Tales of First Dates

Design by Kendra Kay Creative

In the Winter/Spring 2022 issue of the IU Alumni Magazine, readers submitted first-date memories from their time at IU. To say our inbox was flooded would be a major understatement. The following submissions—many of which deliver “happily-ever-after” endings—include stories about persistent suitors, a rumored appearance from a Rolling Stone, and some curfew close calls.

Dancing Till Curfew

A crisp, brilliant, September night in Bloomington provided the backdrop for my first dance on campus. As the band began their final set, I crossed the fieldhouse to grab my coat. From behind, a hand clasped my arm and twirled me around. He was tall, blond, and boyishly cute with intense blue eyes. His tone was urgent: “You can’t leave until you dance with me.”

Gesturing at my circle of girlfriends hovering nearby, I protested. “Everyone’s ready to go. We’ve been here all night.”

Taking my parka and tossing it on a chair, he pointed at a group of guys in matching windbreakers. “You don’t understand. I’m a pledge and I told my fraternity brothers I would get the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen to dance with me.” His face relaxed into a smile. Seeing a dimple that made him even cuter, I cast a questioning glance at my friends who were unanimously nodding their approval.

One dance led to another until the band stopped playing and the two of us were walking hand in hand to Jordan Avenue where the Sigma Nu house was buzzing with news of a live band party at a nearby fraternity. The rumor was that the drummer of the Rolling Stones—who had finished a concert in Indianapolis—was friends with someone in the frat house band and was coming to campus to play with them.

Excited but skeptical about a Rolling Stones appearance, I worriedly warned my semi-date/dance partner about my curfew—if I wasn’t inside Teter Quad at 1 a.m., my parents would be called.

With that caveat seemingly understood, we joined the shoulder-to-shoulder partygoers at the neighboring frat house when, without fanfare, none other than Charlie Watts appeared behind the drum set. Amidst a resulting chorus of shouts and whoops, he clicked his sticks and began to play. It was readily apparent that this rocking party would go well into the night. The frat house was packed, others were outside clamoring to get in, and no one was leaving. No one, that is, except me and my escort who was, fortunately, still smitten and pulled himself from “the party of a lifetime” to accompany me back to my dorm.

Walking arm-in-arm beneath a crystalline canopy of stars, we talked about the Indiana towns we had left, what our parents did, the siblings who preceded us to IU, and the sororities I might pledge. Sprinkled through the conversation were his repeated proclamations of how he had never expected to meet someone like me so soon on campus. Arriving at Rabb Hall and promising to call later that week, he kissed me not once, but twice. Reluctantly breaking the embrace, I turned and stepped across the dormitory threshold at 12:59 a.m.— convinced that life at IU would be as exciting as I had imagined.

Postscript: The call never came. He finally caught up with me a couple of years later saying he had lost my number and, due to too much beer at the frat party, couldn’t remember my last name. He maintained that he had looked for me at every party. Hearing the excuses, I realized my first IU romance hadn’t been a crushing disappointment. It had ended perfectly.

—Nancy (Messel) Boberg, BS’74, MS’78

Persistent Suitor

I was an IU fraternity sophomore when I was reluctantly introduced to an IU sorority freshman. It was on our very first date on campus—after about four attempts at securing a date with her—that I knew that I was going to marry this lady.

—Paul Coulis, BA’72

Lucky Break

“I have had many lucky breaks in my life, but meeting Alice was the best of all,” Calvin Oyer writes.

In the summer of 1951, I was entering my fourth year as a medical student at IU. At that time, you were based in Indianapolis after a first year in Bloomington. I lived on the second floor of Riley Hospital, where I received a room in exchange for delivering oxygen tanks to the wards as needed. Piped-in oxygen was not yet available.

I usually went to the Riley cafeteria for my meals. The cafeteria proved to be a meeting place for doctors, med students, nurses, dieticians, and others. One evening, I noticed an attractive woman seated at a nearby table but did not have the opportunity to meet her. As I recall, we exchanged glances, but nothing came of it.

Fortunately, a few days later I was making the rounds when I met her on an orthopedic ward where she was attending a patient. I found a clumsy excuse to talk to her, and we both were apparently excited about making one another’s acquaintance. I learned that she was from New York and was on a rotation at IU after completing training in occupational therapy at Washington University in St. Louis. After a few minutes of conversation, I asked her if, by chance, she would go out with me that evening. Though she later proved to be a woman of some reserve, she eagerly replied that she would be delighted as she had newly arrived in Indiana and knew no one.

With my limited financial means, I took Alice to a place I could afford—the coffee shop at the Claypool Hotel. We hit it off, as they say, and were engaged within 10 days.

—Calvin Oyer, BA’49, MD’52

Business Buddies

John and Patti Hammerle were married in October 1991.

My husband, John Hammerle, BS’90, MBA’96, and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. We met through a Kelley School of Business internship (back then it wasn’t Kelley yet!) and had our first date at Jake’s. We were both finance majors.

