NORTHAM army reservist Bill Malacari first met Beaconsfield’s Delia Armstrong over a game of cards back when the wireless was the prime source of entertainment.
Fast forward seven decades, and the couple today celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary in their Mt Pleasant home.
Bill, 95, and Delia, 92, still play competitive lawn bowls together and keep socially and mentally active.
Delia said the key to their longevity as a couple has been “give and take”.
Hand-coloured wedding photos in their living room show Delia in a white hat and white dress with shortened hem standing alongside her bridesmaids and men in uniform.
Bill had signed up for the army with a group of young men in Northam in 1937 when he was 16 years of age.
When war broke out he was placed in permanent camp.
The day before he was posted to the eastern states for training, Bill was given a 24-hour pass to marry Delia and enjoy a one-day honeymoon.
He spent two years in Darwin, without leave, and was injured on an island off Papua New Guinea called New Britain.
“The Japanese had been there before us, they’d taken it over and had complete control of the island so we had to try stop them getting any closer to Darwin,” Mr Malacari said.
He still carries shrapnel from two mortar bombs in his right shoulder and, deemed not fit for service, he was sent home for treatment and was discharged the day before peace was declared.
In the post-war years, the couple raised three girls – Sharon, Meryl and Faye – and now have six grand children and three great-grand-children.
“My daughters are absolutely wonderful,” Delia told the Melville Times and Meryl said it was because of the example her parents had set.
“Dad was a house painter and painted all my houses,” she said.
“Fourteen!” Bill interjected. “She’s had 14 houses!” He will celebrate his 96th birthday in January.
Delia said the greatest change she had noticed in the 75 years they’ve been together was the introduction of television, which has seen them swap stories on the wireless for an addiction to The Bold and the Beautiful.