Good as Gold: Brian and Deidree Russell have been married for 50 years.
Fifty years ago, Brian and Deidree Russell were married.
The Muswellbrook couple will celebrate their golden anniversary today with a party.
The pair met when Deidree was a nurse at Auburn in Sydney.
“We used to hang around the nurses’ quarters. We used to visit the girls,” Brian joked.
They went on a blind date at the Pitt Club in Pitt Street in Sydney.
“We went out for a few months, then got married,” he said.
Brian and Deidree on their wedding day.
They were married at St Stephen’s Church in Mittagong. They bought a house at Eastwood for $15,000.
“We borrowed $16,000, I think,” Brian said.
Brian is 86 and Deidree 77.
“I’ve been a journalist for 70 years. I started off on the Coonabarabran paper,” Brian said.
Horses for CoursesBrian’s passion is horses.
“I’ve been writing on thoroughbreds for 54 years,” he said.
“I worked for a magazine called Racetrack, then I established my own magazines.
“I sold them, but I do email newsservices now.”
Brian tends to consider things in the context of horses.
“I was born at a place called Trundle, six weeks before Phar Lap won the Melbourne Cup [in 1930],” he said.
Trundle, he says, is west of Parkes, “where the crows fly backwards to keep the dust out of their eyes”.
Brian noted that Deidree has “a second cousin called Jack Purtell”, who won the Melbourne Cup three times.
So what’s the secret to a long, happy marriage, we asked? Without missing a beat, he quipped: “Do what you’re told”.
Deidree joked that the truth of the matter was that Brian “doesn’t do what anyone tells him”.
Taking a more serious note, Brian said: “We’ve been happy”.
Deidree believed in commitment.
“We’ve been through some rough times and we’ve stuck it out, where today not many people do,” she said.
Keep GoingBrian was paralysed 44 years ago and could only move one arm.
They believe he contracted Murray Valley encephalitis from a mosquito bite while visiting horse studs in South Australia.
At the time, the couple’s only son was a baby.
Brian was in rehab for five months, where he worked hard to regain functionality.
He is able to walk with the use of walking sticks or a walker.
Deidree said her husband’s story was an inspiration to anyone with a disability “to keep going”.
“When he was paralysed, he kept writing even when he had the use of only one arm,” she said.
During a stint in hospital, Brian adopted the old Persian proverb: “I cried because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet”.
Deidree found strength to keep going through her belief in God.
“There’s always a way out [of despair],” she said.
But she had decided to “leave the dark storms that have come and gone in the tomb of time”.
“And I’m thankful to God that I’ve lived this long. I like to live each day to the fullest I can,” she said.
“It’s no use looking back on the past because you can’t do anything about it. I just like to celebrate my life.”
Recently Deidree has gone back to work as a volunteer in a church program that provides food for the disadvantaged.
Soon, the couple’s first grandchild will be born.
“The fact that I’m here to see a grandson being born is very exciting,” she said.
Christmas CrackersYou know it’s Christmas time when you see these posts on social media.
From a well-nourishedbloke: “Just finished dinner. A full kilo of black tiger prawns”.
And this from a frustrated mum with frayed nerves:“Ithreatenedto call Santa 10 times this week”.