Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Features

September 8, 2013

The love almost lost

The Johnsons celebrate 74 years and how they found each other

(Continued)

Then the letters from Tookie stopped arriving.

“I didn’t hear from him for a long, long time and I couldn’t figure out why,” Jean said.

Tookie’s brother sent him a letter, and it was returned, saying Tookie was MIA because he was behind enemy lines.

“I thought, ‘Well, he’s gone,’” Jean said. “It was bad.”

Several weeks went by until Jean got something in the mail.

It was a Chinese newspaper from Tookie.

“That was his way of telling me where he was at,” she said.

Jean was relieved, but it was still hard. Holidays were sad without him there, and she gave birth to a daughter, who Tookie didn’t get to meet until she was two years old.

Two years went by until the couple got to see each other again, when the war was over. After such a long time, Jean was happy to be reunited, but she also had to get used to him being there again.

“It was odd,” Jean said. “It wasn’t like getting acquainted again, but his disposition changed and mine did too. You saw things differently.”

Tookie was glad to be home.

“He told me, ‘From now on, we’ll never be separated again if I can help it,’” Jean said. “And here we are.”

They lived in Evansville for a total of 10 years until Delco offered Tookie a job that paid more money. The Johnsons moved to Kokomo.

They raised their four daughters together, and Tookie built boats to go boating together as a family. Jean and Tookie enjoyed spending time as a couple during ballroom dancing lessons.

“We’d never go any place without each other,” Jean said.

For their 50th wedding anniversary, they renewed their vows during a ceremony in front of a large crowd at the Grotto.

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