It’s a love story built on calling Penrith home, and Russell and Alison Johnson are celebrating almost 65 years of marriage this Valentine’s Day.
The heart of the community runs through their family, with relatives who once owned the Red Cow Hotel and Thornton Hall when they were young.
“We courted for five years and then we married in 1952,” Mrs Johnson said.
“The years have gone by so quickly, it’s hard to think they add up to 64.
“We’ve had a fun life. Russell is the type of person that every morning I wake up and before I get out of bed, he has me having a giggle about something.”
They’ve lived in their white weatherboard home for 63 years, and have never felt the desire to leave the area where they fell in love.
Mr Johnson cheekily remembers first meeting his wife catching the train one morning before they commuted to work.
“I saw her in a short skirt, and thought ‘oh, she’s got a nice pair of legs’,” Mr Johnson laughed.
He fondly recalls taking Alison to dances where they had some of the best days of their lives.
“When you get married, you always want to ask questions. The minister or priest says ‘for better or for worse…’ you forget about the worst parts,” he joked.
Mrs Johnson was quick to quip back, reminding him he hasn’t had many of the worst parts in their marriage.
She believes the success of their long and happy marriage is honest communication.
“If you have a difference of opinion, talk it out before it gets too far. Never go to bed on an argument,” Mrs Johnson said.
Her husband agrees, saying that you have to “live life to the fullest”.
“Nothing is ever as bad as what it feels. There is always something coming up on the bright side somewhere along the line. You’ve just got to ride the bad out,” he said.
With four children, 18 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren with another on the way, the pair are delighted to have two family weddings coming up.
The happy couple are looking forward to dancing together again like old times.
Emily Newton is the Weekender’s police and political reporter. Emily is also the Weekender’s Senior Journalist.