Couple renew love that beat racial divide
Not everybody shared the love 50 years ago when Linda Smith, a black Bermudian, tied the knot with Rudolf Stroble, a white German.
Some people even sent back their wedding invitations.
Others said the marriage did not stand a chance.
“I feel like being in an interracial marriage is very beautiful,” Mrs Stroble said as the couple prepared to renew their vows on Saturday.
“My husband is a wonderful man, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The ceremony at St Anne’s Church in Southampton brought the avid repeat visitors back again to Bermuda with their families. But the Strobles carry the island with them in their home in Canada, where they moved in 1971.
Rachellin O’Connor, one of their seven children, explained: “People talk about racial tensions, but their whole life is nothing but love.
“I never see them together without holding hands. Although some people said it wouldn’t work, anyone who ever saw them would say how they are just in love.”
Mr Stroble is now 77; Mrs Stroble is 71.
Back in the mid-1960s, when they met, he was a chef at the Inverurie Hotel on Harbour Road in Paget, while she was a waitress.
Mr Stroble, originally from Heilbronn in Germany, had just arrived on a December 31 flight from England.
He said: “I still remember stepping off that airline. It was so beautiful. It was paradise, going out in that tropical air.”
The two immediately hit it off — although Mrs Stroble did not like the idea of getting asked out on his birthday.
But she recalled: “In my heart, I think we met because we were meant to meet.”
She added: “The best thing my husband likes to do is cuddle, which is why I have had so many babies.”
The R’s have it: Reuben is a police superintendent in Toronto; Rudolf, a bartender at the Pickled Onion in Bermuda; Rachellin, an administrator at KPMG; Rebecca, a social worker; Robin, a corrections officer; Renee, a hospital administrator, and Renate is a dental hygienist.
Mixed relationships are a common sight where they live in Mississauga, a city in Ontario near Toronto.
The Strobles had no issues over race with either of their families, but Mrs Stroble remembers posting the wedding invitation on the notice board at the Belmont Hotel, where she worked by then.
“Someone wrote ‘black and white’ on it and tore pieces off it,” she recalled with a shrug.
Bermudian food and music abounded in their home in Canada, and Rachellin remembered winning first prize at her school’s “hat day” with a Gombey headdress.
This Saturday, they renewed their vows at the same church where they were married in 1969.
Asked for their secret, Mrs Stroble said: “When you’re married, it’s not an easy task. We have ups and downs like everybody else.”
She added: “But we always talked things about. And we never went to bed without a cuddle.”
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