Love at Albany Lodge: Rita & Ivan’s Enduring Tale

In the spirit of February, the month of love, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Rita and Ivan, a couple whose love story has spanned decades. They first crossed paths at a West Indian dance in Durham during a time when racial prejudice was sadly prevalent. Rita shared that opportunities for Caribbean individuals to meet were limited, making places like the dancehall in Durham special.

Ivan fondly recounted the early days, stating that he “chatted up” Rita, and what began as a friendship blossomed into a wonderful relationship. Both Rita and Ivan emphasised that their bond weathered a challenging societal landscape, with teamwork, honesty, and no secrets becoming the pillars of their enduring marriage.

When asked about the key advice they would give to young couples about love and marriage, the couple spoke in unison. “Be faithful to each other, keep your love strong, be honest, and stay loyal,” Ivan advised, sentiments Rita wholeheartedly echoed. Their guidance to their own children mirrors this wisdom, emphasising the importance of fidelity and open communication.

Reflecting on how they kept the love alive throughout their marriage, Rita expressed that they simply loved each other and faced life’s challenges as a team. Ivan, with a smile, called it a “strange question” and remarked that keeping the love alive was easy—it just happened.

Recalling their initial meeting, the couple described it as a significant moment in a time when racial discrimination restricted their options. Ivan vividly remembered seeing Rita, chatting her up, and the rest becoming history. From friends, they evolved into life partners.

When asked about the most important aspect of being in a relationship, both Rita and Ivan stressed the values of honesty, love, and trying not to upset each other. They highlighted their closeness and teamwork, emphasising that they are a united front, tackling challenges together.

On the topic of romance, Rita shared that Ivan consistently showed his love by buying her flowers, not just on special occasions, but all the time. Ivan, in a touching response, considered bearing children together as the most romantic aspect of their relationship, highlighting their three children as the embodiment of their love.

As we delved into the secret behind their long and happy marriage, the couple offered straightforward yet profound insights. “Stay close to each other, be true, always do the right thing, and do not be ignorant to the other’s needs,” Rita advised. Ivan added, “Keep talking to each other, no secrets, loyalty is very important.” Their enduring love story stands as a testament to the power of honesty, loyalty, and unwavering commitment—a love that has stood the test of time at Albany Lodge Nursing Home.

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