Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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July 21, 2013

The Milligans' lasting love

Through all of Kitty's nine lives

(Continued)

It was her mother who talked her into going, saying that if she didn’t like him, she didn’t have to go out on a second date with him.

So Kitty finally agreed and that night she went to Kokomo to see a movie called “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” with Gene Milligan, her blind date.

He had red hair.

“I liked him,” Kitty said. “He was so different from the last one I had. He was nothing like that fella. You can’t tell a book by its cover, I guess.”

Gene thought Kitty was a pretty good girl. So he kept asking her out on future dates.

Gene, 20, and Kitty, 21, would have picnics at Clearwater Park, watch boat races in Marion, and go to shows together and take a trip to a drive-in afterward for a hamburger and Coke.

“He was very attentive,” Kitty said. “He was very polite and I liked the way he looked. I was happy with him.”

They dated for 14 months, when Kitty made a comment to Gene about marriage.

“He kept talking about when we get married we’re gonna do this and that,” she said. “And then one time I said, ‘you haven’t asked me yet.’”

Not long after that, Gene made a move.

While they were kissing, Gene slipped the ring Kitty usually wore off of her finger, and replaced it with an engagement ring he had been storing in his glove compartment. Kitty didn’t realize that he’d done that until she looked down and saw the diamond.

“I can’t say that was the plan, but that’s how it turned out,” Gene said.

Gene and Kitty were married at First Christian Church in Marion on August 22, 1948 when Gene was 21 and Kitty was 22.

“I just loved her,” Gene said. “That’s all I know.”

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