Many happy returns to Mr and Mrs Laurence and Maxine Middleton, who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in April, and now live together at Resthaven Leabrook.
The couple explains that, when it was time for them to move into a residential aged care home, they were very relieved that they could stay together. Laurie explains, ‘if we were separated, it wouldn’t be good at all.’
Maxine agrees, saying, ‘After all these years, we know each other so well. We couldn’t be apart.’
She adds with a laugh that ‘They said it wouldn’t last, we were too young – well, we proved them wrong!’
The couple met in 1947 in Mount Barker. Laurie, then 24, says, ‘I was working at the NAB [National Australia Bank], and, in 1947, I got transferred to the NAB on Gawler Street.’
‘Maxine, who was 21, worked in the pharmacy across the road.’
Maxine says, ‘Laurie came in one day and that was it. That’s how we met.’
The couple were married at the Christchurch Church of England in Mount Barker on 22 April, 1950.
Maxine quit work at the pharmacy after her marriage, but would continue to volunteer in her local community throughout her life, including at the Glenelg South Meals on Wheels, and for the Red Cross.
The couple would go on to have four children, which also kept Maxine busy; ‘I used to volunteer at all the school canteens,’ she says. ‘I have cut and spread thousands of sandwiches!’
Thanks to Laurie’s job with the NAB, the couple moved around the country a lot in their early years. From 1954 – 1965, they lived in Quorn, Nuriootpa, Wallaroo, and Whyalla (where Laurie remembers the town ‘growing like a mushroom’).
Finally, in 1965, Laurie was transferred to Adelaide. They moved houses three times within the Adelaide metropolitan area, before finally ending up in Warradale in 1973. Here they would stay for the next 47 years, until their move into Resthaven Leabrook in May 2020.
When asked if they have a secret to their long marriage, Maxine says, ‘Laurie has his opinion, I have mine – we don’t necessarily agree, but it works.’
Laurie says, ‘Normally we agree on things,’ to which Maxine adds that ‘sometimes its important to agree to disagree’.
The couple have settled in beautifully to their new Resthaven home, with Maxine especially enjoying the meals on offer. ‘We’re always given a selection,’ she says, ‘They come around with the menus and you choose what you want.’
Laurie is equally happy, saying ‘I had eggs and bacon for breakfast this morning!’
They are both regular attendees at lifestyle activities, and always attend the seated exercises together.
‘It keeps you limbered up,’ as Laurie says; ‘They run that very well – in fact, it’s so popular they’re running two sessions now.’
‘We also like the music sessions and the movies. They show a lot of older movies.’
When not enjoying the lifestyle program, the couple spend time in each other’s rooms. Maxine says, ‘Laurie will come to my room and he’ll be reading a book on one side and I’ll be doing my crosswords.’
‘I really feel as though I’m home here. The staff are lovely.’
‘It’s very comfortable, we’re well looked after.’
Resthaven Leabrook is just one of Resthaven’s twelve high quality residential aged care homes located across South Australia. Resthaven also supports older people living in their own homes in the community with a range on in-home and centre-bases services, along with retirement living and respite for carers.