Warding off roaming ghosts and 50 years of wedded bliss.


My paternal grandparents wedding photo at Krasnapolsky Hotel, Amsterdam.

It is not for nothing that Halloween almost coincides with the day we decided to give our fondness for each other a legal format. We hopped into the registrar’s office in Finland and got married on 30th Oct 1965. That was fifty years ago! Notice my hesitancy to avoid the word ‘love’ and call it ‘fondness’ instead. ‘Love’ is so overused in English, it never quite seems to sum it up as when that same word is conjured up in other languages. A Europhobe might agree.  I mean ‘aimer’ or ‘lieben’  ring differently, does it not?. They say ‘Oh, I really love hot chips with vinegar.’ I can’t imagine translating that  literally in many other languages. Love in Dutch is ‘liefde or ‘lief hebben’ and that noun or verb could never be used in the context of hot chips with vinegar. But there you are;  different strokes for different folks.

We are both not sentimental. Birthdays, Sundays, wedding days and even Christmas days come and go without too much fanfare. We prefer to make each day  good or at least bearable. Not that we dance around the table or eat lots of cake but we do enjoy each other’s company more than anything. Our wedding 50th year almost completely passed us when a good friend phoned us up on the evening of 30th of October, asking us if we knew  what day it was. I racked my brains off. Was it a special rugby day or something about a horse race? There has been a lot of attention on both events the last few days. Our dear friend reminded me it was our fiftieth wedding day. It was a surprise; Holey Moley!

When I told Helvi it was our fiftieth wedding, she shouted into the phone, ‘oh what a ‘journey’ this has been’. It has been a bit of an inside joke amongst our friends, that popular parlance on psychiatry’s couches often refers to the difficulties of a life as being on a ‘journey’.  The solution to unhappiness is to transfer our fixation by thinking of all that as being on a journey. A bit like a Thomas Cook trip on the Nile or the sighting of a bear in Alaska.

Gold is of course the traditional gift that couples give to each other on their 50th, but it so happens that even in the area of precious metal, we are in complete unison. We don’t like the  yellow metal. We prefer silver. I mean my dearest H does.  Both metals are resistant to corrosion. I don’t know whether that is significantly related to longevity in relationships.

Try and look up 50th wedding anniversaries and all you get are lists and lists of what to shop for, how unromantic. The whole idea of celebrating anything has been hijacked by commerce and shopping. Christmas, Halloween, normal birthdays, weddings, it is all about shopping. A couple of days ago we were in a large shopping mall. Helvi was looking for some gift. A poor and somewhat oversized shop assistant girl at Big W was dressed in a long black gown with a black cape. She was carrying a large black painted carton axe.  Her cheeks had a white paste and there was pretend blood dribbling down her chin. She looked lugubrious.  I did not know what she was supposed to do but the poor girl just kept standing there. Every few minutes she looked at her watch. It would have been so silly, so degrading. Helvi explained this was probably something to do with the Halloween night that was coming. The girl was there to excite customers in spending money on all sorts of paraphernalia to do with Halloween.

Our 50th went and is gone now. We are getting old and understand pain so much better than the young. We have been each others best friends through so much. What more could one want?

We went to see a movie ‘The Dressmaker’ which had Kate Winslet, Judy Davis and Hugo Weaver in it. We all know that Judy Davis is the best actor ever produced in Australia. The film was alright but produced a lot of laughter from mainly slapstick humour. I worried why I wasn’t laughing as much as the rest of the patrons. The man siting next to me was on an almost permanent laughter, guffawing even during the more serious parts. I started to again worry about my reluctance to join in. Surely, someone who was hit by a Singer  sewing machine was worthwhile laughing about? No, it wasn’t. I was greatly relieved that my lovely H did not join in laughter either. And, let me add, that she is a great laugher. Her laughter is infectious. It is a hearty throaty laugh, infectious to others and it comes effortless. It is one reason amongst many others, we are celebrating our 50th fondness for each other.

Feel free to congratulate us.

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33 Responses to “Warding off roaming ghosts and 50 years of wedded bliss.”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    But of course I’ll say congratulations, and not just because it’s free! It’s good your fondness has apparently grown through the years. Big hugs to both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dorothy brett Says:

    Very happy to congratulate you both you have always given me back my faith in mankind when I watch how you have both negotiatedyour way thru life for the nearly forty years that I’ve known you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Dorothy we have gone through the years together through thick and thin.(more thick than thin). It is the give and take that makes us tick along. Did you know I am still looking for an imitation Dutch grandfather’s clock that has one of my landscape paintings on the dial. I did hundreds of them in Holland between 1973/76

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Andrew Says:

