Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Worst Dates Led to Love for Contest Winners

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Worst Dates Led to Love for Contest Winners

Article excerpt

A date that started with a dump truck at the drive-in movie theater has lead to a happy 54-year marriage for Mary and Clifford Long.

The Longs, of Tecumseh, are one of the winners of The Topeka Capital-Journal's Best Date/Worst Date contest.

Josh Coufal, of Topeka, claims the other top prize with his worst date story about a trip to the emergency room on his first date.

Mary Long was 16 and living in Parsons when "a young man from Topeka came calling," she wrote in her entry.

"He was in Parsons working for John Bicknell driving a dump truck," Mary said. "On our third date, he showed up in his father's dump truck."

Clifford Long was living in Topeka with his parents. However, he and his father were working in Parsons hauling asphalt with a dump truck. When Clifford's father decided to make the trek home to Topeka one weekend, he didn't want to drive the dump truck, so he took Clifford's vehicle, a pink and black 1955 Studebaker sports coupe. That left Clifford with the dump truck.

"You can only imagine how shocked I was," Mary Long wrote. "We proceeded on with our date, a trip to a drive-in movie. After some bribing at the booth, we were allowed to go to the back row to park so as not to obstruct anyone's view."

While shocked, Mary Long said she thought everything went OK -- until the next morning when she arrived to take her seat on the school bus.

"It was at this time I noticed the whispers and then a loud clear voice, 'Did you know that Mary has gotten so big her new boyfriend had to get a dump truck to take her to the movies?'" she wrote.

Clifford and Mary fell in love.

"Even though it ended up being a strange date, and I was truly embarrassed, we went together 10 weeks and then got married," she said.

Mary Long was a just a junior in high school when her sweetheart proposed.

He told her he had to head to Oklahoma for a job and wanted to marry.

"He wasn't leaving town without me," Mary Long said.

After traveling for two years, the Longs moved back to Kansas. They have four children, six grandchildren and four great- grandchildren. …

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