Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

July 7, 2013

A love that outlived a war

The 70-year love affair of Hugh and Dolly

Dolly noticed Hugh Smith from across the cafeteria at Kokomo High School and decided right then that she wanted to be introduced to him.

“He was neat-looking,” she said. “He was on the football team so he was popular.”

Sixteen-year-old Dolly asked a friend, who was also a friend of 18-year-old Hugh, to make the introductions.

“I thought she was the best lookin’ girl I’ve ever seen,” Hugh said.

They met up one night for Cokes, sandwiches and jukebox music at a popular place in Kokomo during the 1940s called Mom Oakley’s. Hugh walked her home that night.

Besides going out to Mom Oakley’s, the new couple would go downtown on Saturdays and people watch around the square as they sipped on Cokes.

Hugh would drive Dolly around in his 1924 Model A Ford he bought for $35 with money he saved from delivering Kokomo Tribune.

“We were just compatible,” Dolly said. “It hasn’t changed. It’s the same now as it was then.”

The couple dated for about a year until high school graduation started to approach.

“We all knew what would happen when he graduated;” Dolly said, “When they all graduated they all had their draft cards.”

So they decided to get married.

“I didn’t want nobody to get her,” Hugh said. “They’re hard to find.”

They didn’t tell anyone of their marriage plans, and ran off to wed in Tipton by the justice of the peace when Dolly was 17 and Hugh was 19.

“We didn’t tell anybody because if they found out, we were afraid he’d get kicked out of school,” Dolly said. “If we’d done it here, it would’ve been in the Kokomo papers. Nobody knew, but he and I.”

May 13, 1943, happened to be a Friday the 13th that year, but the couple didn’t let superstitions stand in their way of tying the knot.

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