—Patti (Soskel) Hammerle, BS’91, MBA’96

Worthwhile Editing

“We have the honor of crediting Indiana University for bringing us together on the second floor of Ballantine Hall,” Joshua Bender writes.

I will never forget walking into my first class at IU—English W131. I recall our professor introducing an ice-breaker activity for the class to get to know each other. My now girlfriend, Jamie, stood up and introduced herself as being from Westchester County, N.Y., and the 15th member of her family to attend IU. Me, being from Memphis, Tenn., decided it was a great conversation starter to walk up after class and say, “I really like the way you say paragraph.” What was I thinking? I’m still not sure now, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Soon after, we got to talking a bit more, and within weeks Jamie asked me if I would like to go with her to edit our papers at the library. Of course, I accepted, but what did I do next? I proceeded to put red ink all over her paper with my edits. Not my brightest moment when trying to impress her. Again, looking back I wouldn’t change a thing since that peer-editing session turned into a wonderful friendship and then more.

—Joshua Bender, BA/BS’20

Musical Mates

In the fall of 1957, Frank Borkowski, MM’59, was starting his masters in clarinet, and I was starting my junior year in flute performance. Wind performance majors had to enroll in woodwind quintet, and we both signed up for the same course. Frank was the principal clarinetist in the IU Symphony Orchestra; I was the principal flutist. So, we were starting to get acquainted, but things were not moving along as I thought they might.

East Hall, a requisitioned military barracks and now the site of the Musical Arts Center, was the practice facility for the School of Music. Each door had a window; it was easy to determine who was practicing. One evening early in the semester, I made a tour of the practice rooms and found Frank practicing. I went into his room and asked him if he would watch my flute while I returned to Sycamore Hall to get some music I needed. He blatantly said, “What’s in it for me?”

I said that I would take him out for hot lemonade after we finished practicing. He agreed and we went to the Chatterbox Café. He walked me back to Sycamore to kiss me good night.

—Kay (Kaiser) Borkowski, BM’59

Successful Setup

What a wonderful first date, Oct. 6, 1957. Judy’s Chi Omega sorority sister Dawn and Dawn’s future husband, Phil, were persistent that we meet. I waited near the bushes behind Judy’s sorority house for her to come back from her studio art class. We can say it was love at first sight. Two days later, I took Judy (Cann), BA’59, on that first date to a Phi Delta Theta party at Loma Linda Lodge. Three hours of bliss followed. Many dates followed, then marriage in June 1960.

—John Hasler, BS’59, DDS’62, MSD’69

Worth the Wait

I was a junior buying books at a bookstore, and it was always a long wait (3–4 hours). I noticed a young woman with beautiful, waist-long blond hair in line. I learned that she was a freshman and knew no one on campus, but she liked IU because of the landscape. We got to know each other, and I asked her out for a pizza (Mother Bear’s) and learned she was a vegetarian. We went to a movie (Jesus Christ Superstar) and got along great.

—Stan Wilson, BA’75

Strong Connection

Of my many IU connections made during the past five decades, the best and most impactful was my introduction to my AEPi “Big Brother,” Lou Cantor, BA’76, MD’80, while attending a party at the fraternity house during my second week as a freshman. That evening was memorable in many ways and led to a first date at the Tudor Room in the Indiana Memorial Union. Looking back over the past nearly 45 years of our marriage, I realize that first date had no known past or future but involved two individuals taking a first step toward being devoted friends, then married partners, then parents and grandparents.

—Linda Cantor, BA’76, JD’79

Party Crasher

Joe and Mary Kay Rowe have been married for 48 years.

It was Friday, Sept. 12, 1969: The Vietnam War was still raging, but my two-year active-duty Army obligation had ended earlier that month, and I headed directly to the IU Bloomington campus to begin my first year of law school. Studying law was all so new to me because I had spent my undergraduate years earning a degree in chemistry with minors in math and physics. Already, I felt somewhat overwhelmed by the enormity of the case-law reading assignments that had been shoveled at me to prepare for the first day of classes.

Having so little money after my tour in the Army, the GI Bill for veterans helped me secure a tiny dorm room on campus in the Graduate Residence Center, which has since been torn down.

It was situated directly across the street from Eigenmann Hall, which at that time was a dormitory for only graduate students, but it was only a couple years old and was too expensive for me. However, that didn’t prevent me from gathering my law books in my arms and leaving my dingy, sad little two-story abode and crossing the street to this beautiful, towering, shiny new palace where I could sit in its luxurious downstairs lounge in a very comfortable stuffed chair to begin my studies. I was determined to get a good start on this case-law stuff.

After about an hour, my mind was feeling a bit weary, my eyes burning, and it was time for a break. I overheard a couple of the legitimate Eigenmann residents talking about going downstairs for a dance where there would be cider and donuts. That sounded pretty tasty, so down I went. It didn’t take but a couple short introductions and a cup of cider and a donut or two, and I had met the friendliest, cutest gal I think I had ever seen: Mary Kay (Walter), MA’71. We hit it off immediately.

