“I was crushed,” she said. “Just heart-broken. He was the guy. He was my first love.”
Forty-seven years later, he made her another offer she couldn’t refuse. She became Mrs. Blanton.
They were married recently in the auditorium of Middletown Middle School, the former high school on Girard Avenue. After the wedding, they even sat in the same seats, right where they met in high school.
“It was fate that we got back together,” said Blanton, 65, a 1970 MHS graduate.
“It’s hard to explain,” said Koehler, 63, a 1971 MHS graduate.
After graduating, they both got married, raised their families, but never stopped thinking about each other.
“I wondered if he was happy, made a name for himself,” said Koehler, who moved to Fairfield and lost contact with Blanton. “He was always in my heart.”
He said: “I kept her in my mind.”
In 1975, there was a chance meeting at Smith Park when Koehler was there to watch a baseball game. Blanton was riding a motorcycle and Koehler gave him a Saint Christopher medal to wear as protection. That was the last time they saw each other until an odd request from her father led them together again.
He sent Koehler, his oldest of five daughters, to the store to buy his favorite brand of cracker in 2009. She told him she would buy the crackers at Kroger because she had to get other groceries, but he insisted on crackers bought from Save-A-Lot. After walking into the store, for some reason, Koehler blurted out: “Larry Blanton,” though he was no where in sight.
“I smelled him before I saw him,” she said with a laugh. “When I saw him, I kept walking.”
Finally, they met in an aisle and the conversation went something like this:
“I know you.”
“I know you, too.”
“Are you Larry?”
“Are you Kathy?”
He was with his girlfriend, so Koehler left the store.
Then in 2010, after her father died, Koehler needed to find a notary to sign papers so she could sell some of her dad’s cars. She was driving to Trenton one day, and saw a notary sign in a front yard, so she stopped. After checking on the cost of getting the papers notarized, Koehler got in her car and looked up and there stood Blanton.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I live here,” he said.
Blanton broke up with that woman and started dating Koehler. They got engaged three years later.
They both wonder how their lives would have been different had they not stopped dating in high school. She was married for 24 years and has three sons. He was divorced twice, and has five daughters.
Now they’ve back together, finally Mr. and Mrs. Blanton.
Their wedding song, fittingly, was “The Broken Road,” by Rascal Flatts.
“I never thought it would take this long,” she said. “God has brought us back to a place where we can be together. There are times when I wonder if I’m dreaming all of this and did this really come true.”
She paused, then added: “This is our time to be together and live out life together.”