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 apart.
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.
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 then.”
Although the two lived close by – Marlene in Coopers Road, Northfleet and Jean in The Hollies, Gravesend – their paths never crossed.
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 great-great-grandchild.
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.”