Diamond anniversary for the Evas of Cambridge
By Eastern Cape Rising Sun, Joe Clarke
Born just 10 days apart in the winter of 1938 and currently the suburb of Cambridge's longest standing residents, Deryck and Winnie Eva (nee McKay) celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday, June the 18th.
Their paths crossed for the first time in 1950 at the age of 12 after their parents had moved to Cambridge that same year. The Evas, originally from Peddie where Deryck was born, settled near the top of Colley Avenue while the McKays from Berea were just a few hundred metres away in Weare Road, Winnie was born in East London.
At the time Cambridge West was still farmlands and some of today's main streets were just gravel roads with a few farmhouses scattered across the area. In a group with five other kids their friendship blossomed while they explored their surroundings including mischievously helping themselves to fruit from farmers' trees.
Together they'd venture as far as Horse Shoe Valley and the Nahoon causeway where they'd spend their time fishing and swimming. They called themselves the Triangle Gang, "We weren't a real gang," Winnie assures me, "There was no nonsense like drinking or smoking," she adds as she pulls up her sleeve to show me a small triangle tatooed on her forearm. "We did it ourselves, all the boys had it on their shoulder but I had a long sleeve dress on so they put it on there for me," she says with a laugh recalling the good memories.
By the age of 15, the pair had become an item. At 21 they got engaged and were married the following year in the Catholic church in Cambridge. A few years later they were blessed with two children, Barry and Sandra, and today their family includes four grandchildren; Candace, Gareth, Kaylee and Chad. Their working lives saw Deryck employed as an artisan at The Buffalo Timber Company while Winnie worked at OK Bazaars on Oxford Street. In the late sixties the couple moved into Deryck's late father's home in Colley Avenue where they still reside today.
Their advice for a long lasting and loving relationship is, "Never going to bed upset with each other and saying 'I love you' every day" says Winnie, while "Having hobbies in common like fishing and pigeon racing really played a big part," admits Deryck. With trophies, medals and certificates from their racing days adorning the shelves and walls in their home, most notable is their Honorary Life Membership at the East London Northerns Flying Club and Deryck's appointment to the South African National Pigeon Association as an Administrator. In fishing they traversed the far reaches of our local coastline up and into all the coves and rivers as well as venturing up the Transkei Wild Coast and across to Namibia. "The biggest Leerie I ever caught, it took me from the ground to under my arm, that was a nice one," enthuses Winnie.
Recent times have seen Deryck recovering from a double bypass and the couple were completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of well wishes and gifts from family, friends and neighbours as well as their pastors from The Christian Centre. "Between answering the phone and going to the gate, I was up and down the whole day, the last person left at 19:30," Winnie gasps. Their 'spoils' included rolled mutton, roast chicken, veggies, cakes and even groceries. "It was wonderful, they truly spoilt us, a really pleasant day," says Deryck gratefully.
The golden couple's final chapter will now sadly see them saying goodbye to East London as they pack up their home before moving to Durban to live with their daughter and son in law, Peter. Upon my leaving the Eva residence and asking them to take good care of themselves, Deryck promptly responds, "Don't worry, Winnie won't let me do a thing, she's a good woman."