Joanna Rich left Clay County, Tenn. with her cousins when she was 19 to come to Kokomo in hopes of finding a job. She had graduated high school, there were no jobs in Tennessee, and she didn’t have enough money for college.
She got a job at Delco in December of 1952, within weeks of another new Delco employee, Charles Coonrod.
Joanna first noticed him when he was talking to her coworker, Laura.
“I asked Laura, ‘Who was that cute guy?’” Joanna said.
Laura introduced the two, and they agreed to meet up for coffee after work one day.
“I didn’t know I was that bold,” Joanna said. “I thought I was shy.”
“You needed glasses then, you just didn’t know it,” Charles joked.
They talked a few times, and about a week later, they went on their first date to “Ice Capades” in Indianapolis.
“She was number one,” Charles said. “She was really nice-looking; a real nice girl. I’d been out with others, not many, but she was the best one I’d had a date with.”
Their dates were going well. They went on double dates and watched a lot of movies at the theater together, but there was one thing that Joanna just couldn’t keep track of.
“I was dating this guy, but I couldn’t remember his last name,” she said. “His last name was foreign to me. My last name was Rich.”
After a few dates, she made it her mission to remember his name, and she succeeded.
“I really got a fooling,” Charles joked. “I thought she was a rich girl. She was, but that was only her name.”
Charles and Joanna were very attracted to each other. Charles thought Joanna was cute, and Joanna thought he was very handsome.