Theirs was an arranged marriage. The month they were introduced was also the month they became husband and wife; no courtship, no date. It was a new year, 1945, everything was done in a hurry during the Japanese occupation. He was 24, she was 19. She grew to like her husband who was tall, handsome and caring; he quickly grew protective of his sweet and hardworking wife. Their son was born by the end of the year, the first of six. In those days, no one talked about love.
In the early lean years, she tended to the farm, rearing pigs, ducks and chickens while bringing up six children on her own. She told everyone she was the second wife, the first was his art. He was a teacher, later principal, and a passionate artist on the side. His work and passion consumed him, causing him to spend little time with his wife and family. But he was always conscious of this neglect. When he retired from education to concentrate on art, he tried as much as possible to involve his wife, who was his arms and legs when he painted on location.
In 2003 when he was awarded the Cultural Medallion at 82, he wept and dedicated the award to his wife for her support. Today at 100, he still paints while his wife suffers from dementia. He takes daily walks with her, amuses her and ensures she is treated the way she has always been, with the respect and dignity of one who had supported him all her life. He does not talk about love, even though he wears his heart clearly on his sleeves.