School friends reunited in Gravesend nearly 70 years after last meeting
Jean Johnson, née Wotton,
right, and Marlene Wise, née Fischer, met on their first day of
secondary school nearly 70 years ago
It took more than six decades, but old school friends Jean
Johnson and Marlene Wise finally met up again when they both moved
to a care home – despite previously living less than three miles
Jean Johnson, nee Wotton, and Marlene Wise, nee Fischer, met on
their first day of secondary school almost 70 years ago.
They were in the same class at the former Collier Road Secondary
School, Northfleet, for four years, before leaving school at the
ages of 14 and 15 respectively.
But they didn’t meet again – until now.
"I walked into the lounge and I knew who she was straight away" – Jean Johnson
Jean said: “Well, I
walked into the lounge and I knew who she was straight away. I
said, ‘Marlene Fischer, what are you doing here?’
“Of course, I didn’t know she’d got married and changed her name
Although the two lived close by – Marlene in Coopers Road,
Northfleet and Jean in The Hollies, Gravesend – their paths never
Then, by an incredible coincidence, the two moved into Watling
Court, Gravesend, within a week of each other.
The pair are now both 80, and have large families. Jean has
three children and six grandchildren while Marlene has four
children, nine grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and one
The two are now inseparable and are two of the biggest
characters at Watling Court.
Manager Zena Thomas said: “It’s a wonderful thing to see. They
add to the atmosphere we have here and everyone loves their double
act. It’s touching to see how close they are.
“We read about old people being lonely so much, but Marlene and
Jean prove that you’re never too old to have fun and make, or
renew, a friendship.”
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