Key to love revealed: couple celebrate 65 years of marriage
THEY say opposites attract, and for Stanley and Eole Hoptin, it couldn't ring more true.
The couple celebrated 65 years of marriage yesterday, and while the two can't remember what initially drew them together, they're both glad it happened.
Stanley always knew he wanted an Italian girl, and Eole had been told never to marry her own kind.
"My brother always used to say 'Eole, never marry an Italian, you'll be out in the field all day',” she recalls.
"Funny thing, I married an Australian, and what happened? I was out in the field all day!”
The country couple met through Stanley's sister, who Eole was close with.
"We were at the pictures one night, up in Gin Gin at the open-air theatre, and I didn't know he was there,” Eole said.
"Just at the end of it he came down and said 'Can I see you for a minute?'.
"He said 'Well, will you go with me?' and I said 'Are you barmy?'
"And he never spoke to me for about two years, and I can't blame him. But here we are 65 years later.”
Eole was 17 when they married and Stanley was just a week off his 23rd birthday.
"We had nine months of dating and nine months engaged, getting to know one another,” Eole said.
"We had two children, who then went on to have five children between them, and now we have 14 great-grandchildren.”
The pair worked their backs to the bone running cane farms in both Cloyne and McIlwraith and finally retired to Bundaberg in 1980.
"Hard work don't kill nobody, and that's what it's been,” Stanley said.
"I had done my back in - it was either get off the farm or end up in a wheelchair.
"At the time, money and prices were good, so we got off.”
With rest and therapy Stanley was able to mend his back almost completely, but they both still face their own challenges.
"He's spent the past two Christmas' in hospital with (angina),” Eole said.
"Last time the doctor said, 'We'll book you in now for this Christmas then?' but you've got to have a sense of humour.”
A lifetime later, the two are able to sit and reflect on their relationship and the little things, such as local dances, fishing trips and band groups that have made their story whole.
"Friendship is the most important part of a relationship,” they said.
"And if there's troubles, talk it out. Sort it out that way, don't bottle it up.
"It wasn't easy let me tell you, because he's a crab and I'm a Capricorn, a goat,” Eole said.
"I'm very independent, strong willed and driven, whereas he gets emotional about everything.
"But he's my carer now because of my back, and I don't know what I'd do without him. He's not for sale.”