We ended up at Ye Old Regulator that night, where we listened to music and had to share a hamburger because that’s all I could afford. She was very sweet about that and had no complaints. She agreed to go out with me for a chicken dinner that Sunday night because the dorm cafeterias didn’t serve meals on Sunday. I honestly don’t remember who paid for that dinner.

We continued dating for a while until I became so buried in my law school work that I had to disappear into my dingy little abode for a time. Fortunately, Mary Kay’s very dear friend got us together again by encouraging her to bring me my favorite ice cream sundae. They say that the Army travels on its stomach and that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. We began dating again and never stopped.

—Joe Rowe, BA’67, JD’72

Scoopin’ Duo

My memorable first date started at White Mountain Ice Creamery and never ended. One Sunday evening in the summer of 1986, my co-worker (the owners’ son) popped into the ice cream shop as my shift was ending. I casually asked if he wanted to have nachos and beers at Kilroy’s with my roommate and me. Eventually she peeled off, and Dennis Petersen, BA’87, MBA’93, and I stayed out all night talking. From that night on we were inseparable. The sign from the now-closed ice cream shop hangs in our garage, and we are expert makers of ice cream and hot fudge.

—Tracy Schellenberger Petersen, BA’87

Political Commentary

In early spring of 1973, during my junior year at IU, I was loafing around the Theta Chi fraternity house to avoid studying. I noticed a very attractive young lady who was chatting with one of the younger members of the fraternity. Unencumbered by any sense of propriety, I joined the conversation. I learned that she was a freshman and a little sister for the fraternity. In time, the conversation turned to politics (this was amid the Watergate investigation). At some point, I accused the young lady of being a typical middle-class conservative who probably voted for Nixon! She did not deny the Nixon allegation but deftly redirected the discussion by saying my comment was rude and of no relevance.

A few days later, I reflected on the conversation and thought I had little to lose by asking this beautiful and charming young lady, who so skillfully parried my thoughtless comments, out on a date. To my amazement and everlasting gratitude, she said yes. The rest, as they say, is history.

—Christopher Hagenbush, BA’74, JD’79

Family Photos

“On the night before [my] graduation, [Bradley and I] went on a walk through our beloved IU campus,” Beth DeHoff writes, “As we approached the front of Woodburn Hall, Bradley stopped me and proposed. I said ‘yes.’ We married a year later.”
I had settled into dorm life in Wright Quad. Just a few days in, I met a friend of my hallmate who came to hook up my TV. Later, I found out he thought I was cute. After a bit of confusion—he liked the version of me that was in sweats with no makeup and thought the dressed-up girl was someone else—we met again. Before long, in front of Woodburn Hall on the way to class, Bradley DeHoff, BS’84, asked me out.

Our first date was classic IU in the fall of 1982: We saw the film Chariots of Fire at the IU Memorial Union, then went out for pizza at Garcia’s Pizza. Afterward, he invited me to his room. I went with him, not wanting the evening to end but a little apprehensive about what “going to his room” might entail. Once there, he closed the door, and brought out his family photo album, telling me all about his family and friends, and listening to me describe mine. I knew right then that IU had brought someone special into my life.

—Beth DeHoff, BA’86, MPH’16

Summer Lovin’

In the summer of 1959, I was 15 years old, and a new pool had opened in the park across from my house in Indianapolis. It was there that I met a boy who was a junior at IU. He was in Indianapolis to go to summer school and was working as a lifeguard at the new pool. We saw each other at the pool and went to a movie once. For the next two years, we wrote letters and he stopped by to see me a couple of times.

Fast forward to the fall of 1961 when I was a freshman at IU Bloomington. Lou was supposed to graduate from IU at the same time I graduated from high school but lacked a credit or two after his student teaching, so he was back at IU for another semester. As fate would have it, when I went to the fieldhouse to register for classes (not computerized back then), he was working one of the tables. Soon after, I was heading to my first astronomy class and unsure where it was. Lou Roth, BS’62, appeared in my path and gave me directions. I think our first date after that was to McDonald’s. They put mustard on the hamburgers back then and I asked for one without mustard, so he had to “step aside, please” and this has been his story ever since!

—Carole (Burns) Roth, ’65

Unexpected Intermission

Ronald Bennett, BS’64, and I both worked in the Tudor Room at the IMU. Every evening our shifts would end at the same time, and we would walk out together. Ron would casually ask if I’d like to grab a cup of coffee at the Gables before heading to our homes to study. After 30-plus times of this casual encounter, Ron asked me on a “real” date. He asked if I’d like to see El Cid which was playing at the local theater. I agreed. He called the theater and asked the manager what time the movie ended as women still had hours. The manager assured him the movie would end in plenty of time to get me back to the sorority house. He explained they were eliminating the intermission for that very reason.

