Motorbike ride leads to 60 years of marriage

FOR a woman who didn't initially like motorcycles, Mary Bousen owes 60 years of wedded bliss to her first ride on one.

Young Mary Kelly like dancing and had been at the RSL Memorial Hall dance one Wednesday night when she met Robert Bousen, one year her junior.

Mary caught the eye of apprentice electrician Robert.

At the end of the night, Mary was heading up the street to catch the bus home when Robert offered her a lift home on his motorbike.


"Motorbike riders were referred to as 'bodgies' in those days and at the time I told him I wouldn't be seen dead on a motorbike," Mrs Bousen recalled.

"But I did that night."

"I told her to put her arm around me and hold on," Mr Bousen laughed.

In the ensuing week, Mr Bousen asked the young Mary to the movies at the Empire Theatre and that was to become the couple's first date.

Their 39th wedding anniversary happened to coincide with the re-opening of the renovated Empire Theatre on June 28, 1997, and The Chronicle ran a story celebrating the couple's return to the scene of their first date.

Mary Kelly and Robert Bousen were married in St James' Anglican Church in Toowoomba on June 28, 1958, after a three-year courtship.

"I was a fifth year apprentice electrician when I got married and Mary was working at Coles," Mr Bousen explained.

"When I finished my time, a mate of mine told me he was heading to New Guinea where he could make good money and suggested I do the same.

"I wanted to save for a deposit on a house so I went up to PNG where I worked for the government while Mary stayed here in Toowoomba and continued to work at Coles.

"So we spent our first anniversary apart.

"But you know, we wrote to each other every night."

The couple went onto have four children - Julie, Christopher, Kylie and Deanne - and now have 14 grandchildren and one three-year-old great-granddaughter with a great-grandson due in August.

Asked what was behind such a long, happy and successful marriage, Mrs Bousen was quick to jump in.

"A very good and understanding wife," she quipped.

Mr Bousen had a different philosophy.

"You must fight every day because then you've got to make up," he said.

To celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, Mr and Mrs Bousen enjoyed a week-long trip to Fiji.

They returned to Toowoomba this week and will tonight continue the celebrations with an anniversary dinner at the Glenvale Club.

"If any of our friends want to come and celebrate our anniversary with us tonight, they are welcome," Mr Bousen said.

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