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A Speech

Written on the eve of the Golden Wedding celebration of John and Mavis Green. 15th. March 1997

To be delivered in the presence of their descendants

It is a sobering thought that without the assistance of Adolf Hitler and the choir of Stourbridge Congregational Church, this would never have happened.

In 1941, Inspector John Joseph Hollyhead of the Worcestershire Constabulary should have retired and with his family, disappeared into obscurity over the Malvern hills. Instead, there being a war on, he was promoted and posted to Stourbridge. Being a caring sort of chap, he took his family with him. His wife and daughter started to attend a certain church and eventually the daughter, Mavis, joined the choir of which I was already a member.

So, but for the unlikely combination of A. Hitler, the German army and Stourbridge Congregational Church, all but two of you here would either have never existed, or have been somebody else.

Fifty years ago, nobody had the nerve to “show just cause or impediment…….”, so Mavis Hollyhead resigned from the fire brigade, stopped working for her living and went on to benefit. John Green resigned himself to never again changing his mind without having an explanation ready. Such is married life !

Since that day we have had an interesting life, and here are some statistics to prove it:

In the four years from 1947 to 1951 we had 17 different sets of lodgings in an area bounded by Glasgow, Denmark, Margate and Aberystwyth. That accounts for our children being four years younger than they might otherwise have been.

Since 1951 we have lived in ten different houses. That all adds up to 27 different kitchens.

Since 1947 we have owned 17 cars, 2 mopeds and a tandem, in or on which we have covered more than half a million miles, equivalent to 20 times round the world at the equator. During that time also Mavis has probably knitted up half a million miles of wool.

We have spent 18,262 days as man and wife without the benefits of professional counselling – a remarkable achievement in these sad times. On two of those days we managed to obtain two children by our own efforts. We have also acquired two grand-children, two nephews and a niece by somebody else’s.

Whilst we are on statistics, I have spent a total of about 12 days waiting outside ladies’ toilets – at a discreet distance of course..

We have shared the joys and responsibilities of one cat, one guinea-pig and a goldfish or two, about which there are some remarkable stories.

All we have now to show for this is a half-share in a quarter of an acre of Wiltshire, and a considerably smaller portion of shares in British Gas, Southern Electricity and Railtrack. This may be seen as symbolic of our lives.

We cannot say that we have never had a cross word since on most days we have solved the D.T. Quick Crossword before retiring. We realise that this is all very boring compared with the life of our contemporaries at Buck House, but at least it is all true !

W.J.G. 14.3.97

© The Estate of William John Green, 2004

Editor's Note:

To the best of my knowledge, this speech was never actually delivered! (RJG, 10.6.2004)