So, we arrived in full anticipation. As luck would have it, there was an intermission, and we had to leave before the movie ended. It was years before we finally got to see the film in its entirety.

—Mary Ann (Ertel) Bennett, BA’63, MS’64

Chance Encounter

Carol and Phil Huffman have been married for more than 50 years.

Suppose you were sitting in the IU Memorial Union Commons waiting for your next class and a handsome senior strolls by your table, does a reverse, and asks if the seat opposite you is taken. What do you say as a freshman? “No, have a seat.”

This was the second semester of my freshman year in 1969. We chatted about our spring vacations in Florida. I got up to get a bite to eat, and while away from the table, he grabbed my notebook and wrote down my name. We soon said our goodbyes and off we went to our respective classes. Both of us did not usually make the Commons a place to visit. Was this fate? Perhaps. At any rate, I was called for a date. I had a first-class date—McDonald’s for dinner and a drive-in movie. To make a long story short, we dated all the next year off and on, and were married in 1970.

—Carol (Cicolani), BME’73, and Phil Huffman, BA’69, BS’73, OD’74

Long-Distance Love

“The memorable first date led to a wonderful marriage, shared careers in higher education, two children, and two grandchildren,” writes Frank Resnick.

Singer Shakira and her ex-husband, who recently announced the end of his career footballer Gerard Pique, decided to get rid of the mansion in Spain. This was reported by The Sun. Put up for sale the facility is located half an hour from Barcelona, in the prestigious area of the small town of Esplugues de Llobregat. Former spouses have asked for it for about 12 million pounds (about 868.1 million rubles). At the moment, the singer and her children still live in the house, but soon Shakira’s plans to move to the United States with them and their father. The house consists of two basement floors and three floors above ground and has a recording studio and a gym. There is also a paddle tennis court, a foosball court, a swimming pool and several terraces for relaxing. In June it became known that the former footballer Igor Denisov put up for sale his house in Spain. The sportsman admitted that he had decided to stay in Russia instead of moving to Europe, and therefore wanted to get rid of the property abroad. Denisov added that he could not get into his villa located abroad for two years because of the pandemic, and also because he and his family members were not given a visa.

It was the fall of 1972. We were both enrolled in the master’s program in college student personnel administration. Someone in the program arranged for a co-ed volleyball game, and we both attended not knowing each other. Judith (Kursman), MS’73, was injured during the game, and well-taught as I was by my mother, I gave her a call that evening to see how she was. “I’m fine,” she said, followed by, “I’m going to a party tonight, would you like to go?” I did.

It was a fun campus courtship after that. My assistantship was in Willkie South and Judy’s was in Forest Quad. As fate would have it, I could see her room window from mine, and we talked every day to follow. Judy became a “regular” among the Willkie staff. I graduated the following May, while Judy had to continue through the summer to finish her coursework. Many of our friends find it hard to believe that we only saw each other twice in the three months preceding our wedding. It was a long-distance romance by all standards, and we still give great thanks to IU for having installed WATS lines in the residence hall offices, which allowed us to talk to each other almost every day without long distance expense.

—Frank Resnick, MS’73

College Sweethearts

“My mother and father met and married at IU,” Jack Scheid writes. “Four of our five children went to IU and met their future spouses on campus, and three of our 17 grandchildren met their spouses at IU.”

Cornelia (Feallock) Scheid, BA’55, and I had our first date at the IU-Purdue football game. I was a sophomore and Connie was a freshman. That was the beginning of a romance that had 67 blessed years of marriage.

—Jack Scheid BS’54


Overtime Overlook

“During 68 years of marriage, we have attended hundreds of IU games, including NCAA finals in New Orleans, the Holiday Bowl in California, and even the Rose Bowl in 1968,” Joan Rauch writes.

I was a freshman from Brooklyn, N.Y. during the winter of 1948–1949. Dick Rauch, BS’50, MBA’52, a junior, also from New York, called to ask me out. I laughed and told him he was crazy since that was the weekend that I was studying for final exams. “What nonsense,” he said. “You can study another time.” I kept to my studies, and he found another date. The following week, he called again and asked if I would join him at a basketball game. I had planned on attending the game and decided that this was the perfect opportunity for a first date.

On Jan. 8, 1949, every seat in the old fieldhouse was taken and the crowd was thunderous as IU was playing Illinois—one of the hot teams in the Big Ten that year. The game was close throughout the first and second halves and ended in a tie. Then, the first overtime ended in a tie. By this time, the crowd was in a frenzy as was my date, Dick. During the second overtime, the score was tied several times. Then, just before the final buzzer, Illinois scored a basket and won the game 44–42. Dick was overwhelmed by this sudden defeat and stormed down the fieldhouse steps and out of the arena, completely forgetting that I was with him. I raced after him, squiggling through the crowds, caught up with him and reminded him that he had brought me there and had to take me back to my dormitory.

