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Friday January 10, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday January 10, 2014 MYT 8:54:42 AM
by annie teh
Match made in heaven: Annie Teh and her hubby of 36 years, Mike.
A senior shares an enchanting love story that reads like a fairy tale.
SET in the mid-1960s, this real-life love story will confirm the wonderful works of angels! There was this little girl, Ann, who came from a very humble home in Malacca. Every morning, from her house in Jalan Semabok, she trudged some 4km to her school in Ujong Pasir.
The scene and the people she encountered daily on her way to school were always the same. There were the same trees, wooden houses and a public water pipe where the villagers gathered to wash their faces, brush their teeth and wash clothes. At times, there were some people taking their bath.
She would always encounter her uncle who was on his way to the market. Being polite, she never failed to greet him.
Sometimes he responded with an “ah”. At other times he just cycled on. It was a busy stretch filled with men and schoolboys – all on bicycles – going to work or school. There was hardly a motorbike or car in sight.
Ann was most happy when walking home from school as she had good company. Her school friends walked with her. Being a chatty person, she loved talking and sharing stories with them. She didn’t fear stray dogs, as together they would chase the dogs away.
Once in a while, she would enjoy a treat of kacang putih bought from the Indian man who sold all kinds of nuts in a wooden carrier balanced on his head.
The same scene was undisturbed until one fine morning when she was in Standard Six. She noticed that the familiar trees had been chopped down. Soon a billboard sprang up. Then she read. Yes, houses were coming up on this plot of land. In no time, the houses were up – a row of neatly painted, semi-detached houses with fences and gates. She thought the houses were so beautiful. The house she lived in was a rundown attap house with no gate; her father had planted hedges as fencing around it.
One sunny afternoon, she noticed some people moving into the second house in the row. The next morning, she saw two schoolgirls – about her age – in very neat uniforms, getting ready to go to school. A pretty lady with permed hair came out from the house and chauffeured them to school in a Mazda. Ann walked on.
Ann passed by the house at midday on her way home. She noticed the two girls had reached home, too, chauffeured by that pretty lady. She knew the lady was their mum.
Deep in her heart, she wished her mum could chauffeur her to school and bring her home daily. But she knew this would never happen as her mum was very busy making nyonya kuih for sale in the market every day. How nice it must be to lead such an enchanted life, being chauffeured around, ensconced in the lap of luxury, Ann thought to herself.
On another occasion, Ann and her friends tried to rush home as soon as school was over because the sky had turned dark and lightning flashed back and forth.
They ran as fast as their legs could carry them. Alas, the storm was merciless. Rain poured down in sheets and they were soaked to the skin.
They had no raincoats, only pieces of plastic to cover the books in their bags. They were so cold, their teeth chattered. They had no choice but to seek shelter in the verandah of the old wooden house overlooking that beautiful, semi-detached house.
At that moment, Ann wished she could live in a house like that – so pretty, secure and cosy. By then, the owner had planted beautiful orchids all around. Ann and her friends stood there admiring the beautiful blooms from afar, watching the orchids soaking in the rain.
Ann imagined the two lucky girls would be enjoying the warm lunch their mum had lovingly prepared. And they would be playing and doing their homework after that. To Ann, it was a picture of family bliss, love and happiness. Deep in her heart, she wished her family was like that.
When Ann reached home after the storm had abated, it was already 4pm. She was hungry and helped herself to the simple fare of porridge, fish and some vegetables. Nobody asked her about the storm – where she took shelter, how she was. Her mother and father were too busy eking out a living. Her siblings too were busy helping out in the family’s kuih-making enterprise. She was left to fend for herself.
After her lunch, she had to help wrap kuih koci with banana leaves and attend to some domestic chores. She was only free to do her homework later in the evening.
Little did Ann know that her guardian angel heard her wish that stormy afternoon. She never dreamt that 10 years down the road, she would be marrying the only son of the couple living in that semi-detached house.
This was how it happened. We shall call her husband, Mike. Mike, incidentally, was posted to the same office where Ann had just started work two weeks ago.
When Mike first met Ann, he treated her as a casual friend. On the other hand, Ann was overcome by a warm feeling and she had an intuition that something good was going to happen.
It wasn’t long before Mike felt drawn to Ann and wanted to get to know her better. He stopped seeing the girl he was going out with at that time and started to focus on Ann. Being a shy person, he wondered how he could overcome his shyness and ask her out. He recalled the number of times he walked up and down the road before he plucked up enough courage to step into Ann’s house and ask for a date.
Things moved so fast. Within two months, they had gone steady. Even up to now, Mike could not comprehend how he was attracted to Ann in that short span of time.
There were a number of boys who were interested in Ann, but she had not forged a steady relationship with any of them.
When Mike kept turning up at her doorstep with little treats, Ann felt that this soft-spoken, caring guy must be the one for her. After two years of courtship, they walked down the aisle.
Yes, I believe in angels. We have been married for 36 wonderful years now and are blessed with two daughters, a son and daughter-in-law, and two lovely grandchildren. Like all marriages, we have our ups and downs but together with patience and love, we have built a happy home. We are forever thankful to God for His blessings.
We pray that our marriage will always remain solid, and our home a happy one.
That house still stands sturdy and firm somewhere in Lorong Bukit Senjuang. Whenever I pass the house, I reminisce about those days and especially that stormy afternoon when I wished for a house like that. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine that one day I would marry the only son in the family.
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Lifestyle, Senior, Life story
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