Vern and Fredricka “Freddy” Schaefer of Kettering have been reading the Dayton Daily News since before they were married 69 years ago. RICHARD WILSON/STAFF

Dayton Daily News prompted couple to elope in Indiana

Learning to read, fighting wars and keeping a marriage secret are among the personal connections Vern and Fredricka “Freddy” Schaefer have with the Dayton Daily News.

The Kettering residents have been reading the Dayton Daily News since before they were married 69 years ago, a marriage the newspaper could’ve jeopardized given their chosen careers.

The Schaefers met at Miami Valley Hospital as student nurses, who weren’t permitted to be married. Because the newspaper regularly published a list of local marriage licenses granted, she and Vern were among the students who eloped to Indiana to tie the knot to prevent the hospital — and occasionally, parents — from finding out.

“I graduated in 1952,” Freddy said. “After we walked down that NCR auditorium aisle and up on the stage, got our diplomas, quite a few of us student nurses pulled out our wedding bands and put them on.”

As a child, Freddy remembers lying on the floor with a pencil and circling words she was learning at school. Her father would then quiz her on the words she circled.

“My dad would read the funny paper, as we called the comics, to me while I sat on his lap and I pointed out words I could read,” she said.

She remembers Dec. 7, 1941, when the paperboy yelled outside their home, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” after the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.

“Our lives changed in so many ways,” Freddy said, recalling rationing everything from sugar to shoes, saving grease and paper, buying war stamps and seeing “Uncle Sam Wants You” posters at school.

Vern said that, years after World War II, the Dayton Daily News was a comfort to him and his fellow soldiers during the 18 months he served in the U.S. military during the Korean War.

He remembers receiving a week-delayed Dayton Daily News in the mail from his wife.

“It was news from home and a connection I valued,” Vern said. “The other members of my squad enjoyed the paper as much as I did. The paper wasn’t from their home town, but it was news from stateside! Home!”

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