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Keith and Dorothy Popham celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary as they were married on 10th August 1955. The family celebrated at 'The Hideaway' at Lochiel. Keith and Dorothy's memory about the day was......
Keith Popham first saw his future wife at the tram stop on Elles Road where Dorothy rode the tram from work at the Southland Savings Bank, where she worked as a Personal Assistant to William John Pierce, the then Manager of the Savings Bank. Keith use to catch the tram to go into town after his shift from working at the Milk Treatment Station in Nith Street. Keith said this woman looked “pretty hot” so asked her to a St Mary’s dance the following Saturday Night. Dorothy accepted and went with her best friend Cynthia Garrett, who use to bike in from Bay Road. After attending the St Mary’s dance on Saturday Night, the Fire Station dance on a Wednesday night and the YMCA dance on the Friday night – Keith and Dorothy knew they were destined for a long future together.
Dorothy was living with her parents Jim and Bertha Phillips in Crinan Street and Keith always had his Sunday roast lunch with the Phillips so got to know them well. After 4 years of dating Keith asked Jim for his daughter’s hand in marriage and took Dorothy to Dunedin to purchase the engagement ring. Of course, they stayed at separate houses, Keith at friends of Ollie and Wag’s and Dorothy at Gordon and Elsies. The next morning Keith went round to see Dorothy and Elsie, said “sorry Keith but a cop just called round on a Harley and Dorothy is on the back. Keith looked up the road and saw this motor bike flying round the corner with Dorothy on the back and her arms wrapped tightly round this nice looking masculine cop. He realised then he would always have to be on his toes.
They announced the engagement at Dorothy’s 21st party, which was held upstairs at the ‘Red Cherry’. It was a big occasion with Margaret and Digger Popham, Lenore and Ron Popham, Mavis Breayley, Ollie and Wag and all her bank friends.
They set the wedding date for 15 months time to give Bertha and Jim enough time to get their monies together to pay for the wedding. Dorothy paid for the wedding party dresses, which were made by a family friend, Mrs Buchanan. Dorothy’s dress was lace over satin and had a beautiful gathered bodice and scallop neckline. The bridesmaids were a beautiful lemon colour.
The wedding party was:
Bestman – Keith Westbury
Groomsman – George Gordon
Chief Bridesmaid – Eleanor Phillips
Bridesmaid – Cynthia Garrett
The day arrived and was a beautiful sunny spring day. The girls showered (a shower over the bath) and washed their hair and put a comb through it. They did their own makeup and nails. Photos were taken out on the lawn before going to the church, with June Phillips and her younger brother who was 13 at the time, John Phillips.
Blue Star taxis arrived with all the bells and whistles and took them to the Knox Church around the corner. There was a fracas in the church when the Reverend Bob Scott, who had a deep droning voice, said “Do you Dorothy May Phillips”, well Margaret Popham started laughing and the more she tried to stifle the laugh the worse it got. The laugh was infectious and the whole church could not stop. Dorothy and Keith have not heard the vows to this day.
They left the church for photos at a studio upstairs in Don Street, when they pulled up the whole of Southland Savings Bank were outside on the pavement wolf whistling and cheering.
The reception was held at the Herbert Haines tearooms upstairs in Cambridge Place. There was a hot meal and dessert, then back to Jim and Bertha’s for ‘knees-up’. There was plenty of drink and Margaret Popham played the piano, Dorothy changed into her going away outfit and they got ready to leave.
They got the train to Gore and the first night of their marriages was spent at the Railway Hotel – Gore. Upon arrival and signing in at the reception, a group of truckies were drinking in the bar and yelled out to Dorothy and Keith to come and join them, Keith said “Sorry it is our wedding night”.
The next morning when entering the restaurant for breakfast there was complete silence, and Keith said it was like walking the ‘walk of shame’, as it was complete silence and all eyes were on them. They sat down and a truckie said “Sleep alright”. Keith replied “Yes”. He then said “Do you know these walls are paper thin” – Dorothy and Keith blushed and could not reply. Then as they were leaving to go back to pack, the truckie said “Son, slow down, it’s a long road”. Keith and Dorothy never did go back to check out whether the walls were paper thin!
Anyway on their three week honeymoon round the South Island, Dorothy had only one request and that was to see a monkey. Keith took her to the Blenheim Zoo, where Dorothy took her glove off to feed a monkey some nuts. The monkey grabbed her glove and wiped his butt with it then handed it back. Keith still laughs to this day, the look on Dorothy’s face.
Back home, their home at 87 Dipton Street was still not finished so they moved in with Jim and Bertha till 5th December 1955 when they finally moved into their new home. In March of 1956 Dorothy told her work she was pregnant and they told her that she would have to finish up there and then.
Wayne was born on 9/10/1956, Trev 21/10/1958, Craig 30/5/1961 and Gary 20/7/1964 and the rest is history……………………………………
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