When Pauline Phillips and her family moved from Sharpsville to West Middleton in 1933 after she finished eighth grade, her dad’s new farm was only a mile and a half from her future husband’s — Paul “Jim” Guge.
Pauline would be a freshman and Jim a junior at West Middleton High School that next year, but before the new school year even started, a tragic event brought them together.
Pauline’s father was killed in a tractor accident on his farm.
Neighbors came by the Phillips’ new home to offer condolences, support and brought by food to help the family. When the Guge family came over, Pauline was lying on a bed in a quiet bedroom, resting. She looked up when she heard the door open, and she saw Jim come in, holding another neighbor’s baby, trying to find a quiet place for the baby to nap.
When Jim saw Pauline was in there, he noiselessly turned around, left the room and didn’t say a word. When he went back out, he told his friends, “I’m gonna marry that woman.”
Jim’s not sure what it was about Pauline that made his heart thump. Maybe he felt sympathy for her, or maybe he just liked her looks, but he knew she was the one the moment he saw her.
“I knew from the beginning,” Jim said. “She was good-looking. I did the best I could to get her so she could be mine.”
By the time school started, Pauline’s grandmother had come to live with her. Pauline’s mom had passed away years before, and now with the death of her father, the children needed a caretaker.
With her grandmother in charge, Jim had a hard time getting Pauline to go out on a date with him. He had asked her out once school started, but her grandmother said no because she thought Pauline was too young.