‘When things go wrong, you work it out’
After 65 years of marriage, Roberta Smith, 86, and her 89-year-old husband Jack like to think they have a few answers as to what makes people compatible.
Married at St. Saviour’s church in Vancouver on Aug. 2 1947, they both believe they have lived through the perfect time.
Sitting at the kitchen table in their bright east Cloverdale home, the two reminisce about life’s challenges and what has kept them together.
Camping with their three children was always a highlight of the summer.
“We both grew up in Vancouver during the depression so we quickly learned the value of a dollar,” said Roberta. “People nowadays want everything when they get married, we didn’t have anything – no fridge or oven, just an icebox and a Coleman stove.”
They were raised in the same neighbourhood – another reason they believe they have lasted so long. They didn’t know it at the time but their families attended the same church and they even went to the same high school, Vancouver Technical, although three years apart.
“You should marry someone from the same social background, with similar political views,” Roberta says. “We can agree on a lot of things. You need to have similarities.”
One of their differences, however, is that she collects things, while he likes to throw things out.
Jack admits their lengthy marriage hasn’t always been easy, but says “when things go wrong, you work it out. I’ve slept on the couch a few times but you don’t get up and walk away, you make up and carry on. And she laughs at my jokes, some she’s heard 30 times and that helps.”
Although they never had alcohol in the house when their children were young, Jack now enjoys a glass or two of wine in the evenings, “strictly for health reasons,” he says with a laugh.
But most of all, they still enjoy each others company and still hold hands, and says Roberta.
“He’s always happy, that’s what I love about him.”