The following story was authored by one of many of Milford's Golden Wedding Celebrators.
Some things are meant to be. So, can we say destiny may shape our lives? Such seems to be the case in this story of love between a young lady and young man who did not know each other and indeed had never seen one another.
The Watson family lived on a farm in the NE part of Milford Twp in the 1940's Their neighbor just to the south was Orville Chamberlain. His father, George lived in the community of Rhodes, Iowa. The Gardner family also lived near Rhodes and was acquainted with George Chamberlain. Orville was scheduled to move from the farm and the Gardners were to be the new tenants. Orville had told George that neighbor Watson had two young boys of high school age. George seized the opportunity to start teasing the fourth Gardner child, Phyllis, about having two boys for neighbors. Phyllis blushed rather easily which only encouraged more teasing.
The Gardners moved into Milford Twp in March 1945. Phyllis was a freshman- Ken, the youngest Watson, was a sophomore. The teasing continued and Phyllis' brother, Ronald, picked up on it and did his share.
The Watsons had previously lived south of Milford School close neighbors to Morfeys- Bertha and Ted. Ken had even stayed with them for a time when most of his family was hospitalized with pneumonia. Now, seven or eight years later, Morfeys availed themselves of Phyllis' services for housecleaning. Both Phyllis and Ken always referred to Bertha as Grandma Morfey. At the 50th wedding anniversary of the Morfeys they called on Phyllis to model Grandma Morfeys' wedding dress. At school functions Grandma had on occasion, put one arm around Phyllis and the other around Ken and announced "These are my kids" . Similar feelings were expressed by Lois Aarasmith who had also had Phyllis help with housecleaning and who knew Ken quite well as the Aarasmith and Watson families had been close friends for years.
By now Ronald had made friends with many of the youth of Milford twp including Russell and Don Morfey who joined in teasing Phyllis about Ken. Phyllis still blushed on these occasions.
Time went on and nothing seemed to be going on between Phyllis and Ken. Both were very bashful- it would take a lot of courage for either one to approach the other. Phyllis was now a senior and Ken was engaged in farming and drove the schoolbus in that part of the Twp. The Gardners were the last stop on the route home after School. It was at this last stop one day that Ken asked Phyllis if she would like to go to a movie with him. She said yes, and her younger sister, Norma Jean couldn't get to the house fast enough to announce the news to the rest of the family. Thus began a courtship that would continue for more than four years. Many of the people of the community seemed to think the two of them were meant for each other.
After graduation in 1948, Phyllis took a job as store-clerk in the dime store in Ames, then later as chairside dental assistant at the Buck Dental Clinic. Ken continued farming. In 1950 Gardners relocated to a farm near Dawson- west of Perry. Phyllis remained in Ames. June of that years saw the Korean War erupt and a few months later Ken rec'd his draft notice and was inducted into the Army in April 1951- sent to Ft. Sheridan, Ill then on to Ft Lee, Virginia for basic training and specialized schooling. Now it was courtship by mail. Three and a half months later Ken rec'd FECOM orders (Far East Command) and was given a ten day delay en-route leave. This allowed ten days for Phyllis and Ken to see each other and then it was off to war as an Infantry soldier with the Second Infantry division in North Korea.
Mail correspondence in an Infantry Company was difficult at best. At times you couldn't get letters sent out and mail rec'd would get bunched up. There was no phone service. It was a great comfort for Ken to get letters from Phyllis and know she was awaiting his return home. Nine months later Ken had earned the 36 points needed to rotate home and started the long slow journey to be reunited with the love of his life. The two of them had decided to get married upon his return. She knew he was on his way home but didn't know when he would arrive. It was Saturday and Ken knew that Phyllis would be in the stores in Ames with her mother shopping for clothing, so, arriving at the train depot he headed uptown to find her. He immediately ran into her father and found out Phyllis and Oma were across the street in Montgomery Wards. He entered and started down the aisle toward the rear of the store. Phyllis spotted him coming toward her and let out a scream that drew attention of everyone on that floor. One of the clerks was so taken with the emotional homecoming she witnessed she could hardly remain at work that day.
The two were married in a small church ceremony at Dawson on Aug. 20, 1952. Ken had been granted a 30 day