By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS
AT FIRST, Shirley didn’t think much of her future husband when they met at a Dandenong town hall dance more than 60 years ago.
When her suitor Neil Lowe – a blow-in from Richmond wearing a Victorian Scottish Regiment kilt – asked the Springvale lass if he could take her home, she told him he better have a “flash” car.
Neil, being quite the motoring enthusiast, produced a 1935 two-blues, six-cylinder Chevy.
“It was a flash car in those days,” he beams.
“He looked after that car like a baby,” Shirley said.
Even so, Shirley’s girlfriend also came along for the drive that night.
The wooing gathered apace.
Neil introduced Shirley to the inner-city – ice-skating at St Moritz, spiffy restaurants like the underground diner Orpheus with “flash knives and forks” and cabaret shows at the Tivoli theatre.
The pair built a cosy house on a big block with gum trees in Harrisfield.
They settled there for many years, metres from their two sons’ state school.
Now their two sons are in their 50s, spawning six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Neil and Shirley moved into a spacious comfortable home, still within their walking distance to Parkmore shopping centre.
Last month, the entrenched couple couldn’t be prouder of the stream of congratulatory letters from Queen Elizabeth II, Governor-General Peter Cosgrove and local MPs for their diamond wedding anniversary (60 years).
Dignitaries’ letters marking their 50th anniversary are framed and hung respectfully on a feature wall, along with handsome black-and-white photos of their wedding day at Church of Christ, Springvale, on 16 April 1955.
“It’s very nice to be thought of,” Shirley said.
Every day the couple walk together to Parkmore Shopping Centre. Their two sons are in their 50s.
They marked the occasion with a meal out at Keysborough Hotel on 16 April, backed up by a family event the following weekend.
“We’ve had a great life together,” Shirley said.
“We’ve been healthy most of the time.
“The best thing in marriage is to really communicate and be friends.”