West Mountain couple first met in 1942
By Mark Newman, News Staff
Norm and Babs Elley celebrated Valentine’s Day a bit early this year.
On Monday Norm surprised Babs with a bouquet of flowers at the Sackville Hill Seniors Recreation Centre where they are regular visitors.
The couple will celebrate 69 years of marriage on April 1st.
Norm, now 93, recalled meeting Babs, who is 88, for the first time in 1942 at the old Alexander roller skating rink on James North.
“It was ladies choice and she came over and asked me to skate,” Norm said.
The couple, who have been valentines ever since, will celebrate their 69th wedding anniversary on April 1st.
Norm said he slipped an engagement ring on Babs’ finger while they were dancing at the old Brant Inn in late March 1944.
He was on leave at the time from the Royal Canadian Navy.
The couple originally planned to marry six months later but moved the date up so that Babs could get a higher military spousal allowance from the federal government.
“We arranged everything in one week,” said Norm, who noted he and Babs and eventually their two children, shared a variety of activities from skiing to fishing over the years.
What is the key to their happiness over nearly seven decades?
“Fight like hell,” Norm joked. “But if you have a fight, resolve it before you go to bed.”
While Valentine’s Day is no longer a big deal for the Elleys, it remains one of the biggest if not the biggest day of the year for local florists.
At Jean’s Flower Shop on Upper Wellington, owner Debbie Thomson said they expect to have seven drivers on the road today (Thursday).
“We’re probably (doing) anywhere from 300 to 350 deliveries in the Hamilton area,” said Thomson, who noted red roses remain the primary choice for their mostly male clientele.
While they’ve been busy all week, Thomson said most city flower shops are stocked and ready for a lot of walk-in business throughout Valentines Day.
“We start at seven in the morning and we usually see about 200 people,” she said.
Thomson said she began ordering flowers for Valentines Day right after Christmas.
She noted most of the cut flowers come from green houses in Niagara, while the red roses often come from Ecuador.