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Golden anniversary: Couple revisits first date in 1946 at Franklin Theatre

Joyce and Ken Redmond returned to the Franklin Theatre last Saturday night after more than sixty years after first date.

Ken Redmond confessed that in 1946, when he escorted his future bride to the Franklin Theatre for the couple’s first date, he wasn’t paying attention to the movie.
“I was more interested in her than the show,” said Ken of Joyce, his wife of 50 years.
It was fitting for the Redmond’s to drive from their Nashville home last Saturday night to the site where their affection for one another began.
The Freshman Four lit the marquis of the historic venue this past weekend, and Ken Redmond could not have been more enthusiastic about the show, the theatre and his beloved wife with whom he was celebrating a golden wedding anniversary.
The couple listens to WAMB radio station, famous for its Big Band music.
The Redmonds purchased tickets to the one-time performance of this nationally-renown quartet after hearing an on-air promotion for the Franklin show.
They may not tweet or have a Facebook page, but they are fully engaged in the music of yesteryear.
Flame stays lit
It was the summer of ‘46 when Joyce was entering her first year at Central High School and Ken, a graduate of Howard School, had returned from a stint in the Navy to enroll at Tennessee Tech.
“We had our first date here in 1946,” said Joyce unabashedly of the evening when she was first escorted to the Franklin Theatre by the dashing Ken Redmond, a talented athlete on a football scholarship at Tech.
When asked what was playing on the silver screen that night, Ken and Joyce both glanced at one another, laughing at the question.
Almost apologetically, they lamented they could not remember, but Ken was emphatic that he will never forget being with Joyce on that first date.
She is still flattered.
“He was a lot older than I was. I don’t know how my parents ever let me go out that young.”
It was a chance meeting at a favorite summertime hangout that brought the two together.
“Franklin had Willow Plunge; Nashville had Cascade Plunge,” Joyce noted Saturday night as she and Ken reminisced about their courtship while taking a pre-performance tour of theatre.
“I had a job at Cascade Plunge because my uncle ran it.” 
The young Joyce caught Ken’s attention and he wasted little time inviting her to the movies.
Fast forward to 1963, the two got married and eventually had five children. Today, they enjoy several grandchildren, two who graduated from Franklin High in recent years.
Ken Redmond, a successful athlete who actually played two years of semi-pro basketball for the short-lived Nashville Vols, spent decades coaching football, basketball and baseball throughout the Davidson County school system.
“He retired from DuPont High School,” Joyce said proudly of her spouse.
In a serendipitous moment Saturday night, Ken spotted a fellow ball player in the lobby before the Freshman Four performance.
Bob Dudley Smith, a Vanderbilt University Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, shook hands with Ken, instantly reconnecting with his old friend from those late 1940s college basketball days.
It was indeed a special evening for Joyce and Ken Redmond, and for their golden 50th there could not have been a more perfect place to celebrate.

Posted on: 11/24/2013


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