More ‘Sweetheart’ stories

The love goes on...

Posted on Feb 05 2016 in Features

Readers weren’t shy about sharing their love stories for February’s ‘How I Met My Sweetheart’ feature. Though we only had room for 13 letters and six excerpts in the print version of Electric Consumer, there were many more reader-written stories that touched our hearts. We’d like to share some of them with you. Check back throughout the month as we add more of our readers’ sweet stories of their special someones.


‘Summer Wind’ brings love to them

In 2006, I traveled to the Philippines to attend the wedding of my son and his bride. I love to travel and was very excited because I had never been to the Asian part of the world and it was going to be a month-long adventure. I bought books and travel magazines so I could read up on the history and find out the points of interest in the two provinces we would be staying, Bohol and Leyte. While in Bohol, I first met my sweetheart, Gemma. She worked in the resort cafe and I enjoyed her short conversations each morning over breakfast and coffee. She was shy but had a warm smile and personality. She was a country girl, living away from town where the rice is grown.

After a few days I invited her for lunch, then dinner and then she accompanied me on a day trip to the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol and to see the tiny Tersier monkey habitat. It was at the top of the Chocolate Hills observatory where we shared our first and memorable kiss. Her company made my stay exciting and special since she had never been to these places herself.

We then took a ferry to Leyte and had a picnic at MacArthur Park — the spot where General Douglas MacArthur landed to liberate the Philippines during WWII. It was hard to leave Gemma but we stayed in touch via cell phone emails and WebCam chats. I went back to Bohol in 2007 and 2008, and my sweetheart came with me then. We were married in December 2008.

One of my favorite songs is Frank Sinatra’s “Summer Wind.” That song takes me back to that magical first kiss.



Love found them when they weren’t looking

I’ll never forget the Friday evening I left the REMC meeting of June 19, 2015. I decided to stop at one of the local bar/restaurants in Monticello to have a cocktail before going home. There was one bar stool open next to me and a tall, good-looking man came in and sat next to me. He asked for a menu and I thought to myself that he was probably from the Chicago area to be eating so late (10 p.m.) because of the different time zones. So I asked him where he was from and he mentioned a south suburb of Chicago that I had grown up near. We hit it off talking until midnight.

Neither one of us was “looking” for a relationship. I was twice widowed and didn’t need anyone coming into my life to tell me what to do. I raise Miniature Dachshunds and figured no one would want an older woman that had a bunch of little wiener dogs ruling the home. Chuck had been through a couple of unsuccessful relationships and he didn’t want to get involved again. I actually asked Chuck to go out the next evening, which was Saturday, for a Dutch treat dinner, so he wouldn’t feel obligated. I felt like I was high school age, again, deciding what to wear and putting on makeup. Our conversation was easy; we continued to have everything in common without trying to impress each other.

Chuck stopped by my house before he left to back to Chicago. The way my Doxies greeted him and he knelt down to talk with them, I knew he really was a good person that I wanted to get to know him more. Two weeks later he was able to come back to see me and we both knew that we could fall into a serious relationship without too much trouble.

We are engaged to be married and set the date for a year from when we met. Since this is a Leap Year, we will marry on June 18 to be on a Saturday, which happens to be my middle sister’s wedding anniversary! The whole timing of our meeting we know has been God looking out for us.

No one matched up to her

The fall of 1950 ushered me into the 8th grade at Rockford, Ohio, Junior High School. Dad became the superintendent of the school which caused me to change schools three times in my first eight grades. As I walked into the 8th grade room, I noted 43 new faces, one of which was Pat Friedly. I still remember the night we were attending the movie at the Rockford Theater when I mustered enough nerve to sit next to her, and she allowed me to hold her hand.

We dated occasionally in high school, and Pat agreed to go with me to the senior prom.

After graduation from high school, I attended Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and noticed other lovely coeds in my classes, but was too busy with studies to date.

Pat’s brother also went to OSU, and suggested that I invite Pat to the OSU homecoming game and dance in 1959. Duke Ellington’s band was playing. She accepted the invitation for the weekend. None of the coeds in my classes matched up to Pat during my first four years at Ohio State. To impress Pat over the homecoming weekend, I showed her my cadaver in Hamilton Hall as a first year medical student. That got her attention. She still remembers the white hair on that cadaver.

