Wed | Feb 24, 2021

‘She was born for me’ - St Ann couple keeping the flame alive after 54 years

Published:Wednesday | December 30, 2020 | 12:14 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Moreen and Reginald Francis celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary on December 27.
Moreen and Reginald Francis celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary on December 27.
Moreen Francis and her give away father entering the St.Ann’s Baptist Church on her wedding day.
Moreen Francis and her give away father entering the St.Ann’s Baptist Church on her wedding day.
Best man Clunis Allen (left) and matron of honour Joyce Frazer look on as Reginald and Moreen Francis prepare to sign the marriage register.
Best man Clunis Allen (left) and matron of honour Joyce Frazer look on as Reginald and Moreen Francis prepare to sign the marriage register.
Moreen and Reginald Francis celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary on December 27.
Moreen and Reginald Francis celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary on December 27.
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It has been 54 years since Moreen and Reginald Francis exchanged wedding vows, and the flame of love still burns in their hearts.

The couple, who hail from Pimento Walk in Ocho Rios, St Ann, told The Gleaner that it took some time for Reginald to win Moreen’s heart.

“He was living across from me and every day he would look over the yard to see if he saw me, but as time went by, we got along,” she recalled.

The 80-year-old retired housekeeper, who worked at The Jamaica Grande, said that she opted out of the opportunity to migrate to the United States when her father filed for her, as she fell pregnant with her first child and wanted to maintain her relationship with Reginald.

Looking back, she does not regret the decision, as it paved the way for a lifetime of happiness.

“He was a kind and loving man to me. I just decided to stay with him, and he with me,” Moreen said.

In 1966, they got married, and their union produced seven children.

“I didn’t have to walk too far to find someone. She was born for me, and we have been loving each other from then until now,” he said, in-between bouts of laughter.

While he doesn’t quite remember how he proposed to his flame, Reginald, 81, said that it rained on their wedding day, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

In sickness and in health, they have stood by each other.

Moreen suffers from diabetes and hypertension, and in 2016 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had mastectomies two years apart and has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy, which has impacted her memory.

Reginald is also hypertensive and lost sight in one eye a decade ago, and currently has glaucoma in the other.

The couple has not had any major anniversary celebrations, but each year, they spend the day reflecting on the years of bliss.

“We don’t really go out much. We enjoy each other’s company at home,” the retired farmer and construction worker said, adding that they are subsistence farmers. “Wi run wi joke, wi go to the bush, plant things and reap them and enjoy it. We didn’t farm to sell, just for our own use.”

Set a goal to live peacefully

Reginald said that they had set a goal to live peacefully with each other even before tying the knot.

Their sixth child and primary caregiver, Caressa Francis, told The Gleaner that her parents’ marriage is an exemplary one.

“It’s a joy to see them. I’ve never heard an argument between them. If they do bicker, it’s pleasant, Nothing to make you feel uncomfortable,” she said, echoing the sentiments of her father.

Their daughter added that though Reginald is not a Christian, her mother never fails to let him hear the Word of God.

Daily, she reads the Bible and has her devotion aloud while he listens attentively.

“Through thick and thin, dad doesn’t leave mom’s side. The only time they are not together is if I have to take mom to the doctor. If she’s in the bedroom, he stays close to her; if she’s on the verandah, he’s there, too,” she noted.

juana.murphy@gleanerjm.com