Fred and Nan – A True Romance

15 Feb

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They weren’t in the first flush of youth when they walked down the aisle. Thirty was quite old for a bride back then especially when her younger sister was already married with a family. But Fred had been married before. Divorced. It was talked about in hushed tones when I was small, the subject changed when the grown-ups became aware of “little ears flapping”.
It was only many years later, after my own divorce, that he discussed it with me. He’d been left devastated, feeling his life had lost all direction. Then he met Nan.
Everyone talked of their romance, dancing to the Big Bands at Trentham Gardens, but in many ways they were chalk and cheese. Fred had the wiry look of Astaire, being both reserved and one of life’s natural gentleman while Nancy was all laughter and chatter, a night owl to his early bird. As a couple, though, they just worked. In their company there was never a dull moment, conversation flowed effortlessly. She brought him out, encouraged and respected his opinions, he occasionally moderating her exuberance. As he told me in that conversation, she and their sons were simply the reason he lived, what his whole existence revolved around.
I’m sure they had their struggles, of course, but to my brother and me, spending weeks at a time at their home during childhood summers, it was always sunny, always a holiday, their sons our closest cousins despite the miles. We spent other holidays together, too. Adjacent caravans and shared car journeys, somehow fitting four adults and four children in a family saloon. I remember a game of “who can make the boiled sweet last longest”, a canny  device of Nan’s that also kept us quiet! In later life, now with families of our own, our visits were shorter but we would all meet at my parents’ on Boxing Day without fail. It was always as though we had only just said goodbye.
It was Fred’s funeral that brought us all back together at their home, though. We wondered how Nancy could possibly carry on without him. She herself died almost a year to the day after him. On Valentines Day.

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On the reverse of the photograph (above) Nancy has written:
“Taken on our Golden Wedding Holiday at Weston-Super-Mare in October 2010. We were then 84 and 80, still happy and in love!!!”

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One Response to “Fred and Nan – A True Romance”

  1. vinneve February 28, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    Nice love story 🙂

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