Freshman Louise Ridnour first noticed sophomore Kenny Bennett in the auditorium of Kokomo High School one morning before class.
“I thought, boy is he good lookin’,” Louise said. “He was tall and he was handsome. Of course he didn’t pay any attention to me. I was just a young girl.”
That changed the next year when Louise and Kenny were in the same geometry class. They sat near each other, and when the teacher asked for the students to exchange assignments and grade each other’s paper, Louise made sure she had Kenny’s.
“I gave him a 100,” she said. “I just thought I’d be nice.”
His paper wasn’t exactly A+ material, but Louise had a crush and she wanted to make sure he knew it. He paid attention.
“I noticed she was a girl and I thought that was great,” Kenny laughed.
Her curly blonde hair, blue eyes, and nice personality caught his eye. They got to know each other in that class, and soon Kenny asked her out. Their first date was to Peru to see a movie and to get food, but as their dating continued, their favorite place to go became the Hob-Nob Restaurant that used to be on the corner of Washington and Markland.
After about six months of dating, Kenny decided he wanted to join the Army so he could fight in World War II. They wouldn’t draft anyone still in high school, so Kenny dropped out when he was 18 so he could join.
“I had a year left of high school, but I didn’t want to wait that long because I thought the war would be over,” he said. “I was a young kid. It was strange thinking those days.”
He joined in 1943 and was overseas for two years, but he and Louise wrote back and forth the whole time. They thought of one another, but knew their relationship hadn’t developed into anything serious, so their separation wasn’t too hard.