and Rita considers herself blessed with a large family of two daughters, four grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Now married to Ernie for 56 years, Rita feels they have become almost like a single person, they are rarely apart and he is her everything. Although, like all couples, they’ve had their ups and downs, Rita is proud that their disagreements have never led to raised voices or regretted words. Ernie really is Rita’s first and only love, and although she admits they had sex before marriage, he is the only man she has ever known, and isn’t curious about how things might have been with anyone else. Knowing he has always respected her, something nurtured in him by his grandmother from an early age, Rita knows they have found that once in a lifetime love and is thankful to continue their life together with the ingredients of respect, trust and truth which she feels are the keys to their harmonious marriage.

To hear Rita talk about Ernie, her first and only real love watch the video below: