During 70 years of marriage, Jack Potter kept a diary. He had always taken notes about his days, but when he met Phyllis Clayson at a wartime dance in 1941, he had even more to write about. He fell head over heels in love. She asked him to dance, and they have been together ever since.
He told the Guardian he was in the Royal Engineers at the time. When the dance ended, he couldn’t wait to get back home and write, “very nice evening. Danced with very nice girl. Hope to meet her again.”
From that day on, he kept brief notes of everyday events in their life as a couple. They married 16 months later. When war ended, he worked in construction. She worked as a typist.
They had no children, but they had each other, and Jack Potter had his diaries. After 50 years of marriage, Phyllis moved into the Copper Beeches care home. That is where Jack visits her every day. When the Guardian article appeared on March 1, 2013, she was 93, he 91.
Dementia may have robbed her of memories, but Jack keeps them for her in his diaries, adding new bits to share with her. He reads them to her and shows her their photographs, reminiscing for her when she cannot remember on her own.
They are an unassuming couple, devoted to each other through the decades of their marriage, accepting whatever comes their way. She still greets him with open arms when he visits. He still reads her the memories her mind can no longer hold on its own.
They enlarge us all with their quiet, determined love. They give me hope.
The photographs are all copyrighted so I won’t use them here, but do go to the Guardian site to see this special couple.