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October 6, 2013

Love & the family farm

Don and Judy Winger built both through 67 years

Don Winger was well into his sophomore year of high school in Sweetser when his family moved to a new farm in a new school district in Howard County. He started attending Jackson Township High School about a month before the school year ended.

The sophomore class was small. There were 10 total students in that grade, including Don. It was an even match of five boys and five girls. One of the five girls was Judy Pyke, who said that she noticed Don, but that was only because he was a new boy at a small and rural school.

“I walked into the assembly room and she said, ‘Ah!’” Don joked.

“No I didn’t,” Judy laughed. “That first few months after he moved, I never paid attention to him.”

Don didn’t particularly pay much attention to Judy either.

“There were just a lot of good lookin’ girls,” he said. “I didn’t have any first sparks for Judy. I had kind of paid attention to the older girls instead of the girls in our class.”

Their sophomore class would usually run around in a big group and have a lot of class parties. Sometimes they would throw bonfire parties in the woods.

“That was your social life when you lived on a farm,” Judy said. “You didn’t have much social life outside of church and school.”

Don and Judy got better acquainted during their junior year after he took her home from junior play practice. All the other boys in the class had taken her home before, but Don hadn’t yet.

“He was kind of cute,” Judy observed of Don. “He had a pretty wave in his hair.”

“I liked her looks and I liked her smile,” Don said of Judy

He asked her out. Their first date grew to more and more dates. They would go to church youth group meetings on Sunday evenings, watch shows in Kokomo, get a burger at Wolfcales, and go see big band concerts at the air base.

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