‘We’ve never had one row’
SONNY Chaplin has made his living from fishing the coast.
And at 89, he'll be the first to tell you the catch of his life was in 1947 when he met his wife Merla.
Sonny met Merla on the sands of Bulcock Beach when she was 14.
At the time Sonny was working with his family, who have been fishing in the region since Sonny's father Frederick George "Charlie" Chaplin got his fishing licence in 1911.
He and his brothers, Bob, Fred, Steve and Jim fished the Pumicestone Passage and started an ice works in Caloundra in 1942.
It was here the young couple married in 1951 and had their first child, Linda, before moving to Tewantin in 1952, where they stayed for more than 20 years.
Fishing then took them to Stradbroke Island, for another 26 years, but the couple has since settled back in Caloundra for retirement in 2005.
"We always wanted to come back," Merla said.
"We love the place."
"We always said we would come back here to finish our days," Sonny added in.
The couple has two children, Linda, 64, and Allan, 60, five grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Merla said one message they could pass on to young couples is to communicate and talk things over.
"We've just had a wonderful marriage,"
"Probably because I'm so cool tempered," she added with a big, throaty laugh.
"We've had our ups and downs I suppose; I lost my parents when I was 25, but we've all had our ups and downs and all that.
"It's really give and take, we've never had a row. People don't believe us, but we've never had a row in our married life.
"It's the honest to goodness truth.
"We don't always agree on everything, but it's our discussion about it."
Sonny said they always communicated.
"We've lasted so long together; the big trouble today is too much money and cards," he said.
"If we want to buy something, we talk it over, it's all about communication.
"We've just had a great life, and have always had terrific friends."
To celebrate their wedding anniversary, the Chaplins had a lunch with friends and family at Alfie's Mooo Char and Bar in Caloundra.