It only took two dates to the Fort Worth Stock Show to convince Sherry and Angus Baker that they should get married.
And before you lament that those kids are rushing into things, you should know that the Bakers are in their 70s.
And that those two dates were separated by 56 years.
“We came to the Stock Show together on Jan. 31, 1958,” Sherry said, explaining that she was a high school sophomore and he was just out of school and in the Air Force.
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“Being 16 years old, I wanted a stuffed animal,” Sherry said. “His [bimonthly] paycheck was $38, and he spent the whole thing trying to win [a stuffed animal] for me — and he did. That was a lot of money back then.”
Angus’ favorite memory of that first Stock Show date is the Ferris wheel.
“You would get up to the top of the thing and, once it stopped, it gave you a chance to smooch,” he said, laughing.
The couple, who had been dating for a few months before that first Stock Show date, went on to become serious enough to be engaged.
But Sherry’s parents had other ideas.
“Her parents didn’t want her to be engaged when she started her senior year,” said Angus, who was stationed at Carswell Air Force Base. “They knew I could be shipped out at any time and they wanted her to be able to have her senior year with her friends and be able to go to the prom and things like that.”
So the engagement ring was reluctantly returned, and the couple went their separate ways.
Ultimately, both married other people. But, over the years, they would see one another when they got together with other friends from their days together at Fort Worth’s Polytechnic High School.
“My husband and I used to go to the Johnny High Music Revue every week and so would Angus and his wife,” Sherry said. “So we never really completely lost touch.”
Flash forward to 2014. Angus had divorced, and Sherry’s husband had died.
“After my husband passed away, Angus would check on me every once in a while to ask me if I needed anything,” said Sherry who, like Angus, has lived in or near Fort Worth all her life. “After about a year, I said, ‘If you would ever want to meet for dinner, I would.’ So then he played hard to get.”
But Angus finally took the hint and invited Sherry out to lunch. The first true date, however, came soon after, when Sherry suggested that they go back to the Stock Show.
“We got out of the car in the parking lot, and as soon as we started walking, I put my arm through his. He later said that he knew then that it was going to work,” Sherry said. “It didn’t take any time for the sparks to fly again.”
Almost four months later, on April 26 — Sherry’s birthday — they were married.
“I got down on one knee and asked her, ‘Do you want to try it one more time?’” said Angus, remembering his proposal.
When she said yes, he put the same engagement ring that had been removed so many years before back on Sherry’s left hand.
And it is clear that nobody’s parents are going to get her to take it off this time.
“I just feel like I’m 16 again so much of the time now,” said Sherry.