Any lesser man would have given up. After personal letters and letters to family went unanswered most men would probably have hung up and called it a day.
But he is not like most men and he was determined to make her his bride.
Today (August 20) Bernard and Syldonia Moses are celebrating 54 years of what they described as a “fulfilled marriage.”
Their story began back in 1957 close to the Public Library on Victoria Street in Roseau. She was coming from a Way of the Cross service with some other friends when she first met the man that would be her companion for over half a century.
But things were a bit complicated that evening because there was another young man who wanted to have a chat with her. “But I knew he (the young man) was not serious, so I just left him and he (Moses) came in between and the other young man went away,” Syldonia recalled with a hearty laugh, “And that is how it started.”
Although they had met and exchanged a few words, the path to winning the heart of his future bride proved to be a difficult task.
“At that time people used to write, so he wrote to me,” she stated. “But I did not write back, I fought back.”
Undaunted, Moses thought writing to her family would probably open a window of opportunity for him. But that too did not work out as expected.
Not the kind of man to give up easily, he decided to make his quest to win the heart of Syldonia a bit more personal.
She is originally from Grand Fond and had moved to Roseau to live with an aunt, so Moses thought the best thing to do was to speak directly to the aunt of his intention.
Things began taking shape then and after much persistence Syldonia finally gave in because by then she was convinced he was a good man. “He was and is a good man, a little bit troublesome, but a good man,” she stated.
And so on August 20, 1959, before family and friends, the two made the vow to love each other for the rest of their lives at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Roseau.
Moses remembers the day as if it were yesterday. “It was a Thursday,” he stated. “I remember it distinctly. In those day Thursdays were half day or merchant’s half day. That was the day we got married. We had the reception at the home of Desmond Letang on Virgin Lane. I can remember all that man.”
He said at the receptions thing began a ‘bit slow’ and determined not to let this put a damper on the best day of this life, he rolled up his sleeves and took over the bar.
“All the special guests I brought them a bottle of scotch, gave them a glass and I told them all they have to ask for is ice,” he stated. “Instead of pouring in glass and all that slow thing, I was not in that.”
Is there a secret to a long marriage? “You have to put God in the center first,” Moses, a devout Catholic, said. “Once you have the Lord in the center, no matter how difficult things appear, they will patch up.”
His wife agreed. “You have to pray, you always have to pray,” she said.
Additionally, the couple pointed out, married couples should always do things together. “We went to church together, we went to parties together, we share the responsibilities together,” Moses said. “I never let her take care of the children alone. We did everything together.”
Moses noted that their 54 years have not always been ‘rosy.’ “Sometimes things were so tough, we had to cut an exercise book in two to give the children,” he stated.
But there were many highlights, especially the birth of their children; all nine of them. “Whenever they were born, that made us feel good and very happy,” he noted.
In any relationship, Moses noted there are quarrels and misunderstandings but stated they should not last long. “It takes two to make a quarrel, so when things get heated, one of them must stop,” Moses said. “Most times I stop, I just get out of the house so that it doesn’t escalate.”
Today Moses is visually impaired but the couple goes to church at the Holy Spirit Chapel in Loubriere every Sunday and they still do practically everything together.
When asked to reflect on their lives as a married couple they said it has has been ‘very fulfilling’ and both vowed that if they could do it all over again, they would.