Here, Ivy Reid, 89, tells the story in her own words.
￼Looking up, I gazed into the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. ‘Care to dance?’ the tall, handsome man asked. ‘I would,’ I smiled, and he took my hand and twirled me around the dance floor. ‘He seemed nice,’ said my sister, Marg, afterwards. I wasn’t surprised by her words. As twins, we always thought alike!
The man’s name was Ray Reid. At 22, he was four years older than me and worked on his parents’ dairy farm, just as Marg and I did. We milked 80 cows a day, all by hand! Ray was my first boyfriend, and luckily, my parents approved.
The following year, he asked to marry me. ‘I’d love to,’ I said. So we borrowed Dad’s ute and drove to a jeweller’s to pick a ring. It had two diamonds set in platinum and cost 34 pounds, which was several months’ wages back then.Meanwhile, Marg had started seeing a boy she’d met at the pictures. His name was George Pethers and they were smitten with each other. When he asked to marry her, Dad had an idea.
‘You four should have a double wedding,’ he said. ‘It’ll be cheaper than having two weddings.’
Marg and I had always done everything together so it didn’t seem that strange. I borrowed our older sister Doris’s wedding dress and Marg had an identical one made for her. On our big day – June 4, 1949 – Marg and I were 20 and the weather was freezing. Our flower girls had to wear pyjamas under their frilly frocks because it was so cold!
When we arrived at the church, Dad proudly led Marg and me up the aisle, one on each arm. The 300 guests, all bundled up in coats, watched us saying ‘I do’ – times two! At the reception, we had a two-tier iced wedding cake, sandwiches and tarts. ‘Don’t go mixing up the brides!’ our grooms were told.
Afterwards, the four of us took the train to go on our honeymoon to Sydney. It was the first time we’d seen the sea. ‘Isn’t it beautiful?’ I said to Ivy. ‘It’s stunning,’ she agreed. However, the weather was so bad all the trains back were cancelled due to flooding. We ended up staying in Sydney a whole month and had to fly home – the first time any of us had ever been on a plane!
By then, Ray and George had become the best of mates. Both even-tempered, they shared the same values, the same sense of humour, and were kind and hardworking.
The following year, I said to Marg, ‘I’ve got something to tell you.’ ‘I’ve got something to tell you, too,’ she said. That’s when we learned we were both pregnant! Marg went into labour first and because of floods, they had to take her to hospital on a flying fox over the creek! She gave birth to her daughter Margaret – and then I started having contractions, too. I was in labour for three days and gave birth to Graeme, who was a big baby at 8lb 6oz (3.8 kilos).
Marg, who was still in hospital, was my first visitor.‘I felt all your labour pains,’ she cried. ‘It was awful. And I knew exactly when you gave birth because I felt that, too!’‘I’m so sorry,’ I said. I wasn’t surprised, because being twins, we’d often felt each other’s pain in the past. But going through labour twice in four days wouldn’t have been much fun!
Ray and I had four more children – Beth, Dennis, Carol and Debbie – and Marg and George had Peter and Wayne. The kids grew up as one big, happy family and every year, we’d celebrate our combined wedding anniversary together, usually with a picnic.
Recently, the four of us celebrated our 68th anniversary, surrounded by family and friends. We have 16 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren, and Marg and George have 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
The secret to our long and happy marriage is being compatible, doing things together, and if we have a squabble, we just get over it. Happily, the four of us are just as close as ever. I guess you could say we’ve all been doubly blessed!
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