We wrote letters to each other the next two years, and would visit in Columbus or Rockford. We fell in love.

We were married June 18, 1961, in our church in Rockford, Ohio, and made our first home at Buckeye Village, while I finished my years in medical school.

We have two sons and a daughter married, 13 grandchildren, three great grandchildren with a fourth expected.

Our love is as strong now as when we took our vows in 1961, 54 years ago!



Still ‘cruising’

Back in the ’70s “cruising” was a popular thing to do. With gas prices well below $1 per gallon it was affordable and a fun thing to do with your friends. On a beautiful Friday night, my girlfriends and I decided to go to Celina, Ohio (Celina is a small town not far from where I grew up), and “cruise” the town.

Well, that particular night there were several cars cruising through town. If you wanted to talk with a car you would follow one another into a parking lot and just talk from inside your vehicle. While cruising we decided to talk with a carload of boys. When pulling up beside this car a boy in the car told his friends “I like the blonde girl in the back seat.” Later that evening the whole group ate pizza together and talked for hours.

Sure enough, this boy asked me out on a date and we dated for two years. Then one night while he and I were cruising through Celina we stopped at a red light where he asked me to marry him. At the next red light he put my engagement ring on my finger. This may not have been the most romantic proposal but an appropriate one when you think of how we met.

We celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary last year and we still enjoy cruising together through this wonderful life that we have been blessed to share with one another.



It was meant to be

Scott and I met in 1992 while he was traveling during a ministry trip. He is from Indiana, I Pennsylvania. We immediately hit it off and kept a long distance relationship for nearly a year. It was apparent that the 500 mile difference was too much to continue and we were both too young for marriage so it was broken off.

We both went our separate ways but there was emptiness within us both and we couldn’t move on. We had no idea what was going on in each others’ lives or where our lives had taken us for those two years. My mother listened to me talk about Scott over those years and knew that I missed him terribly. She felt compelled to try Scott’s old phone number, not knowing if it was still his. She left a message saying she didn’t know why she was calling, just wanted to see how he was and let him know he was on our minds. I had no idea she made the call.

In the meantime, Scott had also been thinking of calling me. He finally decided he couldn’t take the separation any longer and the message from my mother tipped the scales. Knowing the distance between us was still going to be a challenge, he would take a drastic step. Not knowing if I had moved on permanently or not, he took a chance and called.

After a quick “how have you been?” and a couple of calls later, he invited me to Indiana for a family member’s wedding. He proposed at the reception and we were married three months later. We have been married 21 years, live in Southern Indiana and have two wonderful children! It was meant to be from Day One!



She fell in love with ‘REMC guy’

In November of 1967, Dave had just started working at REMC. I was working at the local diner.

The guys from REMC would come in the diner for their coffee break in the afternoon. My boss saw the guys coming in and sent me out front to put dishes away. This was something he would do. There wasn’t much room for only one or two people behind the counter.

Dave’s boss liked to tease people and started to tease me about Dave. Later on, the guys would have Dave come in the back door just to go past me. His boss would sometimes tie my apron in knots for fun.

Later on, I told my mother I had met the man I was going to marry. I was only 15 at the time and didn’t date yet.

I worked till the diner closed that spring. So, the REMC guys would have to go somewhere else for coffee break. That fall, my sister and I would go uptown after school to have a Coke so we would go to where the guys were having their break (my sister’s idea).

We went out a few times and one of our dates was to the REMC Christmas party. Some of the office ladies were surprised to see Dave with a date. The guys knew we were going out some.

When I cam back to Indiana from Texas we started seeing each other again. Just before the REMC Christmas party, Dave gave me an engagement ring. This was a surprise to some at the party.

We were married that next June of 1973. Now, almost 43 years later, we have three children and 10 grandchildren. What a life!



The Calumet romance

The year was 1980. I was the locomotive engineer assigned to the Amtrak train that operated between Valparaiso, Indiana, and Union Station located in Chicago, Illinois. This train was the sole surviving “Valpo Dummy” from the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) era. I had just completed the day’s operation and brought the four car passenger train to its final stop at the Valparaiso station The passengers filed by the cab window of the locomotive enroute to their respective vehicles in the parking lot. Nothing out of the ordinary for me. Just another day “at the office.”

