JACK Hill was just 17 and selling butter and eggs from Cessnock District Cooperative Society’s horse-drawn cart when he stumbled across the love of his life.
He was working on Caledonia Road in Kearsley when ginger-haired Violet Cowen, 16, caught his eye.
“The first day I saw her I fell in love with her and I’m still in love with her,” Mr Hill said. “I couldn’t help myself.”
The Buttaba couple, 94 and 95, married on February 6, 1943 and are celebrating their 75th anniversary.
“You get older, but your love never fades, it just gets stronger with time,” Mr Hill said.
“It’s something that works on you, it welds you both together. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and still do.”
The pair got to know each other during Mr Hill’s twice weekly deliveries.
Ms Cowen’s father insisted Mr Hill come into their home before he was allowed to take her out.
“I would not want anything else,” Mrs Hill said of their love. “I would have it all over again.
“He’s my best friend and we still make each other laugh. My favourite thing about Jack is… Jack.”
Mr Hill was sent away for army training and corresponded with his sweetheart through letters, as well as recording his own “beautiful” version of I Love You Truly to present to her on vinyl.
He was “ecstatic” to take leave from his base at Fort Scratchley for their wedding at Adamstown Methodist Church, before they honeymooned in Sydney.
Mr Hill transferred to the RAAF and was based at Rathmines.
The couple bought their first home in Cessnock, where they welcomed children Joy Humphris and Allan, before relocating to Buttaba in 1968.
Mr Hill retrained as an electrician and later oversaw safety in mines.
They’ve only been apart on a handful of nights.
“I didn’t like it,” he said. “We want to be together all the time, or we miss each other. She’s part of me now.”
Mrs Hill credited their long marriage to being good listeners.
“Everything that happens you’ve got to share –you grow closer because you know what each other is talking about.
“You’ve got to talk things over [if you argue] and everything comes right.”
The Hills have four grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.