Inspirational stories leading up to Valentine’s Day are abundant, but few can match how true love has stood the test of time quite like long-time Chemainus couple Ejlif and Anna Mose.
They’ll be celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this year on June 9.
The date they tied the knot in their native Denmark way back in 1951 just happens to coincide with Ejlif’s birthday. “That was so he would remember the anniversary,” joked daughter Jane.
Ejlif will turn 93 on June 9 and Anna reaches another milestone later in the year with her 90th birthday on Oct. 8.
So what’s the secret to their long and endearing relationship?
“We get along very good,” said Ejlif.
“I still love him,” added Anna. “He bugs me once in a while, but I still love him. In the long run, we’re getting along just fine – we must be after that many years. I would have run away a long time ago.”
Ejlif’s hearing isn’t quite as good as it used to be. Then, again, that can work out as a convenient excuse if he ever needs one for not following Anna’s instructions.
The couple has enjoyed a prosperous life mostly in Chemainus with their family.
Oldest sons Harry, now 69 and a former mayor of Port Hardy living in Nanaimo, and Allan, 66, of Campbell River were both born in Denmark before Ejlif and Anna emigrated to Canada in 1958.
Once in Canada, Brian, now 61, of Nanoose Bay and Jane, 56, of Saltair were their additions to the family. The Moses have 13 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and even three great-great grandchildren.
Ejlif and Anna (nee Ohlenschlaeger) were living in Esbjerg, Denmark when they met on March 9, 1950.
“We just met out of the blue,” recalled Anna.
“It was about 20 minutes after I came out of the navy,” said Ejlif.
“Thank God he was out of that,” remarked Anna.
Following their early years of married life with the two kids, they thought about relocating.
“Over there in those days, it was hard to get anything to live in,” said Anna. “We always thought we wanted to get out and get somewhere.”
So Canada it was, as good a place as anywhere.
Ejlif made the move over first. “I wanted to have a look at it,” he explained.
“I had Harry and Allan, I came five months later,” noted Anna. “Harry and Allan were six and three years old.”
It was a long trip, five days on the train from Halifax, before arriving on the west coast.
“We came to Canada, fell in love with it, Vancouver Island, and we’re still here,” enthused Ejlif.
There were trying times since they actually had to learn English on the fly.
They settled in Ladysmith first for about a year and then bought a house on Henry Road in Chemainus where they stayed for 10 years before moving to Hawthorne Street for 32 years. They’ve been in their current residence for another 20 years since 2001.
Ejlif spent the bulk of his working days divided between commercial fishing and the graveyard shift at the previous Chemainus sawmill for 25 years until it closed in 1982.
“He’d sleep three hours and he’d be gone again,” said daughter Jane. “It was crazy.”
But commercial fishing was in Ejlif’s blood and he just stepped up that aspect of his life when the mill closed. He bought a bigger boat and fished fulltime after that. With the family all grown up, Anna went out fishing with him for 10 years.
“Sadly, he had a heart attack or he would have still been fishing,” she said. “You couldn’t get him away from it.”
“I survived, but the doctor told me not to go fishing anymore,” noted Ejlif. “I sold my boat.”
He’s otherwise enjoyed good health and so has Anna.
“We’re still in fairly good shape, I feel I’m getting tired now,” he said. “I like to read, but my sight is not so good.”
“I’ve had my little problems, but I’m still here,” she smirked. “When things come up, you have to think you’re not 25 anymore.”
The couple has been fortunate to travel extensively over the years, with numerous trips back to the old country and Hawaii, in particular.
“We’re very lucky and we’re here and we’re still together,” added Anna. “It’s what we’re still thankful for. It is hard to believe we’ve been together that long. Time has just flown. It’s unreal it’s been 70 years. It hasn’t always been peaches and cream. If someone tells me different, they’re lying.”
As much as their love remains strong after so long, this Valentine’s Day is also a reminder of how much they love Chemainus and how the town’s been such an integral part of their lives.
“I’ve seen many countries, but this is special, our town,” said Ejlif. “It’s a beautiful place to live. I love it here.
“We met so many nice people here over the years. I can think only good things.”
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