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69 Valentine Days later, the heart wants, what the heart wants

'Never go to sleep at night without saying 'I love you' or 'I'm sorry if I've done something wrong,' and start the next day fresh' Meg Brown after 68 years of marriage

Sixty-nine years ago in Scotland, a young man by the name of Jim Brown met the love of his life. 

Brown's cousin, Eleanor often spoke of Jim to her best friend Meg. Eleanor took it upon herself to play matchmaker.  

"She thought we were meant to be together, so she introduced us," recalls Meg in her soft Scottish accent.

"We were going out to a monastery that had just been opened out in the country, and I was to meet her and her husband Gino at the bus depot. So I was standing there waiting and up comes Eleanor and her husband, and this other young man. And I thought 'that sinker, she's brought her cousin with her. I won't speak to him.' Of course when we got on the bus, I had to sit beside him."

They hit it off. 

"The second time we were out, he said 'I have no money, I have no job, but someday I'm going to marry you.' I told him I really wasn't interested, I told him I liked him but...and left it at that."  

Jim was smitten from the very start.

"I liked everything. Her sense of  humour. She was very pretty. Kind too."

Months passed and soon it would be Meg doing the proposing.

"Back then it wasn't like here, where you can get an apartment. You were lucky if you got a room. One day a gentleman came into the store where I was working and said he was going to Canada to visit his daughter, and would be away for six months. He wondered if I would be interested in renting his house while he was away. I mentioned to Jim we could get married because we had a place to stay. It didn't work out because the man didn't end up going to Canada, but we eventually got married".

The couple met in 1948 and were married in 1949. 

"He kept telling me I proposed to him. I think my telling him we could get married because we could rent the house, I think that's like a proposal. But remember, on our second time out he did say he would marry me. Actually, I never ever did get an engagement ring," she chuckles.

"Well remember, I was broke," laughs Jim. "I didn't have the money."  

Looking at her husband, with a twinkle in her eye, Meg told him "You never really did propose. You can propose now, on Valentine's Day."  

"Oh yeah, that would be kind of neat," and turning to look at his wife of 68 years, Jim reached for her hand and officially popped the question. "Will you marry me?" and leaned over for a quick smooch.

Her good-natured response? "Hmmmm I guess" with big smiles on both their faces.

In 1953 the couple, along with their two young children, immigrated to Canada. It was an idea that was sparked by a friend who spoke about his own intentions to move to this country.

"That night I jokingly said we should immigrate to Canada. Jim said he would think about it and the next morning he had made his decision. We were moving to Canada." 

They first settled in Toronto, and would eventually add one more child to the family. Working as an electrical supervisor with Ontario Hydro, often meant moving the family around the province. Just another adventure for Meg, who took it all in stride.

They first moved to North Bay in 1970 on Valentine's Day. There would be more moves before they would return to the Gateway City, settling into the Empire Living Center, following Jim's retirement, to be closer to one of their daughters. 

Jim will turn 94 years old next month, Meg is 91. They credit their spontaneity, zest for life and mutual respect as part of the reason why they are still in love, celebrating another Valentine's Day 68 years after exchanging 'I do's.'

"Working together, being a team. I mean it was never 'what you'll do, or what I'll do', it was what 'we'll do.' We never made decisions just for one person, it was always for the both of us. We're friends," explained Meg. 

When asked what he loved most about his wife, Jim's response was 'Meg, just being Meg." He loves her just the way she is,  

"We thank God every day that we're still together, and we're there to help each other and take care of each other. And it's not a chore. It's an act of love," said Meg. 

Her advise to all couples is to never go to bed without saying 'I love you.'

"Now you might have a disagreement during the day of some description, but at night before you fall asleep, say 'I love you.' Now maybe one of you didn't want to say 'I love you' but quite often with Jim, I would say in a low voice 'I love you.' And Jim would say "what did you say?' and I would say 'I love you. And he would say 'I didn't hear you Meg.' So after that, you can't be cross. You start laughing.You have to work at a marriage. Treat each other with respect, and like I say, never ever go to sleep at night without saying 'I love you,' or 'I'm sorry if I've done something wrong,' and start the next day fresh."