Shipboard romance that endured
Tuesday, 11th March, 2014
By Ethan James
They met at sea, courted in England, raised a family in Canada and now reside in Broken Hill.
Barry and Doreen Gresham plan to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in the Silver City.
“In 1952 we met in Marcy in France when we were travelling on the Ontario - a ship between there and England,” Barry said.
“In those days there was often romance on the ship and then people went on with their lives but we stayed together.”
But Barry, now 85, and Doreen, 81, were married on Canadian soil in 1954, two years after meeting on that life-changing voyage.
“In early ‘54 we had something of a blue and I left for Canada but when I got there I felt something was missing,” Barry recalls.
“I wrote her a letter saying that I’d pay for her travel expenses if she came over to marry me.
“She said yes and here we are today.”
Doreen said a frank discussion with her mother gave her the all-clear.
“She said that if it didn’t work out, she would cover the fair back,” she laughed.
The coupled settled in the Ontario region of Canada, where they raised Ken, Bruce and Heather who still reside in the country.
“They have been out to visit and all say it’s fairly hot,” Doreen said.
Barry, who has a background in accounting and office management, moved to Sydney in the early ‘80s.
Doreen was employed as a medical secretary before the pair found their way out to the far west when Barry got a job on a pilot project working with indigenous people.
When asked the obvious question about the secret to a long lasting marriage, Barry had a simple answer.
“Well, the first is obviously love,” he said.
“The second rule is that you’re allowed to get mad but make sure that you never get mad at the same time.
Looking past those pearls of wisdom, it is evident that a sense of humour has played a large role in the duo’s longevity.
“And I make sure I always get in the last word ... and they are always the same two: ‘yes dear’,” Barry laughed.
The couple celebrated on the weekend before having a “quiet dinner” for their official anniversary on Thursday.
“We have been blessed exceptionally, despite Doreen suffering a mild stroke we are still able to enjoy life,” Barry said.