Norma Hartmann was hanging around a group of girls in the Kokomo High School band when Richard Hiteshew first noticed her.
“She wasn’t running around,” Richard said. “She was more sedate than the other girls who were flighty. She wasn’t all that bad lookin’ either,” he laughed.
Norma, 14, played the clarinet for Kokomo High School, and Richard, 16, played the trumpet in the Peru High School band. They were in Logansport at a four-city band festival that brought together the high school bands from Kokomo, Peru, Logansport and Marion.
The band participants were given autograph books, and Norma signed Richard’s before they parted ways and returned to their respective high schools.
Richard knew he wanted to get in touch with Norma, but he didn’t know how to do that – at first. The only information he had was her name she signed in his book, and he knew she went to Kokomo High School.
“In those days, the 22 miles between Kokomo and Peru was too long,” Richard said.
So he wrote her a letter and addressed it to Kokomo High School with her name on it, hoping she would receive it.
“I’d noticed her and kind of liked her, and wanted to know if she wanted to continue the friendship by writing,” Richard said. “I’d figure they’d probably deliver it to her.”
They did. Norma’s father was a teacher at Kokomo High School, so they stuck the letter in his mailbox, and he gave it to her.
“I was kind of surprised,” Norma said. “I had the feeling I wanted to answer it.”
They started to become pen pals. Every week they would write to each other.
“I guess I was too shy to come over and have a date or anything,” Richard said. “I was a country boy and was kind of bashful.”