McCrackens celebrated 74 years of wedded bliss

By Liz Mellino

Tatura's Ruth McCracken believes the secret to a long and happy marriage is to always support each other and to never go to bed angry.

Ruth and her husband, Ted, are celebrating their 74th wedding anniversary this Sunday, November 10, a date that Ruth remembers fondly.

Meeting her husband when she was just 14 and Ted three years older, Ruth said the couple grew up together and experienced life's greatest moments by each other's side.

“We met on a Saturday night outside the picture theatre in Tatura,” she said.

“Ted came in with his cousin and he said ‘would you mind if I sat with you?'.

“He said ‘this is nice, would you like to come to the pictures next week?’ and I said ‘oh, yes’ ... we went to the pictures again.”

Three years later in 1945 the couple wed at the Tatura Anglican Church in what was Tatura's first "dressed" wedding after World War II.

Ruth said her wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses were purchased from Rockmans, with her dress featuring long sleeves and a sheer top.

“The flowers were rainbow coloured ... they were sweat peas in all different colours,"she said.

Ted and Ruth McCracken on their wedding day, November 10, 1945

Ruth said their reception followed at Shepparton's Hotel Australia before the newlyweds honeymooned in Melbourne.

The couple went on to have six children, two girls and four boys, with two of their boys passing away from muscular dystrophy at the age of 16, before adopting two more boys into their family.

“We had to live through that ... we had to be nurses — they didn't have a lot of care for people like that,” Ruth said.

“Ted used to help me bath them and everything, it brought us closer together.”

The McCracken family grew quickly over the years, with the couple now grandparents to seven and great grandparents to eight.

The pair, who are both in their 90s, live at Moyola Lodge in Tatura, where Ted moved three years ago to receive care for dementia.

Ruth said she followed shortly after to be closer to her husband.

“The rest of our marriage has been wonderful,” Ruth said.

“We still have lunch together every day ... Ted is in a different area but he likes it and he's very happy.”

Ruth said her and Ted were looking forward to their anniversary, saying she looked back fondly over the past 74 years together.

In a marriage filled with many happy memories, Ruth insisted good communication and lots of laughter had contributed to their longevity.

“We have done everything together and I couldn’t have done all my stuff that I've done without him — but then I helped him and he helped me,” she said.

“It was just love at first sight — we have had, funnily enough, a very happy married life.

“It's nice to look back over it though, there is nothing better.”