—Joan (Resnick) Rauch, BA’52

Close Classmates

I was a graduate student in the fall of 1971, studying in the School of Education. Judy (Mintz), BA’73, was an advanced undergraduate student studying history and political science. By an amazing coincidence, we both happened to be students in the same section of “American Political Ideas II” taught by Richard “Sparky” Lambert that term. Judy sat in the row behind me. We talked often during the term, sharing information about ourselves and the class.

One thing we came to realize was that we were both living in the same residence hall, Eigenmann. The class met just before lunch, so we often walked back to Eigenmann and ate lunch together. On one occasion, I was so smitten with Judy that I did not realize until sometime later that I had ridden my bicycle to class that day and left it at Jordan Hall to walk her back to the dormitory! Later that term, we encountered each other at a rally protesting the treatment of Soviet Jewry.

For whatever reason, I did not ask Judy out on a formal date until nearer to the end of the term. I learned that an acquaintance was having a party Dec. 11, 1971, at his apartment. I decided to ask Judy if she wished to accompany me to this party to socialize and watch the IU-Kentucky basketball game on television. She accepted my invitation. That night turned out to be a very cold Saturday evening. Since neither of us had a car, we were forced to walk from Eigenmann to a house on Grant Street, the site of the party. The temperature must have been in the single digits. Nonetheless, we had a great time that evening.

I remember that IU won the game. The contest went to double overtime, making it that much later and thus that much colder for the walk back to campus. We froze on the way, but we persevered. We dated throughout the remainder of our time at IU and married in 1973 upon the completions of our respective programs of study.

—Alan Chesen, MS’73

Birthday Buddies

Our first date was in September 1953. My roommate and I quickly decided to fix each other up with guys from our respective hometowns. She introduced me to her ex-boyfriend on the steps of registration on our first day on campus. We somehow discovered our 18th birthdays were one day apart and set up a date to celebrate. For three years we dated off and on—enjoying parties, football games, Sigma Chi and Alpha Omicron Pi dances, and even swimming at the quarries. Our first date resulted in our marriage before our senior year.

—Roberta “Jane” (Coy), BS’57, MS’81, and Carl “Bud” Witte, BS’57

Dine and Dash

I had volunteered to be a freshman orientation advisor at Willkie Quad during my junior year—what a great way to meet women, huh? I was also vice governor of Willkie, and one of my duties was to plan social events for the dorm. The first of these was to be a “welcome to Willkie” dance the week before classes began.

Having just sat down in the cafeteria with my dinner, I was called to deal with some logistical issues concerning the dance, so had to leave my meal on the table. I was away longer than I expected and when I returned to the cafeteria, I found that all the shrimp on my tray had been eaten and the tails were left behind. Seeing that I was not a happy camper—there were no seconds on meats—someone sitting near me said, “A group of freshman girls took all of your shrimp to their table and ate them. After a while, they brought back the tails and ran out giggling.” Now I was angry (and hungry)!

A few days later, two young girls came up to me and apologized for being part of the group who stole my shrimp. Since they were both cute, of course I forgave them! While this was not actually a first date, it did lead to a relationship and romance with my now-wife of 48 years.

—Kevin, BA’73, DDS’77, and Melanie (Johnson) Tolliver, BS’75, MS’81

Daytime Dating

William and Joyce Boice have been married for 60 years.

It’s fall of 1957 and incoming freshmen with the last name beginning with “B” are attending orientation in the education building.

Joyce (Baldwin), BS’61 and William Boice, BS ’61, exit and find that it’s pouring rain. Bill, being always prepared, has a large umbrella and Joyce has none. Bill walks up to Joyce and offers to share his umbrella and a walk back to her dorm. She accepts and walking together he asks her for a date later in the week. Joyce, thinking him rather aggressive, only will accept a “Coke date” at the Chatterbox during daylight hours. The date takes place, and Bill’s fraternity brothers inspect the pair and pass judgement [of the odds] for later dates.

—William Boice, BS’61

Fuzzy Memories

In the fall of 1956, I met James Simon, BA’61, MLS’69. We had an early dinner at Nick’s English Hut, then went to a movie at the Von Lee Cinema for Jim’s German class. We had an enjoyable time, though I could hardly decipher the movie. Etched in my memory of that night is Jim’s blue suede jacket shedding all over my white blazer!

—Nancy (Smith) Simon, BS’59, MS’60

Apology Rose

“On Feb.12, 1972, in an Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible, in the parking lot of his apartment complex, Jon asked me to marry him,” Susan Wampler writes.

Jon Wampler, BS’99, and I met the first weekend of college in 1969 at the ATO fraternity house. Freshmen members were charged with bringing a girl (not their girlfriend) to the party for the upperclassmen to meet. Jon brought his friend Ellen (Hillman) Williams, BA’73. Jon’s roommate, Steve Williams, BA’73, MBA’75, JD’83, invited me. Jon had met my sister the spring before at a rush event. She said at the time that he should meet me, and he was surprised that we met at the first fraternity party of the year. But he didn’t ask me out.

