It took several tries before Marcelline Robertson agreed to a date with Richard “Dick” Allen.
Dick was from Highland, a town in northern Indiana, and had been attending IU Bloomington before he transferred to Kokomo. The 19-year-old wanted a smaller learning environment, and IUK, or IU Extension as it was called in 1948, was the perfect size for him.
Marcelline, 17, was a waitress at Duke’s Restaurant in downtown Kokomo then, and she first noticed Dick when he came into the restaurant with the family he was renting a room from.
“I thought he was good looking,” Marcelline said of Dick. “I liked his blonde, curly hair. He had such pretty hair.”
A short time later, she waited on Dick again when he came into the restaurant. He was by himself this time.
“She had a pretty smile,” he said of Marcelline. “I thought her eyes were so pretty too. She’d give me the eye when she went to wait on someone else,” he laughed.
He decided to make a bold move.
“He asked if he could take me home,” Marcelline said. “I said no. I usually rode the bus home.”
Dick didn’t let the refusal get him down. He’d go out on dates with other girls, but he always thought of Marcelline. Occasionally he’d see her at Gizmo, a diner and hangout spot for teenagers in downtown Kokomo. But when he had enough money, he’d come into Duke’s and ask again if he could take her home. Her answer was still the same. No.
“I was brought up to not take up with strangers,” Marcelline said. “So I gave him a hard time at first. The third or fourth time he asked me I agreed to let him take me home. I thought, well, he’s kind of persistent.”