What is it that keeps a couple together for 64 years? For one couple in Sooke the answer is slowly getting to know one another.
Rev. David and Dorothy Brown recently celebrated their 64th anniversary in Sooke by going out to Mom’s Cafe for a meal. Nothing too extreme, but well suited to the couple who lives quietly by the Strait of Juan de Fuca along West Coast Road.
They have had their share of happiness and sadness in their 80 plus years.
David is 85 and Dorothy is 84 and they met 66 years ago in Portsmouth, England on the day peace was declared in Europe. They married in 1947 in India when David was stationed there with the Royal Army Service Corp.
Of the experience in India, Dorothy said they “liked it very much, especially the curry and rice.”
David remembers climbing up one of the minarets in the Taj Mahal. They lived in the married quarters and had a cook and a young boy who did chores. Dorothy was the only English bride there. By the time of the Indian partition the couple was back in England. But life in England after the war was not easy, rationing existed in the country until 1951 and it was then that the couple set out for Canada. Three of their four children were born in England, one was born in Ontario.
They left the vestiges of war behind but the memories traveled along with them.
David still recalls the invasion on D Day.
“It started with absolute hell the day before,” he said. “We were under sail at midnight the day before the landing and the sea was rougher than it gets on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. In the morning we landed at 7:05 a.m. and were the second wave. We landed right where a French woman was shooting at us, she had sympathies with the Germans. We blew the whole house down.”
His memories are vivid and he holds no warm and fuzzy memories of the war. He never did figure out why he was spared in the war until a time when Evangelist Billy Graham was in England and David made his commitment.
“He was guided along a step at a time,” said Dorothy in regard to David’s journey into theology and the church.
The couple spent most of their working life in Saskatchewan and Alberta then retired to Sooke 20 years ago. One of their daughters had moved to Vancouver Island and the couple liked the area when they visited.
Dorothy said David was born on the south coast of England and the ocean climate suited him so much better than the harsh prairie climate.
They have seen a lot of changes in Sooke over the last 20 years, but still feel like it has a small town atmosphere. They love and appreciate the rural surroundings but David said, “politically it’s been a mess, locally and provincially.”
Not one to mince words, when asked if it was love at first sight, David said, “no.”
They said they grew into it. After writing letters to each other for 18 months, David proposed in a letter.
“He told me he got to know me through my letters,” said Dorothy.
“I think we’ve both been really blessed to be able to live together so long.”