After Evelyn Daily’s older sister turned down Richard “Dick” Fleming for a date to a Clay Township High School function, he decided he would just ask Evelyn, the younger sister, to go with him instead.
“It made me very happy,” Evelyn said. “I kinda liked him anyhow. He was a pure gentleman and is to this day.”
They’d both noticed each other in school before. Dick who was a junior, said Evelyn, a sophomore at the time, was a pretty good flirt. Even though she says she can’t remember flirting with him, she’s certain that she probably did. After all, Dick was Evelyn’s dream man.
“He had coal black wavy hair and was tall,” Evelyn said. “He was just everything you’d want in a man and he was nice.”
They have been together ever since they went out on that date in 1938, and they say that even if Evelyn’s sister agreed to the date with Dick, he and Evelyn still would’ve ended up together.
“She was a different type than he,” Evelyn said of her sister. “And he was my man.”
The couple went out together one night a week, usually on Sundays, during their high school years since that was the only time Dick could borrow his dad’s car. They’d go see movies or eat at Gerard Tenderloin in town.
“I was pretty happy,” Dick said. “We just got along real good. We could talk to each other. I thought she was pretty special.”
Dick knew in the beginning that he wanted to marry Evelyn. Over the course of their courtship, their feelings for one another grew.
“I’d never dated any other boys,” Evelyn said. “I just loved him.”
At a school dance, three years after the couple had started dating, Dick proposed to Evelyn. Evelyn said it wasn’t anything elaborate, but it was special. Of course, she said yes.
Dick was 20 and Evelyn was 18 when they were married in the rectory of St. Patrick’s Church on Sept. 25, 1941.
They lived with Dick’s parents for a short time after they were married before they rented a house of their own. It was tough for Evelyn to get used to the lifestyle of Dick’s parents. It was different than how she grew up.
“Til’ we got out on our own, it was an adjustment,” Evelyn said. “It was better to have our own place.”
But the newlyweds’ relationship with each other was great. Evelyn loved being married to Dick, and he felt the same way.
“We got along fine,” Dick said. “We had our ups and downs, but it was never hard to work out.”
The Flemings encountered tragedy about a year after they were married when they lost their baby, due to a doctor’s error in delivery.
“That was terrible,” Evelyn said. “We looked so forward to having a baby, and he died in child birth. It shook me up and Dick, too.”
They started going to a new doctor who said it would be a good idea to get pregnant right away in order to push away the sad feelings.
“That would give us something to look forward to then,” Dick said of the doctor’s advice for the couple.
“We both felt really bad, and we both wanted another one,” Evelyn said. “The good Lord made it happen.”
The couple went on to have six children, three boys and three girls. For fifteen years they rented a dairy farm that belonged to Dick’s aunt and uncle. Along with full-time farming, Dick also got a full-time job at Kingston.
In the mid-eighties after Dick retired, the couple moved to Florida for 25 years. They said loved the weather there so much. They moved back to Kokomo earlier this year to be around their family, and these days they spend time together playing cards, going out to eat and going to church. Their love for each other hasn’t changed since the day they were married.
“I love him as much today as the day I got married to him,” Evelyn said. “I never lost my love for him.”
They said over their 72 years of marriage, the most important thing for them was to never go to bed mad at each other.
“If you ever have an argument or a fuss, which is normal for a marriage, you work it out before you go to bed,” Evelyn said. “Everything’s not rosy in a marriage. You have to work it out and deal with it.”
“You have to take a lot and give a lot,” Dick said. “You gotta have love in your heart.”
The Fleming’s are proud of their 72-year marriage, even though it doesn’t seem like that long when they think about it.
“It seems like yesterday,” Evelyn said. “It’s just gone by so fast. I wish I could have another 72 years with him, but I know I can’t. But I’ll take each day God gives me with him because I love him so much.”