A very special Esperance couple celebrated 60 years of marriage at the Recherche Rotary Hostel last Thursday.
Family and friends of Ronald and Yvonne Pamela Cross gathered to celebrate.
Despite the array of flowers and balloons and the family and friends in attendance, Mr Cross laughed as he admitted he had forgotten the milestone.
“Well, I’m old and pretty and I didn’t know it was our wedding anniversary until this morning,” he said.
“I got told unceremoniously ‘it’s your wedding anniversary’ and this is the result, a bunch of flowers and a heavy debt.”
Mr Cross has fond memories of when the couple first met.
“I found her in a bar, actually,” he said.
Mr Cross said he asked the former Civic Hotel stewardess if he could make a phone call.
“She kindly went and got the phone for me and then just said ‘Will you marry me? Can I take your hand?’... and I don’t tell lies,” he said.
Mrs Cross gazed at Mr Cross and smiled, asking if she had heard him correctly.
“Pam was an excellent dancer,” Mr Cross said.
“Any time there was anything on, we’d get up and start jiving, carrying on like idiots.”
The pair moved to the Esperance region from Perth in 1963, with children Bradley and Noeleen, after work in irrigation became scarce.
“I had a multitude of work, sort of a jack of all trades and a master of none.”
Mr Cross went on to work on a number of community projects, including the Velodrome and Newtown football ground, whilst also volunteering as a firefighter with Esperance Fire Brigade.
“How many kids have we got? Three or four or five, a couple of stray ones,” he said.
Daughter Noeleen confirmed the pair have two children, nine grand children, eight great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.
Mr Cross revealed the couple were Esperance’s very own Mr and Mrs Claus for five decades.
“I’d go to one kindergarten in the morning, another one in the afternoon and, just to top it off, I’d go to the Fire Brigade,” he said.
“The last time I did it was at the Carols by Candlelight, I had the privilege of turning the lights off at the post office.”
Mr Cross’ children admit they did not realise their father was the town’s Santa Claus until late in their childhood, after he forgot to take his ‘shiny black boots’ off.
“Our life has been pretty good. Hard working but we got there,” Mr Cross said.
Mr Cross also had some sound advice for the Esperance community.
“Don’t shift off the coast and don’t shift out of the town because it’s as good a town as you’ll live in,” he said.
“Oh, and keep fighting over the jetty, something will happen one day.”