About midway through the crowd I spotted a beautiful, long-haired woman. Suddenly, she had my full attention. She was dressed in the usual business attire like so many of the other passengers. I watched intently as she walked to her vehicle with her long hair flowing down to her waist. I seriously thought about asking her out on a date. Howevever, I quickly dismissed this thought as quickly as I had thought of it — out of my league for sure.

I continued to operate the train whenever my seniority would allow me to hold the job. Each time I operated the train, I witnessed the same woman boarding the train in the morning and de-boarding the train in the evening. Finally, having mustered enough inner courage, I asked her out. We were married on St. Patrick’s Day, 1984. The train service was discontinued over this route on Friday, May 3, 1991. She’d cut her hair since then. However, she’s just as beautiful today as she was when she passed by the locomotive window some 36 years ago.



The tale of Zoomy and Frenchie

I was in freshman English class — a scared, shy 15 year old. My Zoomy was a sophomore who had flunked freshman English/literature and came first semester to make up credits.

When he rushed in that first day, just as the bell was ringing to begin class, I was disgusted. He had messy long hair, sloppy clothes and looked like he’d just come off a three-day hangover. He flopped down in the desk chair right behind me, threw his head down on his arms and was instantly asleep until teacher Paul Walker took charge.

My very thoughts in that moment were “Dear God, that’s probably just the kind of guy I’ll marry some day so help me be kind!!” I was not impressed at all.

After that semester, our paths never crossed again until six years later. I was walking across Highway 50 in Shoals, heading toward Alco Dime Store, and this nut on a motorcycle nearly ran me over.

Yes! You guessed it. It was my Zoomy, and I still was not impressed. After finding out where I worked the next day, offering me a cycle ride home, my opinion changed completely!! That was 40 years ago this July 7, 2016, and by God’s grace we’re still together. I’m very thankful for my wonderful family. I will always treasure the good times we’ve had. He’s still my Zoomy and I hope I’m still his Frenchie.



Classmate’s ‘big mistake’ was her love at first sight

Four of my friends and I were at a basketball tourney, sitting in the balcony. A girl from our school brought her friend, Tom, up to where we were sitting and introduced him to us as “her big mistake.” It was immediate infatuation with both of us. He spent the rest of the evening with me!

I was only 15 and my folks wouldn’t let me date till I was 16. He was 18. Therefore, I couldn’t even go to graduation and prom. I asked my best friend to go with him to the prom as his guest. He was sad I couldn’t date yet, but he was willing to wait.

Meantime, my folks checked about him through people who knew him and his school bus driver, etc. They loved him very much until their deaths.

We have been married 67 1/2 years and love each other very much. He proved to be a wonderful husband — never smoked, drank any alcoholic drinks, never swore, a good Christian. He’s never even had one speeding ticket in 74 years of driving! We were married in an old ’32 Ford we salvaged from a gravel pit on his folks’ farm — four used tires, put in rebuilt motor, painted. I covered seats and door panels. We were poor but happy!



From auction ring to wedding ring

I first met my husband when I was seven years old and he was 16. Needless to say, neither one of us was very interested in the other. Our siblings were dating each other at the time. Fast forward to 1964 and the Noble County 4-H fair. I was chasing my pig through the auction ring and Lawrence was one of the ring masters. He recognized my name and we talked briefly. He sent me a letter and since I didn’t remember the connection, I started to throw it away. My mother told me it was only polite to respond to his letter and the rest is history. We will be married 50 years on Dec. 30, 2016.



City mouse to country cousin

When we’re young, we assume our lives will continue being very much the same as we’ve always known. If we’re lucky enough to be living a good life in a pleasant, stimulating place, surrounded by those who love us, we usually never envision leaving it all behind, becoming part of quite a different lifestyle.

I was born and raised in Indianapolis in a family which took advantage of the many things available in our big city. I could always get to where I wanted to be in our cozy Irvington suburb through the simple act of walking. The streets, deeply shaded by lovely, old trees, also provide miles of sidewalks. They were nature trails long before such things became formally recognized. They were just there and we used them, visiting friends, running to the local stores, and walking to school from first through 12th grades. Also, in those days everyone rode the city buses to go “downtown.” A bus stop was right at the end of our driveway, and from there, the entire city was ours.

Yes, that was my life, and I thought some version of it would continue. But one cold, wintry evening in early 1960, all that changed.

