It was his pink shirt that first attracted Thoreen Mann to her husband, Wilbur.
“I was working in a cafe, and he was sitting on a push bike wearing a pink shirt with little black spots,” Mrs Mann said.
“I said to my friend ‘I like the shirt’ and she thought I said I like him, so she went and told him.”
“He came over, started speaking to me, we went to the movies and then a few months later we were married.
I think if my friend hadn’t gone over to him, we never would have met. So I’m glad she did.
“He is always a kind, caring person. He was very shy, and kept to himself. Always a hard worker, he worked as a fettler on the railways, and then during his holidays, he worked on farms.”
When they said their vows on July 12, 1958, Thoreen was only 16, and Wilbur just 21.
In the past 60 years, they have been parents to five, grandparents to 13, and great-grandparents to nine.
“I had my first child when I was 17. By the time I was 20, I had had three children, so I often felt like I lost my teen years to child rearing.
“But I was still young as a grandparent, and as a great-grandmother so it’s all worked out well.”
After living in Sydney for many years, they have been back in their hometown for the past two decades, and are now preparing to celebrate their 60th anniversary.
The couple admit they have seen their share of tragedy and pain, including having lost one of their children to a sudden heart attack when he was only 42 years old.
But the secret to their long life together has been their willingness to face hardships together.
You marry for better or worse, in those days we really meant that.
“If you have a problem, you talk it out, don’t just sweep it away and pretend to ignore it because that will only make it worse.”
A surprise party was planned for this Thursday, but had to be cancelled when Mr Mann’s health took a turn.
Having spent several weeks in hospital, Mrs Mann is now looking forward to celebrating a quiet day with him at home.
“We’ve never been into parties, a nice lunch at home with our family would be all we could ask for,” she said.
“Wilbur is the kind of man who is happy if his family is happy,” she said.