You don’t expect love stories to begin with rock throwing, but you’re about to find out that they do.
The cameraman and I discovered it while driving-up Mount Tolmie, searching for a story for the end of the 6pm news. That’s where we met Vera and Charlie who were walking up Mount Tolmie. You don’t expect couples in their mid-80s to walk up mountains, but the Coleys do it almost daily. Charlie says they do it because, “it’s better to wear out than rust.” Vera says it’s because they’ve always enjoyed being active together. But that wasn’t always the way – at least not when they first met 79 years ago.
Charlie: “My wife used to play with my brother in the sandbox at school. I threw rocks at her.”
Me: “Why did you throw rocks at her?”
Charlie: “She was so annoying.”
That’s when he was seven and she was four. She preferred playing with his young brother as a child and ended-up dating him in their teens. And then, Charlie jokes, “she developed common sense.” Vera laughs. They both laughed often during our conversation. While the cameraman was capturing footage of them sitting on a bench and walking-up the road, they teased each other like teenagers flirting. There was chemistry between them that I assume was concocted when a rock-throwing boy transformed into a love-struck young man. They both say that first feeling of something more was something bigger than they had ever felt before.
Charlie: “It was a sudden bang.”
Me: “Really? A bang?”
Charlie: “It really was. Just bang! A sudden realization – what have I been missing here?”
As the cameraman gets one last shot of Charlie and Vera reaching the top of the mountain, they reveal they’re celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this year. It’s a union that has endured inevitable lows with laughter and ultimately reached its current height because of love.
Adam Sawatsky is co-host of CTV News Vancouver Island at Five. On weekends, he hosts ‘Eye on the Arts’ on CFAX 1070.