Jerry Sexton and Rosie Shimer were friends for five years before there was any romance between the two. They sat side-by-side in “roll room” at Kokomo High School because of their last names. They double-dated, but their date was never with each other. They always dated other people. They thought of each other as nice and friendly, but continued to remain in the same friend circle. That all changed in May of 1956. Jerry had dumped his girlfriend, and Rosie was also single. Jerry and his brother were at a family reunion and got bored, so they drove around town, and happened to drive down Rosie’s street. She and a friend happened to be getting out of her car in front of her house. On a whim, Jerry decided to pick Rosie and her friend up, and the relationship developed from there. Rosie’s mother was thrilled by the new relationship. She liked Jerry a lot more than Rosie’s old boyfriend. “We tease about my mom picked my husband,” Rosie said. Jerry’s ex-girlfriend was less than thrilled to hear the news. She would call up to the house and bother Rosie. “She would say, ‘I don’t know why you’re going with him. You don’t really like him. You just don’t want me to have him,’” Rosie said. The two did their best to ignore her comments and continued to go on dates to drive-in theaters, family functions, and even on a date to Indianapolis to see “Oklahoma” when it came out in theaters. “We just sorta fell in love,” Rosie said. Toward the end of 1956, their relationship began to get more serious. “I felt like he would be the one I would like to be with for the rest of my life,” Rosie said. “I figured she’d be the one I’d settle down with,” Jerry said. “She just grew on me.” Rosie wasn’t completely sure they’d ever get engaged. “He kept throwing me off saying ‘Oh isn’t that necklace pretty? Aren’t those earrings pretty?’ I said, ‘I guess so,’” Rosie said.
The couple became parents, grandparents and foster parents together
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