If you live in Christchurch, you may have read this beautiful story in Southern View or Western News papers yesterday about Betty and Marge, who celebrated 75 years of this year, a milestone which coincides with International Day of Friendship today (July 30).
Betty is actually the mother-in-law of Linda, Eldernet’s General Manager – so the team are particularly excited to see her story published. Read our full story below or view it online.
Much has changed since 15-year-old Betty Small and 16-year-old Marjorie Ainsworth first met on a softball field in 1946. There have been weddings, (the pair were each other’s bridesmaids) births and countless other milestones along the way. What hasn’t changed, however, is the close bond between the two.
This year the Christchurch residents are celebrating 75 years as best friends. Their milestone coincides with the 10th International Day of Friendship on July 30, a United Nations initiative that promotes friendship between people, countries, cultures, and individuals as a way of inspiring peace efforts and building bridges between communities.
Betty visits Marjorie at her residential care home whenever she can, and regardless of how long it has been since they’ve seen each other, Betty says the conversation flows as though it never stopped. They enjoy reminiscing about their early days – and there have certainly been some memorable moments. There were the softball games of course (with celebrations or commiserations held at the pub afterward), their jobs at Well Cut, and all the fun they used to have in town on a Friday night.
Over time, they’ve both become parents (Betty is now a proud great-grandmother) but also – sadly – widows. Throughout everything, Betty and Marjorie have always been there for each other. So, how have they managed to maintain their long-lasting friendship? As Betty explains, it’s important to make time for each other, otherwise, life will inevitably get in the way.
“It wasn’t easy once we were married and had children and we didn’t have phones at home the way they do now. We didn’t drive at the time either but occasionally I would get the train into town from Lyttleton with the pram and the nappies and travel in the guard’s van to see Marge. It would have been nice to see each other more regularly but when we did, it was like we’d never been apart.”
For Marjorie, what it means to be a good friend comes down to one thing. “Someone who is always there for you.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.