Tag Archives: engagement

Post 55. Let’s wait.


Wilf and Val were at the station to meet us.  They were so happy.  It was good to be home.  Dad and Tony sat in the lounge chatting about New Zealand and jazz.  Val and I sat in my room and she told me how handsome she thought Tony was.  There was a lot to catch up on.

Tony slept on the front veranda in Papa’s old room.  The heavy lace curtains were still up.  Nothing much had changed.

Val brought him tea and avocado on toast in bed the next morning.  He thought all his Christmases had come at once.  He knew he was onto a good thing and I knew what it meant.  She wanted him to stay; forever.

A few days later, we went off to get a ring.  I had NO idea how much money Tony had for it.  He was so sweet.  “Just get whichever one you want.”   It was so exciting.   We had been engaged for 6 months, and now I was going to have a ring.  After trying many rings,  I found one that I liked.  It was small and dainty with three little diamonds in a row.  He kept checking that I was sure.  I was sure.  I loved it.

When he looked at the price, it was exactly the amount he had saved for my ring.  If it had been even slightly more, it would have been too much.  He was relieved.  What were the chances of that?

I didn’t want a big fuss; just a few neighbours from Rolleston Place and some friends from the Full Gospel Church.  We had it on the back veranda.  There were some eats, some speeches and Tony put the ring on my finger.   It was official.

Dave and Bev loved Tony.  He never said no to food, so Dave said he was a man after his own heart.  Pete was doing his two years of compulsory army training but he got out for a weekend while we were there.   Tony passed the brother-test.  He fitted in perfectly well.

One night we were sitting on the swings in the park.  We had already talked about not sleeping together until we got married.   I had boyfriends who put pressure on me to sleep with them.  There were times when I actually ran away from very close shaves.   I didn’t want to say yes.   I wanted to wait for my husband.  Now, in my fiancés arms, I wanted to say yes but had to say no.  We had made the decision to wait.  It was the hardest thing for us to do.   We were so passionate about each other, we were engaged and we were going to get married in 5 months time; what was the point?

The point was, we weren’t married.  Tony wasn’t my husband and I wasn’t his wife.  We had no right to each other.  We needed to wait just a little while longer.  We knew we weren’t going to regret it.

We laughed about how bad it would have been if we had been together on the Doulos.  We would have been so distracted and would definitely not have been able to stick to the “no more than five minute conversations” or the “no physical contact” rule.

Our long distance relationship had been perfect.  God knew exactly what He was doing.

Post 54. Welcome to South Africa



My fiancé, Tony, who I had never been with, arrived in South Africa in December 1985.   We had been pen pals for a year and a half.  Cathie Beattie came to our house early that morning.  She was almost as excited as I was.

I filled up the bath and was happily soaking in my bubbles when she knocked at the door informing me that the plane had landed.  We weren’t far from the airport, but I was still pushing it.  I had been day dreaming; imagining what I was going to do when I saw Tony.  We were engaged, but we had never been together.  I pictured myself putting my hand out and saying to my fiancé, “Welcome to South Africa.”   Just thinking about the whole thing got my tummy going and by the time I left the house, I had the runs.

I was so nervous.  Rig drove me to the airport and Cath sat on the backseat smiling from ear to ear, trying to calm me down.  As soon as we arrived, I bought some gum and then ran off to the loo.  Rig and Cath waited in the car outside.  When I came out I saw Tony looking around for me.  He looked so handsome.  I crept around behind him, put my arms around his waist and said “Welcome to South Africa.”  He turned around, we looked into each other’s faces, smiled and hugged and kissed.  It was as if we had always been together.

We walked out to the car where Rig and Cathie were waiting.   I introduced them all and off we drove, chatting about his trip.  We found out why he arrived wearing such a heavy sweater.  He had been travelling for days and wasn’t able to wash anywhere.  He was wearing it to hide any B.O he may have had.

I had found a small garden cottage for him, just up the road from the Wallace’s place.  It was tiny and perfect.  I filled up the little fridge with food and he was so happy.

My friends loved him.  He found Waverley quite unusual. The first Sunday he was there, Marie Dunn linked arms with him and swung him around during the one of the songs.   That was a first.  Strangers kissed him on the mouth in typical South African style.  That was another first.

In a few weeks we had our official engagement party at the Wallaces place.   Everyone knew we were heading off to India so we didn’t get a lot of gifts and there was still no ring.

After a month of being in Johannesburg we took our first train trip together.  Tony was going to meet Wilf and Val and the rest of the Lowe family in Durban.

A friend of ours offered to give us a lift to the station but didn’t tell us he didn’t know how to get there.  We got hopelessly lost and missed the train.  We rushed into the Station Master’s office. There was a group of tourists who had missed their connection and there was a bus taking them to meet the train at the next station.

We got on the bus then boarded the train, huffing and puffing.  There was an excitement about the edginess of the whole thing and we loved that our lives together had started that way.

Post 51. So, how old is your fiance?


I didn’t hear from Tony for about 2 weeks.  The mailbox was empty.  It was the longest I had to wait to get a letter from him.  I was upset.  I wondered if he had changed his mind.  Worse still, I wondered if he had met someone else.  My imagination ran wild. 

In the meantime, I loved my job in the engineering company in Johannesburg.  It took a while to get on with some of the German secretaries, especially Charlotte.  She was blunt and she felt it her duty to let everyone know exactly what she thought of them at any time.  No one liked her.  I made her my mission. She started to warm up to me and we became good friends. 

One day she asked me what my star sign was.  I told her I didn’t believe in horoscopes and such things.  She eventually got me to tell her when my birthday was.  She was surprised.  Apparently people under my star sign and people under her star sign didn’t get on; ever.  She had never met a person born under my star that she got on with; ever.  I didn’t fit into the “star” box.  She was surprised again when I told her what I was like as a child and how I was changing all the time.  She was concerned that Tony and I wouldn’t be compatible.  I assured her that he had also broken out of his box.  The stars had nothing to do with the changes that had taken place. They had no power to change anything.  She was fascinated.

Everyone in the office was involved in my love life. The guy who picked up the post from my desk teased me for running after Tony.   He could only see the letters going out.  He had no idea how many letters had been filling my mailbox at home.  

We had been writing for months and neither of us had thought about asking each other’s age.   After we got engaged by phone, cassette and letter, Tony thought he might as well find out.  The post guy in my office picked up my letter with the answer and posted it without a stamp.  It went to all the islands in South East Asia and it was weeks before Tony got it.  His friends in New Zealand were asking him how old his fiancé was.  He kept telling them he had no idea.  They thought he was crazy.  

It was two weeks before I heard from him.  When he called, his voice was shaky.  The police had come to their house and Tony was asked to go with them to identify a body in town.  It was his dad, Doug. He had died from a massive heart attack.  

Just a few months before that, Doug and Tony talked about their relationship, their differences and their issues.  Tony was able to totally forgive his dad.  It was a heavy, 24 year old weight off his shoulders. 

Doug had been into a big property deal in the centre of Auckland.  His risky, high powered life had taken its toll.  He was only 59. 

I felt helpless.  Tony was so emotional and I cried with him.   I felt awful for having been so selfish and also happy that we were in touch again.  He hadn’t changed his mind.  

Everyone wanted to know what was happening and when he was coming.  As soon as he had enough money; that was when he was coming.