Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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September 1, 2013

The love of a lifetime

The Coonrods celebrate 60 years of marriage

(Continued)

“He always treated me real nice,” Joanna said. “He’d open the car door for me. He still does. Sometimes he slams it, but he still opens it,” she laughed.

One of their most memorable dates was a double date to Chicago, for a baseball game. Joanna, who was living with her cousins at the time, offered to fix Charles breakfast the morning before they left for Chicago. Her cousins were out of town, so she had the place to herself.

She didn’t have time to do the dishes before they left, so she left them in the sink. Her cousins came back that day, saw the dirty dishes, and thought Charles had spent the night. They asked her about it when she got back that night.

“I said ‘No way, he didn’t stay all night,’” Joanna said. “If he had, I would’ve put things back. I would’ve been more careful.”

Charles really enjoyed spending time with Joanna, but there were others who didn’t give her the time of day since she was from Tennessee.

“A lot of people thought we were less people,” Joanna said. “I wasn’t good enough. They considered me a hillbilly. They thought they were better than me.”

Not everyone was like that, but the people who ignored her or made hillbilly jokes when she was around.

“It took me a long time to realize, ‘Hey, I’ve got enough education as these people and my reputation is spotless,’” Joanna said. “So I told myself, ‘I gotta get over it.’”

The couple went on a trip to see Joanna’s family in Tennessee, and her parents took an immediate liking to Charles. They thought he was a keeper.

It wasn’t too long after that trip when Charles thought it was the right time to buy a ring and ask an important question.

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