Every once in a while, usually after a glass of red wine, I have a look at mum and dad’s old photos.  

They met in the late 1950s, in a hall over in Garvagh.  Although dad was ten years older, it was apparently love at first sight. 

Looking through the trove of photos from that late 50s and early 1960s era, they clearly have a love for the north coast, notably Portstewart. It is a beautiful part of the country.  

Admittedly, back then, there would have been far fewer cars and a much slower pace of life. A much more innocent era. Perhaps that era would have been a good time to have lived one’s life. 

I recently came across an old poem from 1903, submitted to a local Coleraine newspaper.  The poem is called ‘Sweethearts Always’ and it reminded me of those old photos of my parents on the north coast, from that bygone era.

These sweethearts, through life’s highs and lows, loved each other until the very end.

Richard & Eleanor, June 1961, Rose Gardens in Coleraine

If sweethearts were sweethearts always,
Whether as maid or wife,
No drop would be half as pleasant
In the mingled draught of life.

But the sweetheart has smiles and blushes
When the wife has frowns and sighs,
And the wives have a wrathful glitter
For the glow of the sweetheart’s eyes.

If lovers were lovers always,
The same to sweetheart and wife,
Who would change for a future Eden
The joys of this checkered life?

But husbands grow grave and silent,
And care on the anxious brow
Oft replaces the sunshine that perished
With the words of the marriage vow.

Happy is he whose sweetheart
Is wife and sweetheart still,
Whose voice, as of old, can charm him,
Whose kiss, as of old, can thrill:

Who has plucked the rose to find ever
Its beauty and fragrance increase,
As the flush of passion is mellowed
In love’s unmeasured peace.

Author: The “Dear Loaf” Bogey
Northern Constitution, 29th August 1903