After being at my job all day, and taking another bus downtown, I had attended a class at the downtown IU Extension Center. I was working hard and hoped to soon return to the Bloomington campus to continue my education. The downstairs coffee shop in the IU building gave me a spot where I could rest up before heading out in the snowy nighttime streets. It was a long way to my bus stop in front of Ayres department store.

Suddenly, there was a handsome man standing there, looking down at me. He was blond, tall, and his voice was deep and reassuring. He said, “Mind if I join you?” Well, heck, yeah, he could! When he found out what I was planning to do, he couldn’t believe it. It seemed very reckless to him, and he was going to see to it that I wasn’t going to do such a thing. He walked me to that bus stop, and from that time on, he was a major part of my life.

We had a fall wedding that year, and the next thing I knew, we were living in our tiny mobile home in his parents’ backyard on the Henry County family farm. No suburban neighborhood, no sidewalks, no buses, and I was a long hour’s drive home from all I’d ever known.

Through the years we lived in some other country houses, and were blessed with three great sons. Finally, we built our own forever home on family land. We’re still here, enjoying the ever-changing beauty of the countryside through our many windows.

Although it took awhile, my heart’s focus has now long been here, rather than in the hometown I loved. The warmth of this community, our family, friends, church, and especially that handsome and tall young man from the coffee shop, have utterly changed my life. It’s not what I had envisioned for my future, but now I know that, of course, God had a plan for me and this is it.

For 55-plus years, we’ve evolved and grown together, and Dan is still my friend and protector, just as he was that first night.



‘I love you — not for the way you talk’

“Roses are red, violets are blue. We’re so in love. We hope you are, too!”

It all began when I was 19 years old. My sister was married and her husband had a 27-year-old brother, Lloyd. I was really shy and hadn’t dated anyone.

One weekend, my sister and her husband came over to Mom and Dad’s and brought Lloyd with them. My sister came into my bedroom with me and said, “Lloyd is going to ask you out.”

“He’s too old for me,” I answered.

“Well, you don’t have to marry him,” she said, and we both laughed about it.

My first date with Lloyd was on Nov. 11, 1972. Thanksgiving night he asked me to marry him. I said “yes” but later said I couldn’t. You see, I have a speech impediment. I stutter and I told him he wouldn’t want a wife who would embarrass him.

He cried and said, “I want to marry you because I love you — not for the way you talk.”

What I love most about Lloyd is his gentleness. He saw past my speech and loved me for me. He treated me like someone special and he still does.

We were engaged on New Year’s Eve. Lloyd and I were married Feb. 3, 1973. And we will be married 43 years this year. God has brought me a long way with my speech. God is faithful.



Reunited years later

My husband and I were born in this same small county hospital one year and 13 days apart. We actually met in school. I was in the seventh grade, he was in the eighth. We “went steady” for a little while. We had a different group of friends and eventually went our separate ways. We’d see each other through the years. We both married different people and had children. My daughter and his son worked at the same pizza house but we didn’t realize it. One night, his son invited us to a party and there was my future husband, divorced. I was also divorced. That was Nov. 18, 1986. We were married Feb. 14, 1987. This year will be our 29th wedding anniversary. We are starting our retirement years and look forward to growing old and grey together. Daily, we say “I love you,” to each other.



He lost the coin toss — but won the girl!

My “sweetie” and I met on a blind date. Now I know many people meet on blind dates but the circumstances of this blind date are quite different than most. I also didn’t learn about this until much later and you will surely understand why once the story is told.

It all started on the first day of freshman orientation at Ball State University in 1967. A girl on my floor of the residence hall asked if two girls would like to go on a “coke” date with two freshman boys from another hall. (Back in the olden days we actually met for Coca-Cola with friends at snack bars around campus.) Anyway, another girl and myself decided to jump right into college life and said we would meet the boys. When we met the two guys they seemed to know which girl to go with and off we went to the Dugout. Years later, I found out how they knew which girl to go with. They had flipped a coin for the blonde (not me!) and destiny was set. My guy had lost the toss but since we celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary in June we don’t consider ourselves losers at all!! By the way, the other couple never went out again. So much for coin tosses!



From first meeting to last words

In the winter of 1941, I was snow sledding and had an accident. Tail bone landed on sled runner. I was unable to go to school that second semester of sophomore year in Freelandville.

