Liverpool: In 1932, Doug Thompson asked eighteen-year-old Bill Nickerson to go to Milton with him. Doug had a package to drop off at the home of his girlfriend, Thursa Brown.Bill didn’t know anyone in Milton so he felt he wouldn’t bother to go. But as fate would have it, he decided to accompany his friend.
Bill and Doug arrived at the Brown’s home in Milton. When fifteen-year-old Roberta “Bertie” Brown walked into the room, Bill could not believe how beautiful she was. For him, it was love at first sight.
Bill says, “It was like heaven. Something went over me that I can’t explain.”
Doug and his girlfriend, Thursa, decided to go for a drive in Doug’s car; Bill and Bertie went with them. Bill admits he really didn’t know what to talk about. Once Bertie told him that she was in Grade 11, that broke the ice and a conversation soon began. Bill loved to sing back then and as the conversation continued, he decided to sing for Bertie. They both recall the song was “Carolina Moon Keep Shining”. For the next three years, Bill walked to Milton every Friday to spend the evening with Bertie. She would always have a chocolate cake ready for him. Bill’s friends often joked, asking if he loved Bertie or her chocolate cakes.
At 10 o’clock, Bertie’s dad, Cecil Brown, would tell Bill it was time to leave because back in those days it was not proper to spend the night. Bill would walk back home where he lived with his parents on Bristol Avenue.
Bertie and Bill exchanged their marriage vows in her parents’ home.In 1935, Bertie turned 18 so she and Bill decided it was time to get married. Bill made another visit to Milton but this time it was to ask Mr. Brown for his permission to marry his daughter.
On Dec. 2, 1935, they exchanged their wedding vows at her parent’s home in Milton – the place where they first met. After the wedding, Bill and Bertie lived in Liverpool and Bill worked for the Markland Shipping Company for three years. Later, he got a job in the electrical department at the Mersey Paper Company where he was employed for 44 years. Around 1940, Bill joined the Liverpool Fire Department; he is the oldest living former member of that organization.
Bertie worked at Queens General Hospital when it first opened in 1949 and she was employed there for 14 years. In 1950, they built their home on Bristol Avenue where they continue to live today. They had two sons, Peter and Michael, four grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.
Bill and Bertie enjoyed traveling. They drove to Florida a few times, towing their trailer. They also made frequent trips to Toronto to visit Doug and Thursa.
Bill is now 101 and has lived to be the oldest in the Nickerson family. Bertie recently celebrated her 98th birthday. They are both the last surviving members of their immediate families, having lost all of their siblings.
On Dec. 2, Bill and Bertie Nickerson celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary. They have a love story that has lasted for more than 83 years. Their anniversary is a record for Queens County, perhaps even Nova Scotia. After doing a bit of research, it appears that they most likely have one of the longest marriages in Canada.