Two years later, one of my friends convinced Jon to ask me out on a date. That date didn’t happen for a variety of reasons, and I doubted I’d get another call from him. I didn’t. Instead, I received a single yellow rose in apology. We eventually came up with a Thursday night rendezvous at Ye Ole Regulator and have rarely been apart since.

—Susan (Yates) Wampler, BS’73

Impromptu Skating

Our first date started as a simple bus trip to the College Mall. We walked around the mall for some time, then headed to dinner. We finished dinner and went to walk to the bus stop when we realized the weather had drastically changed while we were eating. Freezing rain had covered the entire parking lot in a sheet of ice. The date turned into a memory of “ice-skating” across the parking lot and doing everything in our power to not fall or get hurt. Luckily, we made it back to the bus and back to the dorm. The moment was hilarious enough that we gave a second date a chance. The rest is history. We tied the knot seven years later.

—Jonathan, BA’15, and Melanie (Sokol) Cohen, BS’15

Raincheck, Please

“Aaron and I were married on June 12, 2021, at my parents’ house, where 12 years earlier I had excitedly proclaimed my new relationship status,” writes Caroline Sokol.

During my freshman year at IU, I was introduced to a handsome fellow freshman by mutual friends. Our Indiana-born friends figured that we, as two Jewish East Coasters among a campus of Midwesterners, might hit it off. They were right—eventually.

After a year of running into each other at social gatherings, during the fall of our sophomore year, Aaron worked up the courage to ask me on our first date. He proposed dinner at Malibu Grill—the appropriate choice for a couple of 19-year-olds who surely couldn’t afford Zagreb’s, weren’t old enough for a drink at Kilroy’s, and wanted to feel fancier than a late-night slice at Mother Bear’s. (Though honestly, I wouldn’t have argued with the latter—No. 1 Spinoccoli fan here!)

The friends who had introduced us, a couple themselves, were thrilled at the prospect of us getting together. But the afternoon of our much-anticipated scheduled date, I had a voicemail from Aaron, which was curious, since we’d never really spoken on the phone. He had called to let me know he was in the emergency room with a basketball-induced broken ankle and would have to reschedule. I’d later learn that Aaron is prone to sports-related injuries, and this propensity for injury has surely been a hallmark of our relationship.

Years later, neither of us can remember when we rescheduled and where we ended up going. In all honesty, we probably did end up having pizza. But the next thing I knew, I’d come home to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving that November and told my parents, “I think I have a boyfriend! You can tell the grandparents that he’s a Jewish business major from New York!”

—Aaron, BS’12, and Caroline (Vivat) Sokol, BA’12

Love at First Sight

Norman and Maryann Franklin have three children, eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Early in 1957, I was attending Indiana University and was getting close to earning my degree from the School of Business. I was on a baseball scholarship and was blessed to be serving as captain of the team that season.

One of my teammates was dating a girl who was a Kappa Kappa Gamma. She thought it would be a good idea for me to meet one of her sorority sisters. She arranged a date for me with a young lady named Maryann (Wilson), BS’59, who was attending IU to obtain a teaching degree. I can still remember meeting her that first night at the sorority house.

When she came up to me, it practically knocked my eyes out of their sockets because she was so beautiful. I thought, “Where has she been my whole life?” I was president of Sigma Chi at that time. On this first date, we attended a party at my fraternity house and had a wonderful time together. We began to date steadily and got married Aug. 1, 1959.

—Norman “Duffy” Franklin, BS’57, MBA’60

Instant Chemistry

“We were married on June 12, 1971. We celebrated our 50th anniversary with a grand party,” writes Sharon Wade. “This photo is of Felix and I at the party, standing with a life-size cardboard cutout of us from our wedding.”

Our memorable first date has turned into 50 years of marriage—so far! We were “aware” of each other as residents of the iconic Wright Quadrangle during the 1968 school year, but we didn’t officially meet until 1969.

It was the start of our sophomore and junior years. Someone had organized a mixer for the residents of Todd and Jenkins Halls, the “academic units,” on the rooftop lounge. We both remember attending reluctantly, but we knew before the evening was over that we would be seeing each other again. Our first official date was a football game followed by a Dionne Warwick concert. There was electricity in the air that night!

—Felix, BA’71, and Sharon (Edwards) Wade, BA’72

Classroom Reunion

It was almost the end of my sophomore year. I popped inside the Office of Admissions, as I did often as a campus tour guide. I saw Jane Gantz, a director there, and she pulled me aside to tell me they had just hired a cute new tour guide—Jeff Pollock, BS’99. Jane was going to have him shadow my tours the following week. He did—and he was cute! Jeff and I went our separate ways for the summer. I studied abroad in Switzerland the following semester, and he traveled around the world with Semester at Sea second semester. We met again almost a year and a half later—it was the first day of our senior year and we had a class together. The rest is history!

