When 20-year-old Eric Ziliotto was stationed in Papua New Guinea during World War II, his spirits were lifted by a flirtatious pen pal relationship with a glamorous Griffith girl name Zoe.
One day, Zoe decided to send a photo of herself with her letter. As soon as Eric saw it, he knew what he had to do.
“That photo, wow. I reckon if she sent it to the Prime Minister, he would’ve married her,” Eric eyes light up and he grins as he tells Area News the story.
The couple married soon after the war, on 19 April 1947 at Griffith Catholic Church.
On Wednesday, they celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.
“Never once in that time have we ever thought of separating,” Zoe said.
Eric, now 93, and Zoe, 90, who demonstrate obvious chemistry towards each other, have lived in Griffith all their lives. Both are relatively fit for their age. Zoe still drives, and up until two years ago, Eric marched in ANZAC Day parades. He still plans to attend the Griffith RSL service next week, though he’ll arrive by jeep.
Eric is modest when talking about his service.
“They would’ve won the war without me,” he said.
Zoe’s service included several years of volunteer work for Meals On Wheels and other charities.
The couple have a son, Dean, and became grandparents for the first time two years ago.