Sweethearts Always

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


"I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

18 thoughts on “Sweethearts Always

  1. Lovely photo from an age of no mobile phones, tablets, or computers.

    A simpler time, when children ran and played in streets in complete freedom. Girls wheeling dolls in prams, and boy’s with bows and arrows or six shooters with a roll of caps.

    Street games of tig, or kick the can, chalk on the pavement to play hopscotch, songs to bounce a ball to or skip a rope to. I Still hear the voices echo round my childhood streets, ghosts of the past where houses no longer stand.

    A shame, but time stands still for nobody, and even family values drift away. It seems we now know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.

  2. Lovely photo of your parents and a beautiful poem and tribute to them.

    It’s a shame that so much gets lost in today’s busy culture including relationships. Much to reflect upon.

    Thank you.


  3. The photo and poem are indeed special. The love that your parents shared is very obvious. Some of the responses are also wonderful. You must be in a joyful place. John Murphy (Chicago

    1. PS John, just in case you do not get my email reply from earlier today. I had replied to your original email on the 19th March (replied same day).

      Please check your spam folder, in case my replies are going there.

      All my best.

  4. thanks to everyone, for the very kind comments. Very much appreciated.

    Dad will be gone, 40 years in September this year; and mum 35 years in September this year. It just seems like yesterday. Time goes so fast.

    Michael and Elizabeth, yes, modern times seem far too fast and impersonal. I can look through old handwritten letters, from an age ago, and they feel far more real than something from modern times. The core aspects of life never change, love, insecurity, hope, dreams, etc.

    I do wish that the snarly passive aggressive behaviour that is so common in modern times among many, was replaced by more acts of empathy, kindness, self-analysis and reflection.

    Michael, thanks for recalling the names of those games. Takes me back to the playground in Portglenone Primary school – memories of the girls chalking the playground tarmac, for games of hop-skotch. Also memories of the girls skipping. The guys, we played football and ran marathons around the school buildings. I recall Mister Coulter, the headmaster, holding a School Sports Day one early summer day (mid 70s).

    Time moves quickly on. A lifetime goes past so quickly. My Uncle Stanley always warned me about this.

    You have nailed it, Michael. Many, in modern times, know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.

    For me, time is our greatest asset. With time, nearly everything is possible (even if it is just the opportunity to say goodbye).

  5. A beautiful tribute to your parents Will.

    My parents were married in February 1964, so a similar vintage. They were married for 50 years and just short of 51 years when Dad passed away 8 years ago. His headstone says “True Love Has No End”

    I think they had the best years!

    1. Thanks for the very kind words, Sarah.

      Those are beautiful words on your dad’s headstone. 50 years married, that’s amazing.

      I agree, our parents had the best years. They lived in a more innocent era, where people had more time and respect for each other. An era where education, career and endeavour paid off.

  6. Trudger. My Grandkids are fascinated with my stories of my childhood, even my children enjoyed many street games on a summers night.

    Modern times have given many new gifts to children but it shouldn’t have taken so many old one’s away.

    Keep reminding your guests of past times, social history should not be forgotten.

    Stay well. Michael.

    1. That’s wonderful, Michael, that your grandkids love hearing the stories, and that your children enjoyed playing those games on summer nights.

      It’s good to keep records of times gone past and hopefully enough can listen and recognise the value of the past.

      On a similar angle, I was delighted that several people in a group of young people I met, some years ago, loved Buddy Holly. I had mentioned the Lubbock star’s name, never expecting young folk to even know who I was talking about. I was so happy that they loved him and his music.

      All my best regards.

  7. Hi Trudger.

    My wife and daughter asked me to write my stories down for the grandchildren, memories, and silly stuff I have told them for years, and they still ask to hear them when they stay over.

    Stories told to me by my gran, aunts, and uncles when I was a child. Stories perhaps told around a fire in Swatragh, or in a Glasgow tenement early in the last century. All good fun.

    Regarding Buddy, we went on holiday and my youngest son stayed at home 18yrs. While away, he went through my old vinyl records and he became hooked on, Johnny Cash, Credence CR, Fleetwood Mac, and The Dubliners. He was amazed I’d seen them.

    I’ve 😄😄😄 my response, I once had a life son.😂😂😂

    1. Hi Michael, you definitely should write those stories down. They will be priceless in the future.

      I often wish I would have hit PLAY and RECORD on our old tiny tape recorder in the 1970s, and had recorded the stories of my grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts.
      All those memories, like on a computer hard drive, now gone, with their passing.

      Indeed, if you ever want to share some of your stories here, in a published post, you would be most welcome.

      It’s great that your son appreciates Johnny Cash, and those other top artists. There is nobody to touch Johnny Cash’s back catalog. It is chocker block full of great songs. Sadly most folk only know his main hits. I must have over 50 of his records.

      1. Hi Trudger. I saw Johnny live at the Apolo in Glasgow 1971. A fabulous show still in my memory, only 18/19 back then but a big fan thanks to my old dad.

        1. Hi Michael. That’s brilliant, seeing him live in person, in Glasgow.

          I have an American friend, who saw him live in the late 50s, at some rural small hall. In the mid-break of the show, my friend was in the toilet. And who walked in but Johnny Cash! He said hi, and shook his hand.

          I must start writing up these types of stories.

  8. Hi. His family are from Fife in Scotland near a village called Falkland. It has a Royal Palace favoured at one time by Mary Queen of Scots, the Palace houses a Royal tennis court a game played pre modern tennis. The Cash family were farmers and Johnny + June visited regularly so frequently that they wandered around undisturbed. He was very friendly with the local antiques dealer and would be found In his shop drinking tea and chatting. He told a story of Johnny sitting in his shop when a young man came in, he was looking for help due to a punctured tyre on his car, the local garage was closed, and he didn’t have a wheel brace/jack. The lads young family were in the car, and he was desperate. The shop owner offered his wheelbrace and jack, then told the lad to go to his car,and he would bring it. Johnny insisted he stayed in the shop and he would sort it out, and he did. He went round to the car, changed the wheel, and sent the lad on his way. The lad came back to the shop a day later and asked the owner, “that man who helped me yesterday was Johnny Cash’s double, does he live here” the shop owner said the lad was dumbstruck when he told him it was indeed Johnny Cash….😂😂😂 Johnny’s daughter still visits Falkland today Roseanne Cash.

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