Cliff's kiss and tell love story

Cliff and Jean Collins celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary.
Cliff and Jean Collins celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. Kari Bourne

"WOULD you like a sarsaparilla?"

It was the opening line of 15-year-old telegram delivery boy Cliff Collins to a pretty 16-year-old girl named Jean in a small cafe in Warracknabeal, about 340km north-west of Melbourne.

Their introduction in 1941 was the start of a courtship that would last five years, followed by a marriage that has been going strong for 65 years.

The recipe for a happy marriage is quite simple - love, affection, marrying young and sharing your money.

The pair spent 41 years working a farm in rural Victoria before moving to the Sunshine Coast in the mid-1980s.

They were beset repeatedly by droughts, occasionally by floods and were devastated by the loss of their eldest son who was killed while playing a game of AFL.

But their love has endured.

By the television, there are congratulatory letters from Queen Elizabeth, Governor General Quentin Bryce with another from Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Mr Collins remember seeing the young Jean weeks before they met, perched inside her father's green A-Model Ford truck, a beautiful machine from the late '20s.

The truck caught his eye first, but she would keep it.

"I could see a young lady in that truck and something registered that it was my girl," he said.

Mr Collins said the success of the bond came naturally, through an unending love for his wife.

"Every morning I wake up, I give my wife a kiss and I tell her I love her," he said.

"I have kissed her in the middle of a dance floor and in the middle of the street."

The pair have five children, 15 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren with another two due within weeks.

Topics:  marriage

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