“I spent four years in the war. It was terrible. I was eighteen years old at the time and I became a flight engineer on the Lancaster bombers. 

I got married during the war and we were two opposites. She was entirely different to me in her way of life, and I was entirely different to her. We blended together for 73 years with no trouble! We never fell out. In those days you remained married for life. Tolerance was the key to the long relationship. It meant letting her win! 

We were apart for four years in the beginning which also had a big impact on us. She was was a cook in the Air Force and was based in Scotland and I was in Durham. We used to meet every three months when we first got married…

I never knew if I would be around tomorrow.

I lost a lot of friends. Back then, you didn’t make friends all that much because you didn’t know who would still be around the next day. You lived for the day. But that’s not a problem nowadays. You expect a tomorrow, whereas we were forced to live for today. 

I used to do a lot of jobs in my retirement. I’d help paint houses. I always found something to do. Time never stood still. I was happy right up until the point when I lost my wife. Everything was alright until then. We used to go on cruises. We’d go on lots of holidays. After that, I realised that life was finished! I might as well sit around and wait for the end to come. I turned 96 in May.”

☕️ 119/500 📌 Colchester, England

About 500 Coffees ☕️

I'm on a mission to get coffee with 500 strangers from all over the world. I want to speak to humans everywhere about their lives and how they experience the world. And cafes are the perfect place for this. Comfortable, cosy, illuminated with a cacophony of other human voices. 

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