Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Features

September 1, 2013

The love of a lifetime

The Coonrods celebrate 60 years of marriage

(Continued)

Charles didn’t like being away from home, but he didn’t have much time to think about it, since basic training kept him so busy.

After 16 weeks, he was sent to Virginia for more training. Joanna moved there with him.

“I was happy any place because he was there,” she said.

He eventually got orders to go to Korea, where he stayed for a year.

“I couldn’t go that time,” Joanna said. “That was terrible. I went back to Delco and worked and worked.”

It wasn’t fun for Charles either.

“I kept busy over there and that helped a lot,” he said. “But you still had plenty of time to think. It was long and lonely. Although we got a lot of letters back and forth it was a long year.”

The couple kept in contact the best they could during that long year.

“It was just letters, letters, letters,” Joanna said. “No telephone calls. No emails.”

Once he found out when he’d be coming back, he let Joanna know, and they agreed that she would drive to California, which was where the guys Charles served with were getting out. He figured that’s where he would get out too.

Joanna and her grandmother drove across the country and stayed at an aunt’s house who lived in California.

All didn’t go according to plan. When Charles got out, the government decided to let him out in Illinois, not California.

“If I had kept my mouth shut, we could’ve gotten to see each other quicker,” he said.

He got on the next flight to Los Angeles, and the couple finally had a joyous reunion.

They returned to Kokomo and built a house at Ind. 26, where they had two children, a boy and a girl.

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