My mother wanted to go to Hammond for work and I could recuperate there. I had decided to quit school and after recuperating, get a job.

Come spring, Mother and I went to Freelandville to visit my aunt. She had a son, Wendell, a year younger than me. He begged me to go back to school with him. I said I didn’t want to go to a class with younger kids!

I spent the night at my aunt’s. A big storm came up during the night and by morning the ditch that ran in front of their house was filled with water. Wendell said, “Audrey, get your bathing suit on and let’s go wading.” Which I did! As  we started wading down the ditch we met two of his classmates coming. He introduced his fried Paul Kixmiller to me. He looked so adorable with his pants legs rolled up with a big grin on his face! I knew right that moment that I was going back to school!

On our first date he kissed me on the cheek! That intrigued me! We were married in 1946. We had three children and raised a foster child.

I used to ask him “Where did we meet?”

He would say, “Ditch.”

Then, “What was the color of my bathing suit?”

He would say, “Blue.”

He was ill for nine months. When he was near death and couldn’t talk, I told the nurse to ask him those questions. He said, “Ditch,” then “Blue.”

Those were his last words!



The secret to life

I was married to the love of my life for 50 years, until a car wreck ended my world. He died instantly. After three years, being alone became a trial. I joined a Christian dating site and met a man my age, my heritage, my goals and who shared my love for the Lord. I drove to meet him and got a hotel room. He took me to dinner as work would allow. He was a catastrophic storm claims adjuster and never knew ahead how long the job would last. Back home I missed him; he missed me. We married. Could it happen twice? I had asked the Lord for the desires of my heart, but only if they were His desires.

The day after we married, his job was finished. We came home to the ranch so excited! We talked constantly, drank our coffee in the morning, and prayed together at night. We worked hard taking care of our animals — goats, chickens, rabbits and ducks. Farm work is a gift.

Then I had a stroke. I tore up my to-do list of farm chores and threw our goals in the trash. I could barely lift my feet to walk. He contracted shingles. Weren’t we a pair?

One morning, he went out to do chores. I had stopped helping him and was attempting to keep the house. His voice drifted through the house, yelling my name, screaming for help! Something was terribly wrong!

The 300 pound Billy goat was taking him down blow by blow. Having hit him from behind, my husband crawled through the gate and shut it. Billy powered through the gate and attacked over and over rolling his head back under his chest to gore him.

When I looked out the window and saw the scene, I panicked! I walked as fast as I could, barefooted, grabbed a ball bat, and took forever to get to him. The goat got a lick in on me and I got one in on him with the bat. When I opened the gate, he went into the pasture. We got to the house and sank into chairs. My husband said he had no more strength, and thanked me for saving his life.

The secret to life is thankfulness. Thankful for all the people God has placed in your life and for all things. Trials make us closer. I am married to a second most wonderful man in the world!



Dancing through life

In 1962, I graduated from Butler University where I had thumped across the stage in my walking cast to receive my diploma. (I broke my leg two weeks before.) A few weeks later I went to the State Rural Youth Camp in Merom, Indiana. The leg cast had been removed three days prior.

Rural Youth events usually featured square dancing which I enjoyed. But I was having trouble with my stiff leg. Several of my partners were subtly critical of my awkward “swing.” But then, I met this really nice guy from Bartholomew County who was understanding, considerate and fun. We danced a lot and he didn’t complain about my swing. After camp — where would I see him again?

As luck would have it, my parents and their best friends decided to go to the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair. And, much to their surprise, I asked to go along. I cruised the fairgrounds and ran into the “nice guy” from Rural Youth Camp. We checked out the Fair and he asked to take me home. Fifty-three years later, we’re still going to the fair.



Courted with a Porkfolio

I noticed the tall new guy at my church in downtown Philadelphia and thought, “God, I’d like to get to know Greg.” I was willing to be part of the answer to my own prayer, so somehow we found ourselves at the same table when a group of us went out for lunch.

I learned that Greg was a farm boy from Indiana, out East to take a job in industry. Apparently, I got his attention when I told him I was born in Lafayette. (Hmmm, did I mention that my family moved when I was five and I remembered almost nothing of living here?) He asked me out on my 24th birthday.

He took me out to a diner. Now, I was a New England gal who figured I was pretty cosmopolitan living in the big city. Shoot, I even worked in the subway concourse. I wasn’t wholly impressed with diner food. But I decided I liked Greg.

