Today I am going to tell you a real-life love story – this amazing story belongs to Calvin (Cole’s uncle) and Didge, his beautiful wife. These two people hold a very special place in my heart – not only because they are family, but because they are amazing human beings with so much love and compassion for others. They truly deserve all the happiness in the world, and this just goes to prove… good things happen to good people.
Calvin and Didge met in 1966 when they were just 15-years old in Rhodesia through a mutual friend. They saw each other during the school holidays despite the fact that Didge lived all the way out in the country in Mazoe and Calvin in Salisbury. Calvin would ride out with his friend, Jack, on a motorbike to see Didge and watch their friends bands play. (Keep in mind, this was before cellphones!)
Didge left school a couple of years later and moved to Salisbury having found work in the city and was staying in a youth hostel. She walked to work every day, little did she know that Calvin lived just down the road from her in Rhodes Avenue. One morning they bumped into each other on the corner, they happened to be going in the same direction on their way to work. This became a regular thing and as they had always fancied each other and had been friends, Calvin mustered up the courage to ask Didge out soon after. From there on they were inseparable, but of course the inevitable happened and Calvin had to leave to do a long stint in the army. Calvin was conscripted into the army at Bulawayo, Llewellyn Barracks. It was compulsory for all guys to join the army back then. He was away for 18 months and Didge would travel to see him from Salisbury whenever she had a break. Once Calvin finished his initial training, he was posted out to the Bush and mostly did his time in the Kariba area where Didge would drive out to see him.
When Calvin’s time in the army was up he decided to travel to Cape Town to see if he could find work and accommodation for Didge and himself. Back then Cape Town was where all the young people from Rhodesia went, it was the place to be. Calvin also had relatives there and two of their dearest friends, Andy and Avril, were already living there. Didge travelled to Cape Town to stay with him during her leave and absolutely fell in love with the beautiful city. “I was so happy and could see our lives together all so easily. We planned to get married, live and work there. We were madly in love.”
Everything was pretty much sorted and Didge went home to let her family know of her plans, but unfortunately her father did not take the news too well. Didge and her father had a troubled relationship and never got on very well, he gave her an ultimatum – back then parents actually had a huge say in what their children did, believe it or not. Didge’s father hated Calvin and told her that if she married him she would never be allowed back home, that she would never be able to see her dear mother again and that she would be completely disowned and ostracized by the family. In the end Didge could not bare to lose her mother, whom she loved very much, and had no choice but to let go of Calvin. Needless to say, they were both left with broken hearts. Calvin flew back to Salisbury and begged Didge to change her mind, but she could not… she knew that her father would have made their lives hell.
Years went by and Didge met David, her late husband. They knew each other from school and he could do no wrong in her father’s eyes. Their parents were family friends and her father encouraged their relationship so of course they got married and moved to the U.K. “He was a wonderful man and we had a very happy marriage. I have been lucky enough to have done amazing things – gone around the world, and done things people can only dream of.” Didge never stopped loving Calvin and always checked up on what he was doing, where had he ended up etc. “I always tried to find out about him, looked in telephone directories to see if I could speak to him or his family. See if they still lived in Cape Town, was he still married etc.”
After seven years battling with Leukemia, David sadly died in 2000. Didge was devastated, they had been happily married for 29 years. She had no family in the UK and her and David never had children. After quite some time she started to look for Calvin, one day she looked on the Rhodesian website and found who she thought might be Calvin’s sister, Julie (my beautiful mother-in-law). In early March 2009 she sent an email to her asking if she was in fact Calvin’s sister. At the time, the family was away in Plettenberg Bay on holiday and there was no-one to respond to Didge’s e-mail. “I just thought I had the wrong Julie, or that perhaps it wasn’t wise for Calvin to contact me.”
The day that e-mail was opened it was like the Queen of England herself had contacted Julie. I remember so clearly, everyone was beside themselves knowing full well that Calvin had never stopped loving Didge. He had married and gotten divorced, no one ever came close to his love for Didge so it just never worked out. Alan (my father-in-law and Calvin’s best friend) immediately got on the phone to tell Calvin and the very next day, Calvin contacted Didge. We were all in tears, it was like something out of a movie… and the rest is history. Calvin went to his beautiful Didge and they were lucky enough that neither of them were in any relationship so no-one’s hearts needed to be broken. “I am now finally married to my darling, my first love. We will be married six years in September, but it feels like we have never been apart. I truly believe that had I been brave enough to have ignored my father’s threats, we would have raised children together and still be living in Cape Town, but life leads us in different directions for whatever reason. Calvin is a kind, loving, caring and forever understanding husband. I love him dearly and know we will continue to share our lives together.”
So, after about 40+ years of never stopping loving each other, they are now finally spending their days together in Woodchurch, England. Their story has thought me to always hold on to the one I love, to cherish him and never let go. Love will prevail… true love is something that many people search for and never find – I am lucky enough to have found my soul mate early in my life.
Happy Valentines Day everyone.