Diamond days for Penna pair

A dance led to 60-year romance for Arthur and Rosemary Penna, who celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary today. 

“Everybody danced in those days,” Mr Penna said. 

But, according to his wife, he was better than most. 

“It was the dancing, it was,” Mrs Penna said. 

“There weren’t too many good dancers around.”

He was teaching dancing about that time. She was a nurse.

Four children, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren later, the Pennas have much to celebrate. 

Neatly arranged on the kitchen table were well-wishes from family and friends, congratulating them on their anniversary.

“The kids have been marvellous,” Mrs Penna said. 

A replica wedding cake constructed by their son for their 50th wedding anniversary had pride of place on the table.

“We’ve kept it ever since, hoping we would make it to 60,” Mrs Penna said. 

Delectable though it looks, it was not built of edible materials. 

“Rose’s mother made the original cake,” Mr Penna said. 

There will be more cause for cake at the weekend, when Mr Penna celebrates his 84th birthday. 

When they met, in their 20s, celebrating their diamond anniversary seemed unimaginable.

“We both didn’t think we’d get to be this old,” Mrs Penna said. 

For two days, the couple’s mailbox was full of messages from dignitaries.

Letters from the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove; Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull; Victorian Governor Linda Dessau; Premier Daniel Andrews; Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters; and Bishop Ron Stone of the Anglican Diocese of Bendigo were among them.

Mrs Penna was particularly excited when the couple received a letter from the Queen. 

She jokingly told her brother, who was visiting at the time, that she was hoping for some royal correspondence.

Her brother had just finished telling her the Queen did not send messages to mark anniversaries when it arrived. 

“He couldn’t believe his eyes,” Mrs Penna said. 

So, what’s the secret to 60 years of marriage?

“Just give and take, that’s all,” Mr Penna said. 

“The Lord has been good to us.”

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