William “Bill” Ferguson was a little nervous about his blind date in August of 1961.
It was a double date to the Kokomo Speedway. His brother had invited him to join him and his girlfriend, as well as his girlfriend’s cousin, who happened to be 17-year-old Jennie Aldridge.
Bill, 23, hadn’t been on a date in several years, and all he owned were khakis, so he went out and bought an entirely new outfit to wear.
His clothing purchase paid off. Jennie watched from the car as Bill walked across the yard from his house to the car, wearing a blue shirt and blue pants. She was impressed.
“I thought, ‘Wow is he handsome,’” she said.
Bill thought Jennie was good-looking too. He loved her red hair.
They had a good time on their date, and a week later, Bill came by and asked her out again.
“She couldn’t get rid of me after that,” Bill laughed. “I was going to keep pursuing it and I did.”
They would borrow Jennie’s mom’s car to go on their dates. They were mostly trips to the car races or to drive-in movies. They saw each other almost every day. Bill said he just about lived at Jennie’s parents’ house when he wasn’t working.
“I just knew she was the one,” Bill said.
He was so sure that Jennie was the girl he wanted to marry that two months after they started dating, he popped the question. It happened while they were sitting on the couch and Jennie was reading him a poem.
“All at once he slid off the couch onto one knee and asked me to marry him,” Jennie said.
Without hesitating, Jennie said yes, but she was surprised by Bill’s proposal.