    I do congratulate you both Gerard. 50 is a splendid achievement. So few stay the course. You have shared much of your past with us and I for one admire you both enormously – role models in many ways. And Milo too. Happy anniversary.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Boy, am I glad to hear from you. I was getting worried. I tried to find an e-mail address but could not contact you. Hope you are in fine form. Did you cheer for the All Blacks or Wallabies?
      We and especially Helvi, cheered for the NZ All Blacks. Serves Australia right for deporting Kiwis who done nothing more than lurked from a bong or two, perhaps even grew a handy crop.
      I thought you might have had a problem with your ticker or perhaps you escaped the UK’s winter and are in HK.
      Let us know and show us a picture or two.
      Thank you for the congrats. I told Milo the good news.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Add our congratulations to your list Gerard and Helvi. Fifty years is a long time. Since we recently passed the 69year mark, 50 seems a long time ago. Yes, celebrating each day is far better than leaving it to just one. Dr. A says “Keep it up”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Well, sixty nine years is truly a record. I think there is lot in what your good Dr, A is advising. Or is that tautology? I’ll give it some more thought.
      Hope your move is not too hard. Take it easy!


  5. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Gerard you almost without fail cause me to laugh. I don’t laugh easily either but you are FUNNY! Congratulations on making it to 50 years. My first and only husband and I were married October 10,1963. We made it to not quite 47 years before his death. We never celebrated either but I always remembered.

    Oh yes, and silver is my metal of choice too. For some reason, I think is looks more classy. Or whatever. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Ivonne. 47 years is a good inning too. Helvi laughs easy and naturally. With me it is more hard work but not impossible.The gold metal looks too shiny and borders on the pretentious. Silver is more modest. You are right…classy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I’ll add my congratulations to you and Helvi, Gerard. 50 years is one heck of an accomplishment, any way you want to look at it. I am not allowed to forget important events around here. I’d be banished to some very cold place. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Curt. People live so much longer now. I don’t feel 75 which is odd because I do look it. Mirrors ought to be censored. We both are not too fussed about ‘special’ days. We do make each day as comfortable and interesting as possible. We ‘fiddle’ around, some could say.
      Great post by your Peggy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        Fiddling around is good, Gerard. And I can sense that you and Helvi have a fun and loving relationship. As do Peggy and I— as long as I remember her birthday. LOL And yes, she did do a great post. –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Forestwoodfolkart Says:

    Congratulations, Gerard Happy anniversary. May there be many more years of wedded bliss with dear Helvi. Sometimes I think it is a mindset before you see a film. Even if it is not funny, and you want to like it, you will laugh more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      ‘The Dressmaker’ will be popular I think. Some people clapped afterwards. That is a good sign.
      Thank you for the congratulation. Fifty years went and now for the next 10 or so. I make it sound like a slog but it wasn’t. Life goes quickly. It seems like yesterday when I went to Finland and got married.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. berlioz1935 Says:

    “Feel free to congratulate us.”

    I’ll do just that, “Happy Anniversary!”

    You and Helvi you have reached a milestone. Those round numbers are an encouragement to reflect. I have no preference for any metal. Brass looks as good as gold.

    We went to our grandson’s wedding last Saturday. They married late and when their golden anniversary comes around they will be much older than at our sixties. When that day comes around they will say, “Do you remember Granddad? Pity, he died forty years ago. He was still dancing on our wedding. But who can dance in this 50° heat nowadays?. Well, our PM promised to do something about it after the next election – more likely it won’t happen before the turn of the century.”
    “Yes, Darling,” his wife of fifty years will say, “we will be all fried by then.”

    Anyway, we wish you many more happy years together to enjoy in the shade of your beautiful backyard.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Peter and Uta,
      Hope you had a nice wedding of the grandson. We might have to wait as our eldest are just 15.

      Our back yard has never been more beautiful than right now. The salvia is two metres high and waving with the slightest breeze in front of the window. Almost like magic, saying a welcoming hello.

      I don’t know what happened to our intended visit to Berkelouw’s, but we too have been busy and are invited to visit my brother at Toronto this week. We shall see!

      Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        Yes, we have been pretty busy too. I am sure some time this month there’s going to be an opportunity to meet you and Helvi, and we’re very much looking forward to this! In the meantime have a great time with your brother at Toronto! 🙂


  9. nonsmokingladybug Says:

    Happy anniversary. 50 Years is quiet an accomplishment. You are right the word “Love” is overused in the English language. I love the food, the dog and my spouse. 🙂 I use these special words still in my language.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. rodhart (@roderick_hart) Says:

    A wonderful post. Like you, I avoid the word ‘love’ since I’m not sure i know what it really means. Affection I understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ThePoliticalVagina Says:

    Funny bugger! Happy fond 50th and hearty congratulations 🙂


  12. Rosie Says:

    Well done you two! These comments say it all.


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