Page 3 Profile: Helen and Maurice Kaye, husband and wife for 80 years

 

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The Independent Online

Who’s the happy couple?

Helen and Maurice Kaye, who met as teenagers 10 years before the start of the Second World War and celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary yesterday. Aged 101 and 102 respectively, the pair met when Mrs Kaye was 16 and working in her mother’s clothes shop in Walmouth, south London. Mr Kaye, whose father wanted to sell goods to the store, dropped by but stayed for three hours, prompting his future mother-in-law to ask her daughter, “Who’s going to throw him out – me or you?”

So they made a good first impression on each other?

It was actually a prized possession of Mr Kaye’s that piqued the interest of his potential paramour. “He had a car – and in those days not very many people had cars,” explained Mrs Kaye, who was born in Warsaw, Poland, before moving to London aged six.

And they’ve been together ever since?

The couple married on 27 August 1934 in a London synagogue. Mr Kaye, who grew up in Hoxton, east London, joined the army in 1939, but when the pair’s home in the capital was bombed in 1944, he was given compassionate leave. During that time, his comrades went to Normandy and his detachment disappeared. He later discovered they had all been killed. After the war, the Kayes moved to Bournemouth, where they still live.

Have there been bad times?

Two of their children died when they were young, but now the couple, who still live independently, focus their energy on their two surviving children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Mrs Kaye said: “We have battled our way through life – it’s been hard and not without tragedy but we’ve had so many good moments together too.”

What’s the secret to such a  long-lasting marriage?

Mrs Kaye said that if she knew, she would “bottle it and sell it”, but attributed the marriage’s success partly to the fact that they share the same sense of humour. “We just laugh at the same things,” she said. “And if you have to give in a little bit, you give in a little bit.” Mr Kaye said: “I didn’t think it would last a week, but it’s amazing it’s lasted 80 years.”

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