DEREK Cotton could not remember what his beloved’s face looked like as she waited for him at the flicks.
The young woman he danced and walked home with – and her blue, velvet-collared coat – was no where to be seen.
But suddenly Nan emerged, her voice bringing her face suddenly into focus as she called out to him.
“I met her at the cinemas and didn’t recognise her because she was wearing a different coat,” Derek said.
“I just could not remember her face and then she stepped forward.”
Derek said he and Nan had had plenty of fun throughout their six decades together.
The Alexandra Hills couple will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on March 7.
Nan’s father did not approve of their wedding plans at first, Derek said.
The 20-year-old, who had served with the Army in Germany, had no prospects, cash or prestige.
Derek handled the rejection by getting work on a tramp steamer bound for Rio de Janeiro.
He later got a telegram saying Nan’s father had relented.
Nan had since moved out from her childhood home to Derek’s parents’ place in protest.
“He objected,” Derek said. “He wouldn’t give her away. I can’t blame him.”
The two emigrated to Australia as Ten Pound Poms with their children in 1965, arriving on Nan’s Birthday in May.
The Cotton family set up a home at Carina Heights before moving to Alexandra Hills in 1973.
Derek worked on building sites and was later a Commonwealth car driver for three decades, with Nan taking up work as a kitchen hand and later house maid at the National Hotel at Queen Street.
Nan was there for two decades, starting her employment after the National Hotel royal commission, which was a forerunner of the Fitzgerald commission to uncover police corruption.
“During her time in National Hotel, the manager was murdered, there were two major fires plus the odd robbery,” Derek said.
“She also discovered a suicide in one of the rooms.”
Derek said he and Nan once enjoyed going on trips across Australia in their retirement, but had since taken taken up cruising.
They both worked casually as invigilators. That is, people who watch over students doing exams.
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