Jack and Barbara’s 70-year love story a celebration of family, hard work, and ballroom dancing

© Provided by ABC NEWS
Jack and Barbara Glazbrook 70 years from the day they were married, on April 28, 1951. (ABC Riverland: Catherine Heuzenroeder)

It was in the aftermath of World War II that Jack Glazbrook met Barbara Addison.

She had just turned 17, he was 21 and had already been to war and back.

He knew that life could be too short.

So he took a chance on love and on that first meeting the pair talked so long that Barbara earned the ire of her father by returning home on her bicycle after dark.

“I thought she was the best thing since sliced bread,” Mr Glazbrook said.

The analogy earns him a chuckle and a quick response from his wife. 

“Oh, I love to be compared to sliced bread.”

The Glazbrooks married in the Adelaide suburb of College Park on April 28, 1951.

Their union thrived through five children, a move from the city to the countryside to start a new venture growing fruit in Renmark and, in retirement, ballroom dancing.

Practical start to dream day

Their wedding day had a nod to practicality with Ms Glazbrook’s sister holding hers at the same church just hours earlier to make it easier for guests and save on wedding costs.

“She had her wedding at 3:00pm, we had ours at 6:30pm, so everyone could come to both weddings,” Ms Glazbrook said.

Yet the day was still brimming with love and hope for the future.

“I remember it well. I had plenty of nerves on that day. It was a big move and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it since. She’s been a wonderful wife, mother, and grandmother,” Mr Glazbrook said.

After their wedding the couple moved into a house they built in Adelaide.

Mr Glazbrook worked as a carpenter while Ms Glazbrook, a florist by trade, was soon caring for their first child, a daughter Meredith, who arrived 15 months after their wedding.

A second daughter, Carolyn, was born and, after a three-year gap, they had their sons Colin, Graham, and Wesley.

Starting out in the countryside

In 1958, they decided to leave the city with three young children in tow and bought a block to grow fruit in the Riverland.

“Things were pretty tight for a while because we didn’t have any experience with fruit growing, but I hope I was a quick learner and things gradually got better all the time. It was a wonderful life for the kids,” Mr Glazbrook said.

His wife agreed.

“They were never rich, but they were always loved and they never went short of a meal,” she said.

They were frugal years and Ms Glazbrook remembers staying up late after the children were in bed to sew clothes for the children.

“She would be up half the night making these clothes, and the children were always well dressed,” Mr Glazbrook said.

Contrary cow, family life and dancing

They remember life on the farm, growing their own produce, even milking a cow they had been given by a relative.

“I had to learn how to milk the cow and I tell you what, a cow can make you very cross very quickly. They are very contrary things,” Mr Glazbrook said.

As his wife witnessed.

“That’s the only time I’ve seen him wild. I saw him take his straw hat off one day and whack the cow with it.”

They were both involved with the children’s school activities, and Mr Glazbrook also served on local horticultural boards while Ms Glazbrook juggled occasional work as a wedding florist and interviewer for the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

As their children left home and life quietened down the Glazbrooks found another great love — ballroom dancing.

“That took all of our Saturdays away from us and we enjoyed ballroom dancing for 20 years, probably the best years of our life was having the dancing,” Mr Glazbrook said, which his wife quickly clarified.

“Apart from the children, the best years of our retirement were 20 years of dancing.”

A fortunate life together

They still live independently in their own home and reckon the years have been kind to them, although they both had knee replacements they blame on driving an old tractor with a dodgy clutch.

Mr Glazbrook attended a recent Anzac service in Renmark as one of the last surviving World War II veterans in the region.

He pauses and his eyes grow moist as he remembers those war years, where as a young man he picked up starved and abused prisoners of war.

“It was horrific, to see them. Some couldn’t walk at all, they were just skin stretched over their bones,” he said.

The memory is a sobering one.

The couple sit quietly for a moment, perhaps thinking they have been fortunate to share such a long life and happy life together.

“Some people don’t have 70 years of life and we’ve had 70 years together,” Ms Glazbrook said.

And in all that time, Mr Glazbrook said they have always been able to count on each other — and they offer the same advice to other couples.

“Have faith in each other and support each other in adversity.”

Source: Thanks msn.com