—Libby (Toborg) Pollock, BA’99

Change of Plans

Our first date was a last-minute blind date to see the movie Blowup at the Von Lee. I had planned on an evening of pizza and books but was tempted by the movie. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight but it’s lasted 54 years since that night.

—Mary (Engelbrecht), BA’69, and Larry Jamison, BS’68

Well House Kiss

In the fall of 1966, I was beginning my sophomore year. I had dated around my freshman year, but for one reason or another, nothing seemed to last. That fall, one of my Pi Kapp fraternity brothers had attended an all-campus dance and met a freshman girl. Since he was already dating another girl, he set me up on a blind date. I had had some blind dates in the past, and all of them were the “one and done” variety, but I agreed to try it.

As Joyce (Hamer), BS’73, came off the elevator at Read Center, I could tell there was something different about her. As the evening went on, we enjoyed the time we spent together, and it seemed as if we were really relating to each other. Toward the end of the evening, we were walking through the campus since it was a warm fall evening. I asked her if she would like to see the Well House. As I recall, she had not been there before. When we arrived, I told her about the lore that you were not an official IU co-ed unless you had been kissed in the Well House.

After the kiss, we left so that she could return to Read Center on time—girls had “hours” in those days when they were required to be in. We continued to date steadily during our time at IU, first becoming lavaliered with my Greek letters, to pinned, to eventually becoming engaged my senior year.

—Richard Bender, BS’69

Dropping Hints

This photo was taken in 1956 outside of IU’s Sycamore Hall, a women’s dorm, where Mildred Dean lived.

I first saw Lyndon Dean, BS’60, at a get-acquainted gathering at the Methodist Wesley Foundation a few days before classes started in September 1954. I was a freshman, and he was a sophomore. I thought he was cute and started making plans for him to notice me. He was leaving the chemistry building as I was going in and we had a few minutes to chat. We also saw each other at Wesley every Sunday, where I usually found a seat near him. He finally took the hint and asked me out for coffee between semesters my freshman year. We went to a little restaurant across from the music building on 3rd Street and we seemed to click.

Fast forward to my junior year, he made it official with a diamond and we were married in June of 1958.

—Mildred “Pat” (Finke) Dean, BS’59

Tender Touch

My most memorable first date might not even be considered a date. I had seen Sue before and wanted to meet her. Being shy, I did not approach her. Lucky for me, I hurt my feet at the HPER building practicing Tae Kwon Do. We were doing spin kicks and I got massive blisters that popped. I hobbled back to my dorm. That was not lucky. My luck came in the form of Sue. She was part of a pilot program of students trained in first aid. One of my friends asked her if she could tend my wounds. I don’t remember much of the conversation but totally remember her soft hands. Subsequent days when she checked on me, we talked and had a real first date, which I don’t remember the details. I just remember Sue, being the angel she was, taking care of me that first visit.

—Steve Williams, BA’80, MS’85

Hometown Love

David and Connie Young share the same birthdate, were born in the same hospital (one year apart), and were delivered by the same doctor. The couple were married in August 1965.

It was October 1964, and I was practicing archery on the field adjacent to the fieldhouse. Everything was going straight at my target, when all of a sudden, my arrow took an almost 90-degree turn to the right. I went to claim it at the chain link fence when someone called out my name. A guy from my hometown was walking by. David Young, BS’66, had just transferred because his best friend (who attended IU) had coaxed him into attending IU.

He asked me out to a Julie London concert. He showed up with a red rose and was a perfect gentleman. We had known each other because our brothers played little league together and my parents frequented his parents’ business. We found we had so much in common.

—Connie (Hanes) Young, ’67

Double-Date Success

Mary (Ewan), BA’71, and I met on a blind date on Valentine’s Day in 1970. Mutual friends suggested that the four of us see the movie Goodbye, Columbus at the Princess Theatre and then on to the Village Inn for pizza. The date went well, and in April 1971, I proposed at Beck Chapel.

—Ken Sonner, BS’70

Fateful Fixup

“On Bill’s R&R from Vietnam, we met in Hawaii and got married on Christmas Eve of 1969,” Stefanie Davies writes.

My first date at IU was the major determining factor for the rest of my life. On September 19, 1964, on my first Saturday night of college, I was fixed up on a blind date by the girl across the hall from me at Read. My date, Bill Davies, BS’68, MBA’74, was a sophomore. We dated for the remainder of college, after which Bill went into the Navy, and I began my teaching career.

—Stefanie (Anspach) Davies, BA’68, MS’73

Good Company

“We were engaged on Feb. 14, 1956, but Bill didn’t want to get married until he finished medical school,” writes Joan Fulton. “We were married on June 8, 1958. Bill’s graduation was a day later.”

