Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 1, 2013

Sixty-six years and counting

The Powells said a good marriage should last 100 years.

By Kelly Lafferty
Kokomo Tribune

---- — As 16-year-old Polly Thompson was cheering at a high school basketball game in the small town of Evening Shade, Ark., the power suddenly went out.

Polly and her friend decided there was no reason to stick around the darkened gym, so they walked to a nearby restaurant to have a Coke. The restaurant they chose belonged to Floyd Powell, who had recently returned from World War II. Floyd and Polly had seen each other before, but it was at a distance. They had never talked.

That particular night in 1946 was different.

"I thought he was really cute, a really good-looking guy," Polly said. "He was cool."

The trio decided to walk back to the gym together, and even though Polly thought Floyd was handsome, she couldn't tell which girl Floyd liked better.

"I didn't know who he was with; me or her," Polly said. "He walked between us going to the game."

"There were two good-looking girls I had a chance to walk with, so I locked the door and went to the gymnasium with them," Floyd laughed. "I was playing it cool."

Floyd asked Polly on a date the next week. On their dates they'd go to movies, dances or drive around to other towns. Throughout it all, they got to know each other better, and soon every other person they'd ever gone out on a date with was long forgotten.

"I fell in love with him and he fell in love with me," Polly said. "The others seem more like boys. After I met him, I didn't care about them."

They dated for a year until one day when they were driving around in Floyd's red truck, he asked Polly to marry him.

"When that certain little thing hits you, something tells you that's the right one," Floyd said. "You better grab her before someone else gets her. I would've been awfully disappointed if she said no."

He had nothing to worry about because Polly felt the same way.

"I thought about it and I said yes," Polly said. "I knew he was the one for me. I thought I'd love to spend the rest of my life with that guy. When you know it's the right guy, you know it."

They were married on Oct. 4, 1947, in Batesville, Ark. when Polly was 17 and Floyd was 21.

"I thought when I married her I was robbing the cradle," Floyd said. "But I found out that she had a mind of her own."

"I always knew what I wanted," Polly said. "I used my head."

Polly finished high school after she was married and in 1949, the newlyweds rode the train north to Marion to visit Floyd's brother.

It was a train ride they'll never forget. They were robbed.

"We were on the train and somebody lifted my billfold," Floyd said.

"They took all the money we had except Floyd had a dollar he was going to give his niece," Polly said.

Their bad luck didn't last long. Someone saw the pickpocket, and the Powell's were able to get their money back. Good luck continued for the couple because while they were visiting with Floyd's brother in Marion, Floyd found a job. The couple never moved back to Arkansas.

"We came to Indiana to make our fortune and we're still working on it," Floyd laughed.

Floyd and Polly moved to Kokomo in 1950 when Floyd got a job at Wiggs Heating and Plumbing, then later, Delco. Polly worked at Cuneo.

"We had our little spats, but our relationship was good," Polly said.

"You gotta have a fight every once in a while to make up," Floyd said. "If you love somebody enough, it'll work."

Their relationship was great, but life wasn't always easy for the Powells. They lost two of their three sons to heart problems.

"When the boys passed away, that was the lowest point we had," Floyd said.

"That was really, really bad," Polly said. "We stuck together and God was there to help us through it. If you've got each other, you've got someone to lean on."

Over the past 66 years, the Powell's say they've learned a lot from each other and their experiences.

"I learned to have a little more patience," Polly said.

Even though they say they've slowed down now that they've gotten older, Floyd and Polly still enjoy spending time together. Now, they say instead of holding hands all the time, they have to hold on to each other to help one another.

"I could probably look the world over and never find anyone else like him," Polly said. "I wouldn't want another one." They agree that if they had to do it over again, they'd choose each other.

"I don't think there's another woman who'd put up with me for all these years," Floyd said.

"I don't believe that I would want another woman doing that," Polly laughed.

Being loving and giving is the key to the Powell's 66-year marriage. They consider themselves fortunate, and they say a good marriage ought to last a hundred years.

"Anybody who'd put up with the same woman for 66 years, there's either something wrong with him or he's got a lot of love in his heart and mind," Floyd said.