Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Features

September 8, 2013

The love almost lost

The Johnsons celebrate 74 years and how they found each other

(Continued)

“It just seemed like we just belonged together,” she said.

Even though they say there weren’t many places to go to on dates then, Jean and Tookie frequently went to movies and the roller-skating rink in Noblesville.

They dated for four months until Tookie spontaneously proposed to Jean in September.

“He just said, ‘We’re gonna get married,’” Jean said. “I said, ‘We are?’ He said, ‘Yeah, we’re on our way.’ I wondered what was ahead for us.”

They were married that same day on Sept. 5, 1939 at a preacher’s home in Noblesville when they were both 21.

“We were old enough to know what was right and what was wrong,” Jean said. “We weren’t a bunch of kids jumping up and doing what we weren’t supposed to do.”

Friends tied tin cans on the back of the newlyweds’ car, and after the wedding Jean and Tookie celebrated at Billy’s restaurant, where they ordered big ice cream cones.

“That was our wedding supper,” Jean said.

A month later, Tookie was discharged from the Army and the couple moved to Evansville, near Tookie’s family.

He got a job as a tool and dye maker and made 25 cents an hour, before getting a promotion where he made 75 cents an hour.

“We had a shabby little place that we rented,” Jean said. “That’s all we could afford.”

Two years after they were married, Tookie was drafted into the Army for World War II. They weren’t pleased about it, especially since they had a couple young daughters and one on the way.

“It’s just something that happened,” he said. “There wasn’t much I could do about it.”

They would write letters back and forth, but Tookie could never say where he was, or they’d censor the letter, cutting out any words that even hinted at a location.

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