When Betty Megrue was a college freshman, she stepped on a bus for a ride to campus. And when she spotted the driver, she knew she liked him right from the start.
His name was Gene Megrue, a junior at Dana College in Blair, Neb., who drove a campus bus to earn a little money.
When Betty got home that night, she pulled out her diary and wrote: “Gene is really nice and fun and I like him lots.”
Gene gave her a big smile when she walked onto the bus, and then showed her around campus on that first day of school back in September 1942.
Gene and Betty started out as friends because both were dating other people at the time. But they still hung out with each other, going for Cokes at a cafe in downtown Blair.
By October they were dating. Gene played on the Vikings football team and Betty cheered for him. They loved going to movies and driving to Omaha and dancing at Peony Park.
At the time, America was fighting World War II. Gene joined the Navy, was called up the end of his junior year and went to officer training school.
For the next three years Gene served mainly on a ship in the South Pacific, and he and Betty wrote hundreds of letters to each other.
When Gene was at sea it would sometimes takes weeks for his letters to arrive at Betty’s house, and she would worry about his safety.
One day 21 of his letters came all at once, and Betty read them all before going to sleep.
Gene came home from the Navy in spring 1946, and the couple married on June 16 of that year at the Danish Lutheran Church in Blair. It was so hot on their wedding day that the candles melted and had to be snuffed out before the couple said their vows.
The couple settled in Blair and had four children. They now have eight grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and three step-great-grandchildren.
Gene, 90, and Betty, 88, always loved to golf and played regularly into their 80s. Both have each scored two holes-in-one.
Betty still keeps a diary, and still writes about Gene.
In June, on their 67th wedding anniversary, she wrote a little more about that handsome young bus driver she met decades ago: “I got a big hug and kiss, and he told me he loved me even more than when he married me.”