Seventy years ago, my grandma met the love of her life, Bill Dugan. Though only in high school, they knew right away they had something special.
Betty and Bill attended Owatonna High School in Minnesota where Bill was captain of the baseball team. On April 14, 1946, the Owatonna Indians played their biggest rivals, the Rochester Hornets. The whole school had been awaiting this game and everyone was going to attend. Betty and her friend, Mary, were no different. At 4:30PM, the rapturous Owatonna students rooted for the Indians as they riotously took the field.
It was a pulchritudinous cloudless day, and soon it was halfway through the eighth inning. There were Indians on the first and second bases, and it was Bill Dugan’s turn up to bat. He was the best batter the team had, so everyone already knew he was going score a run. However, as Bill made contact with the ball, a ball-driven dog ran onto the field, followed by its frantic owner, Betty. She looked up just as the ball slammed into her head. She collapsed in pain as players, coaches and crowd members ran to her aid.
First to her rescue was Bill. Everyone agreed that Bill should take Betty to her house. Thus, the star player of the Indians left the most important game of the year to bring a young maiden in distress back to her house. Betty’s mom drove her to the hospital, where she spent three days in agonizing pain. The next day, Bill rushed to the hospital where he found a bandaged Betty watching one of the most classic episodes of I Love Lucy. She quickly turned down the volume to talk to Bill. He asked her out on a date to the local diner when she got out of the hospital.
Six years after that fateful day, Betty and Bill were still dating. Betty worked at the local movie theatre and Bill was playing semi-pro baseball. They spent time together every day. Every Friday, Betty went over to Bill’s house and ate dinner with his family. Friday, May fourth, 1957 was no exception. Betty arrived at Bill’s house at 6:00PM as usual, but instead of finding a bright house filled with laughter and the smell of cooking, Betty found a dimly lit corridor with a trail of rose petals leading into the house. She anxiously followed the red petals as the sweet aroma of her favorite meal filled her nose.
Sure enough, the petals lead to the kitchen where Bill earnestly awaited her. There were candles on the table and steak and potatoes for two people still sizzling from the grill. Bill pulled out her chair, and Betty obligingly sat down. She was so skittish because she knew today wouldn’t be like any other Friday. Dinner was delicious. It was almost everything she could ever hope for. The only thing missing was the proposal. Then Bill quietly arose from his chair and walked behind Betty as if he was going into the living room. However, instead, he gently tied a piece of cloth around Betty’s head so she couldn’t see.
She felt his warm hands against her waist as he slowly led her out of the kitchen. When he took off her blind fold, Betty saw the living room where more roses lay on the floor and a bouquet of Lilacs innocently sat on the table. Betty quietly sat on the couch as Bill pushed the play button on the television. What seemed like a normal episode of I Love Lucy played on the TV. Betty sighed; perhaps it was just a normal night after all. However, then she studied the episode a little more closely.
It wasn’t just any episode, it was the same episode that played on that momentous day in the hospital room when Bill had asked Betty out for the first time. To the sound of the I Love Lucy theme song, Bill Dugan got down on one knee and proposed to Betty. This was the moment Betty had been waiting for her whole life, and she knew there was no on else she wanted to spend the rest of here life with. She jumped into Bill’s arms and they turned to the TV screen to see the title page, which didn’t say I Love Lucy, but I Love Betty. The two spent the rest of the night watching the I Love Lucy episode which started and ended their unwedded lives together.
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