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Linda & Jim

I am Linda Shows Reinhart, my husband is Henry Joseph Reinhart, known as “Jim”. In the summer of 1951 the U.S. was conducting a “police action” in Korea and at the age of 19, Jim had joined the Air Force. After his basic training he was sent to Northwestern State College in my hometown, Natchitoches, Louisiana for training as a clerk typist. I was a typical 15-year-old and spent a good share of my time checking out all the new boys in town. One was so handsome I felt that he was one I “had to meet”.

There followed about six weeks of shameless chasing:
• He played baseball – I cultivated a friendship with the daughter of the Sergeant that was the baseball coach and sat in the dugout during games.
• He went into the local ice cream parlor – I bribed my brother, John (8 years old), to go with me so I could exclaim, “Oh, imagine seeing you here!” (John was no fool. He held me up for a banana split, no little ice cream cone for him! My entire week’s allowance.)
• He left the movie – I suddenly decided the movie was so awful I had to leave right now, allowing “surprised” greetings in the lobby.

At least three other similar arranged encounters come to mind. Finally, on the way home from seeing the movie The Great Caruso, I saw him walking down the street – “Oh, Ladye, stop the car! Give him a ride! I’ve just gotta have a date with him!” (Remember, I was 15 – I had no sense, only hormones.)

However, that effort was finally successful. The next day he called me for a date. We went to see (guess what) The Great Caruso, neither of us telling the other that we had just seen it the day before. The strangest thing was, after we had been dating for a while, he was trying to tell me that he had noticed me even before I had noticed him. Considering what trouble I had had trying to get him to ask me out, I doubted his claim – until he correctly described a certain evening, where I was, what I was doing, what I was wearing and who I was with.

We went to see The Great Caruso whenever it was showing during a time we were together and we considered it “our movie”. By the summer of 1953 it was making the rounds of the drive-in theaters. It was there that he gave me my engagement ring.

My story seems much longer than the others you have. I had to work hard chasing my man until he finally caught me. Half a century is a lo-o-ong time, yet didn’t these things just happen? Sometimes I look in the mirror and ask myself, “What in the world are you doing living in such an old body?” Now, six children, 18 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren later, I’m afraid that silly teenager is still not very far beneath the surface, but I’m glad she was willing to do whatever was necessary to get her wonderful man.

Linda Shows Rinehart