It was May 9, 1952, when Bill Fulton, BA’55, MD’58, asked me to see the movie African Queen at the Indiana Theater. This first date was during the end of our freshman year. Bill knew me because we were in the same German class, and his roommate dated my sorority sister. It was a perfect first date—a good movie and good company. Even better, we were both from Indianapolis, so our romance continued through the summer, our remaining years at IU, and after.

—Joan (Emhardt) Fulton, BA’55

Time Stood Still

Our IU love affair began before our first date. In 1965, I was starting my junior year, and I had met a girl named Julie at a “mixer” between Cravens Hall and Forest Quad. One evening, Julie and I were saying our goodnights—women had “hours” in those days—in the lobby of Forest Quad when a friend tapped me on the shoulder and told me he wanted to introduce me to someone. I turned and saw Linda (Murphy), BS’69.

You may be familiar with the old wives’ tale that says when you first meet the one you are to come to love, the world stands still for just a moment. That is what happened to me when I saw Lin for the first time that night in the lobby. The feeling only lasted an instant, but it was like I could not see anything else but her, and the room seemed to swirl around me. Then, the feeling was gone. Tom made the introduction, we exchanged some brief pleasantries, and then she turned her attention back to Tom and I turned mine back to Julie.

I was the president of Cravens A, and we had a big hayride planned for a weekend sometime after our first meeting. I had planned to take Julie to the hayride; however, Julie’s main squeeze attended Purdue and he suddenly was able to come to Bloomington the same weekend as the hayride. Julie called me and backed out of our date. I had no other prospects on the horizon for a replacement. I asked Julie if she could find someone to take her place. She agreed to do so. I was sitting in my dorm room with a few friends, and they were wondering if Julie could pull it off since the hayride was the next day. I remember telling my friends that I hoped she would be able to convince Lin Murphy to attend the hayride with me. Lin and I attended the hayride, and it was the beginning of a relationship that has continued for 56 years.

—Richard Dawson, BS’67, JD’70

Photographic Memory

I was running to my freshman registration at McNutt Quad when I met this redheaded, mustached guy. He was waiting on his sister, also a freshman. He proudly showed me his grant papers and I saw his name. At that time, I rarely forgot anything I saw in writing. Barry Blonder, BS’72, OD’74, it stated.

A couple months later, I reported to campus for the fall semester. While standing in a long line to receive my work-study assignment, I heard a voice behind me. I recognized not the voice but the pick-up line. “I’m a sophomore and I could show you around campus.” I promptly turned around and confronted the speaker. “Barry David Blonder” I declared.

A look of shock registered on his face. He had no recollection of our prior meeting. We could very well have gone our separate ways and never met again in that sea of 35,000 faces, but we talked and made plans to meet. Our first date was to the “cafe” (vending machines) at the newly opened library on 10th street, the first stop on his tour. After that, we exchanged contact information and our relationship began.

—Jacque (Gilmer) Blonder, BA’75

Pretty in Plaid

“That blind date resulted in eight more IU alumni and a family sporting fifteen IU degrees,” John Regan writes.

My sophomore year had a different tone. ATO pledgeship was over but academics were hard as hell. In the middle of all that, I decided it would be fun to see if I could get a date in each sorority house down 3rd Street, up Jordan, down 10th Street, and end up at the Theta house.

My progress down 3rd Street was going well. A date in the Kappa house was next on my schedule. [My roommate] Mike Robinson was pinned to Kirby Duckworth, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority. Obviously, I turned to Mike for help there, and he suggested Kirby’s roommate; this girl named Delene Anne (Smith), BS’57.

[Ahead of] our first date, as I was standing in the foyer with Mike waiting for the girls to descend the spiral staircase, I told myself, “This could be my future wife.” How prophetic! I can still vividly recall seeing a pretty, petite “thing” in a black dress with the blue-green Scottish plaid coming down the stairs. That dress is currently hanging in my closet. I remember telling her that I thought Delene Anne was a very pretty and unusual name, and she said her parents had to find something different to go with “Smith.” I also told her that I liked her dress, and that is when she told me she made it.

It was a Friday night, October 28,1955, and Mike and Kirby had decided on going to Mrs. Groves restaurant for dinner. (Delene had this date, the date we were pinned, and the date we became engaged recorded in a small notebook I found after she died.) I had ordered fish and Delene pestered me throughout the meal for ordering fish when there were so many other good things on the menu. She never put two and two together to figure out that I was Catholic, and Catholics could not eat meat on Friday.

From there we went to the famous Von Lee Theater to see The Tales of Hoffmann. When we got back to the Kappa house, I asked Delene for another date the following Friday to go over to the ATO house. She agreed and she told me [much later] she never had anyone ask her for a second date at the end of the first one.

That blind date resulted in eight more IU alumni and a family sporting fifteen IU degrees!

—John Regan, DDS’61

Written By
Lacy Nowling Whitaker
Lacy, a Bloomington native, earned two degrees from IU Bloomington (BA'08, MA'14) and is the Director of Content with the IU Alumni Association.