Lorna Pittaway, 94, had just one week to prepare for her marriage to husband Bill Pittaway, 93, after they wed 73 years ago on January 5, 1945.
Bill had secured two weeks of leave from his World War II post and the pair wasted no time getting married at St Paul’s Anglican Church in Bendigo.
‘‘I had a terrible job trying to buy a dress,’’ she said.
‘‘I couldn’t get anyone to cater for it and we didn’t have a lot of guests.
‘‘My auntie had made a fruit cake, so she gave that to us for our wedding cake.’’
Deep into the Great Depression, Lorna said she bought perhaps the only wedding dress available at the time with several coupons she had saved up.
‘‘During the war they gave us coupons that we had to use to buy everything,’’ she said.
One year older than Bill, Lorna said they married when she was 21 and he was 20 after they met when they were teenagers living in Lockington.
‘‘I was at a dance with one of my cousins and I asked ‘who is that?’,’’ Lorna said.
‘‘She said that’s the kid who’s working at the butchers.’’
Bill said he had moved from Bendigo to secure the position at the butchers in Lockington.
‘‘When you left school, you had to get a job,’’ he said.
‘‘I was getting 10-bob ($1) a week.’’
The pair began bumping into one another at dances and balls in a town where everyone knew each other.
‘‘(My family had) shifted over there to live,’’ Lorna said.
‘‘I went to the butchers every morning to get the meat then.’’
With Lorna just 15 at the time and Bill 14, love began to blossom between the pair, and they wed six years later.
‘‘I had to see him off on the train (afterwards),’’ Lorna said.
‘‘I wrote to him every day and I can still remember his address.
‘‘He wrote to me every day too.’’
But what Bill did not know was that the pair’s first child had been growing in Lorna’s belly since his departure and she was to give birth before his return.
‘‘Our first son was born on August 4,’’ Lorna said.
‘‘I had too much fluid and I had a seizure, so they rushed me to Echuca to have him.’’
After 7 months, the Pittaways’ first son Kevin was born.
‘‘I didn’t even know we’d had a baby until the week after he was born,’’ Bill said.
After the distress of her first birth, Lorna and Bill waited four years before they welcomed their second son Dennis, who died some years later in a road accident.
‘‘I was in hospital seven weeks before I had our next one,’’ she said, to ensure she would be okay.
Upon his return from World War II, Bill began working at the butchers again, spending 80 years all together as a butcher, and the pair went about building their first home.
‘‘After the war, Lorna’s uncle who was a carpenter offered us his house for 1000 pound and I thought that was too much money,’’ Bill said.
‘‘Well, a few years later in 1950 I paid 2500 pound to build our house,’’ he laughed at the memory.
The home was not easy to build, with the economy still suffering from the depression.
‘‘I painted every single board myself,’’ Lorna said.
‘‘It was hard to get anything.
‘‘It was an awful job just to get a bath and power.’’
Keen gardeners, the couple grew a beautiful garden that Lorna said she still missed.
Having moved to Shepparton from their home in Rochester in July 2016, Lorna and Bill said they still felt as though Lockington and Rochester was always ‘‘home’’.
But living in Harmony Village’s independent living units in Shepparton, she and Bill enjoy their new abode where they can be close to their family and will no doubt enjoy many more years of happy marriage.