“We were just plain and simple country kids who enjoyed life and each other and our friends,” Don said.
Their love grew.
“We grew up alike,” Judy said. “We think alike.”
After they graduated high school in 1944, they were busy with work. Judy got a job at a government day care center in Kokomo until it closed when the war ended. Then she worked at Knipes Florist in Kokomo. Meanwhile, Don was working on the farm as well as at Chrysler during the afternoon shift. When he got off work, he’d pick her up from the florist to take her home, that way they got to see each other for a little while.
In July 1945, while Don was working with his dad by a farm building, he spontaneously decided he wanted to propose to Judy.
“I didn’t think about it a whole lot,” he said. “I told my dad I’m going to go to town and get Judy a ring tonight. He said, ‘Okay.’”
The couple hadn’t discussed marriage at all, but Don knew it was the perfect time.
“It kept growing and growing and it just felt right,” Don said. “I just never thought about anybody else that way. She’d really been the only one for years.”
It took a lot of his work’s pay to buy a ring.
“He baled hay all summer to buy me a ring,” Judy said.
“My summer’s work went into that little piece of jewelry,” Don said. “The only money I had was this check from my neighbor who paid me. The jewelry store took the check as payment. You couldn’t do that now.”
The plan was to wait a year after they were engaged to get married. However, the plan changed when a few months later a farmer rented land and a house to Don. The couple decided not to wait and got married sooner.