Sure, his idea of small talk was pulling out a homemade notebook with pig pictures that his mom had clipped from farming magazines. This porkfolio was his leaving-home gift. What can I say? I guess I like quirky.

We got married 10 months later in the church where we’d met. We left for our honeymoon dressed in overalls and seed corn hats. Greg’s dad brought a basket of corn kernels for folks to toss as we dashed for the car with the “Just Married” sign. A homeless lady sitting on a bench waved and shouted her well wishes as we drove off.

Why should I be surprised that my Hoosier groom got homesick after a few years of big city life? We moved to Indiana in 1989, and have raised four wonderful children here. But I still don’t understand Greg’s nostalgia for hogs.



A special love

I worked at the local drug store soda fountain. In walked my friend Bob with the young man I would date and later marry. Al offered me a ride home when I’m off work. He had caught my eye, but knowing my Mom’s rules I had to say no. But as he smiled at me and Bob giggled at the two of us, I got a brilliant idea. I said if he would take Bob with us, drop me off first, then I could go with him.

The next day I got a phone call and a date.

Two years later he got a “draft notice”. He joined the Air Force.

We were married a year later in a beautiful candlelight ceremony May 26,1956. Our love began to grow deeper.

He continued an Air Force career for the next 20 years. We reared two beautiful children, helping them feel at home wherever we lived.

We watched as our families grew smaller due to deaths and became the strong seniors in the family.

We are approaching our 60th wedding anniversary this May 26, 2016.

We admit that at 18 and 21 years old, we had no comprehension of 60 years of love for each other. But I know it shows in our life as we walk hand in hand no matter where we’re going. Very recently our family doctor told us that he and his wife wanted to be just like us when they are our age. He told us he could a see a special love in us, just how special that was, and to keep it up. I think we glow or something special, and that’s just fine with us!

We love each other in very special ways, God has blessed us.



Patience pays off

I met my husband of 15 years in my final year of college through his older brother who was in one of my college classes. We were both dating other people at the time, but my future brother-in-law didn’t see that as a problem as he said he was patient and would just wait for us to break up with the people we were each dating. When my husband and his girlfriend went separate ways, his brother made sure that I found out and suggested that I pass along my phone number. Finally, months later, my relationship did end. Just hours after my break-up, I was at a gas station when my future brother-in-law also was. He asked me why I was crying, and when he found out it was because of a break-up he said, “Yes! My brother is in town. You guys can finally go out!” We didn’t go that day but with his brother’s persistence, we did eventually begin dating in 1998 and four children later, things are only getting better!



‘Stand out’ name lands lady of his dreams

Do you remember the name of everyone you have ever met? Luckily for me, my name is a STAND OUT, which helped me land the lady of my dreams.

During the county fair of 1999, I clearly remember wasting time by walking around. I do remember stopping only once to introduce myself to two girls who were my age.

My wife remembers the same instance. After my introduction, she remembers laughing and saying to her friend, “Who would ever name their child LEANDER JACOB HOOVER?”

Flash forward four years: On my way to a teacher meeting, I got a quick drink from the drinking fountain. After filling up on water, I turned around and nearly bumped into the prettiest lady I had ever seen. I wondered who she was as she continued walking down the hallway. Love at first sight? This would be the second time we met.

Miss (Jamie) Layer was her name. Being a teacher myself, I conjured up an idea that required help from another teacher. Coincidence? I knew the PERFECT PERSON to help me! I knew all her coworkers in 3rd grade. This was going to be easy! Right?

One of her coworkers said, “Leander Hoover needs help with a classroom project. Miss Layer, are you interested in helping him?” Miss Layer heard my name, turned her head to the side, and thought for a moment. She heard that name before! Why does that name right a bell?

Fast forward 10 more years. Mr. Leander Jacob Hoover and the previously known Miss Layer (now, Mrs. Hoover) both laugh about the first (county fair) and second (water fountain) and third (formally introducing myself) time we met each other. We all know the common saying … “Third time is a charm!”



