Growing up

Elise grew up in Belgium, whereas I grew up in Wales and then England, to where I moved when I was about nine years of age. Looking at the early photos, it is clear that my mother wanted a daughter (just look at my hair: the curls were made with red-hot curling tongs—I kid you not!) and that Elise's parents would have preferred a football-player (check out the boots!).

We met on the beach of Heist-aan-Zee in Belgium. Elise was a monitrice, in charge of a group of youngsters, and I was staying in Heist in order to attend an Elvis Presley convention being held in Brussels (it's a long story…).

I spoke no Dutch and Elise spoke no English, but we had loads of sand in which we could draw pictures of what we were trying to say. Communication gradually improved over the years before we married and we even saw each other now and then. We have few photos of us together, however, simply because we met so rarely ( a few times a year at best), had limited funds for photos (this was long before digital cameras) and took more photos of each other, rather than had photos taken of ourselves together.

In August 1971 I moved to Belgium and we were married two months later.


© David Neale 2013