It took a few years, but he fi­nally bowled her over

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - HIGH PROFILE - KIM­BERLY DISHONGH If you have an in­ter­est­ing howwe-met story or if you know some­one who does, please call (501) 425-7228 or email: kimdis­[email protected]

Bon­nie Am­mon’s sis­ter was look­ing for com­pany while she watched her hus­band bowl — or so she said.

“I think they kind of set that up,” says Bon­nie, who sus­pects she might have been aim­ing for more of a more long-term ar­range­ment.

She joined her sis­ter, go­ing down the tun­nel at the orig­i­nal Park Plaza, past the ter­rar­ium and into the old down­stairs bowl­ing al­ley, and that’s where she was in­tro­duced to Jerry Nog­gle, who worked with Bon­nie’s brother-in-law at the U.S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers in late 1964.

“They bowled on the same team for sev­eral years for the Corps of En­gi­neers bowl­ing league, which is now 70 years old — it’s the old­est bowl­ing league in the city,” she says.

Jerry was nice-look­ing, she thought.

“But I did no­tice he was re­ally skinny and his pants were about 2 inches too short,” she says. “I think I weighed more than he did.”

Bon­nie sat with her sis­ter and watched the men bowl. Between turns, Jerry came over to talk.

“I was won­der­ing where my good buddy had been keep­ing his sis­ter-in-law,” Jerry quips.

Bon­nie and Jerry learned through their in­ter­mit­tent con­ver­sa­tion that they had things in com­mon.

“I found out she liked to do the same things I liked to do,” Jerry says. “I re­al­ized af­ter awhile that she was a good tomboy.”

“I was,” Bon­nie con­cedes. “I grew up on a farm and picked cot­ton un­til I was 12 years old.”

Bon­nie grew up in Moun­tain Pine, out­side Hot Springs, and moved to Lit­tle Rock af­ter grad­u­at­ing from high school in 1961 to live with her sis­ters and work as a bank teller.

Jerry grew up on a farm in the boot heel of Mis­souri. He had worked dur­ing sum­mers for the Corps of En­gi­neers and then for about six months af­ter grad­u­a­tion be­fore en­ter­ing the mil­i­tary for a year and a half be­fore re­turn­ing to start his ca­reer there.

It took Jerry awhile to call Bon­nie to ask for date.

“He was shy and I was shy,” Bon­nie says. “I re­mem­ber him call­ing and say­ing, ‘This is Jerry,’ and I said, ‘Jerry who?’”

They had a few dates that in­volved dou­bling with Bon­nie’s sis­ter and broth­erin-law and then Jerry in­vited her to the Corps of En­gi­neers Christ­mas party.

At the time, the league was for men only.

Even though the girls couldn’t bowl with the guys in the league back then, Bon­nie and Jerry did bowl to­gether on their own.

Their other fa­vorite pas­time was fish­ing.

“When we were still dat­ing we would go with his older sis­ter and brother-in-law and camp out in tents at Lake Oua­chita and fish,” she says.

Bon­nie en­rolled in night school to be­come a le­gal sec­re­tary not long af­ter they started dat­ing, so they didn’t get to go out as much as they might have other­wise.

“I re­mem­ber tak­ing her to class and pick­ing her up,” Jerry says.

When Bon­nie fin­ished school, she got a job in the U.S. Bank­ruptcy Court build­ing, which was next-door to the build­ing where Jerry worked.

“Then we saw each other all the time,” she says.

They dated for al­most five years be­fore they talked about get­ting mar­ried.

“I think it was a kind of a mu­tual thing,” Bon­nie says. “That was about the size of it. He was 30 at the time, and I was 25.”

“It was time,” Jerry says. They were mar­ried on Feb. 22, 1969, at Pu­laski Heights United Methodist Church by the Rev. James Ar­gue Sr.

When the Corps of En­gi­neers league be­came coed in 1971, Bon­nie joined and they bowled to­gether un­til 2000, when Jerry needed back surgery and could no longer play.

“Since they closed Park Plaza, our league has bowled in ev­ery bowl­ing al­ley in Lit­tle Rock and North Lit­tle Rock,” Bon­nie says. “Then we fished, the four of us — my sis­ter and my brother-in-law, the four of us — on Lake Oua­chita, and camped out to­gether,” she says. “And then af­ter we got older, af­ter our two sons were gone we bought a bass boat and we fished for the long­est time by our­selves.”

Jerry and Bon­nie have two sons — Scott Nog­gle of New York and Mark Nog­gle of McRae. They also have two grand­daugh­ters.

Bon­nie took up golf when their boys were young.

“There was this group of old guys at Reb­samen golf who taught kids in sum­mer for $10 for a one-week course — they were about 5 and 8,” she says. “So I took the boys over to Reb­samen Golf Course

ev­ery day for about one week and they learned and they were pretty good, both of them, and they played and I thought, ‘Well, golly, I’m com­ing out here ev­ery day, I might as well fig­ure out how, too.’”

She played with a group of women from her church, and Jerry joined her on the course af­ter he re­tired in 2003, al­though he says he started too late to catch up.

“We haven’t had very many ups and downs,” she says. “We pretty much get along to­gether — we al­ways have, be­cause we like to do things to­gether.”

Spe­cial to the Demo­crat-Gazette

Jerry Nog­gle and Bon­nie Am­mon were mar­ried on Feb. 22, 1969. Her sis­ter in­tro­duced them so she would have some­one to keep her com­pany while she watched her hus­band bowl. “His car­di­ol­o­gist says he has a beau­ti­ful heart — I’ll agree with that,” she says.

Spe­cial to the Demo­crat-Gazette

Jerry and Bon­nie Nog­gle of Bryant are pic­tured here on their farm in McRae. They will cel­e­brate their 50th an­niver­sary this month with a din­ner for fam­ily and friends. “He’s re­ally, re­ally good — I could not be more blessed than I am. I’m re­ally blessed,” she says.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.