Life changed on a Friday night

On a Friday night in August, my friend and I were coming out of a pool hall where we played pool most Friday nights. As we entered the sidewalk, this pink and white Oldsmobile passed by with two girls in it blowing the horn and waving. We jumped in my car and chased them to the Lincoln carhop where they parked and we pulled beside them and started talking. After about 30 minutes, they got in my car and we drove around town. I kept asking this beautiful brunette to go out with me on Saturday night. She kept saying “no” but finally gave in and we had a wonderful Saturday evening attending a movie and eating. This was in 1957. I was a junior in high school, she was a freshman. After five years, we married in 1962. We celebrated our 53rd anniversary on June 16, 2015. That turned out to be the best night of my life in 1957. (The name of the beautiful, loving lady is Joyce Puckett.)



Childhood sweethearts

We met in the fall of 1944. Mort was in 3rd grade and I was in 2nd grade. We didn’t know about “love at first sight,” but that must have been what it was.

We both attended Beaver Dam Church and the Beaver Dam School. We lived about a mile from each other. In winter, we went ice skating on a pond and saw a lot of each other.

In high school, we each dated other boys and girls. Our first “real” date was the movie “The Glenn Miller Story” with Jimmy Stewart and June Allison in 1954. We began going steady and were married on Sept. 24, 1955!



‘I knew she would be my wife’

I met my sweetie at the Fredericks 5 and 10 cent store. She started working there in June 1943 and I started working there in September 1943 after school. When I first saw her go around the counter I knew she would be my wife. I started walking her home in November and in December we started going together. We were married December 28, 1944. We were married 71 years in December.



We made music together, but the harmony was difficult!

We’ve been making music together for 55 years, but the harmony sure didn’t come easily.

We met as freshman music majors at Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind. — she was from central Maryland and I came from western Pennsylvania. Though we shared many classes together, including music theory, sight reading, and music history, we had no romantic interest in each other. Just classmates.

But we kept spending lots and lots of time together. Piano lessons and recitals. Choir tours (she was the accompanist, I sang). Trips to choral festivals and music educators’ conventions. Sharing rides to our piano lessons, which were in the professor’s home some 20 minutes from campus.

The summer after our sophomore year I toured the country with a male quartet from the college. She stayed in Winona Lake, working as a maid at a local hotel to earn money for the next semester.

When my tour ended, a chance conversation under the pergola on the patio of the Westminster Hotel got pretty frank. We pretty much leveled about what we did NOT like about the other. She, I thought, was cool and too independent. I, she opined, was too loud and boisterous. Arrogant, even.

Summer ended. Classes began. Something was different.

Then recital preparations began. A two-piano junior recital. We began dating. Then serious preparation for the senior recital. Hours and hours of practice. Still some “prickly times” in our relationship, but we HAD to stay together. We had to get along well enough to play that senior recital so we could both graduate. It may be that the recital saved the relationship!

After graduation, she began teaching school in Wawaka and I went down to Bloomington to IU for graduate work. We got married the following April at her home church in Maryland. The Grace College choir sang at our wedding. The choir director performed the ceremony. A women’s quartet from the choir sang. It was half wedding and half choir concert!

It’s lasted. April 16, 2015, we celebrated 50 years of marriage. We’re still playing piano duets and often play piano/organ for church, for a local retirement home, and wherever asked.

These days, the harmony is pretty good. Thank goodness for that senior recital that held it all together until our relationship could mature into something that would last!



Artistic connection

It was my senior year in high school and during art class, our teacher showed us the work of a former student she ran into. She wanted to show us what college art classes would expect. Ironically, this was the same college I was going to attend in the fall to become an art teacher. I recognized his name and recalled us being in the same art class a few years back.

A couple of months later, our church was having a youth winter dance and by chance this same guy came with his friend. I approached him, stated I had seen his talented art work and wondered if he could answer a few questions about the university’s art program. He looked stunned and fumbled a bit in our conversation. He told me he could hardly believe I was talking to him, because he attempted to make conversation by saying “hi” in high school, but felt my quick “hello” back was cold and uninterested in him. He admitted he had a secret crush on me and I told him I had no idea but was quite flattered.

We danced and talked and found out we had many things in common. At the end of the evening, he asked me for a kiss and I obliged. I knew he was “the one.” I had given up on dating and love and was focusing on college but here was the man I would marry a year later. Twenty-eight years ago and two children, we could not be happier. We have had our ups and downs like everyone, but would not have it any other way. I have always believed in true love and when you least expect it, it will find you.