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by Tumbleweed Smith

Charles Bogutzki of Crockett saw a good bit of action during World War Two. At the end of the war he was stationed at a naval base at Hitchcock on the Texas coast. He had just got engaged to his girlfriend back home in Pennsylvania. Then while on a Sunday outing, he met another girl when he and a buddy went to a drive-in in Houston.

"I was a passenger," says Charles. "We pulled into Prince's drive in, which was very famous in those days. As we pulled in, and this is the very truth, the first moment I saw this carhop with the brunette hair, I said to my buddy Nick, the driver: 'I'd give my right arm to have a date with her.' He looked at me and said he liked blondes. Well, sure enough, the blonde came out and waited on us."

Chuck carried the image of that carhop with him the following week. The very next Sunday, he and his buddy went back to that same drive-in in downtown Houston.

"This time the brunette came out," says Charles. "After she brought us our order, she stood and talked to Nick for a few minutes. Finally she stooped down and looked over at me and asked Nick, 'does he ever speak?' I told her I speak if someone speaks to me. Then she ran around the front of the car and came over to my side and the first words out of her mouth to me were spoken in a New England accent: 'what paht of the nahth are you from?' I told her I was from Pennsylvania. 'And what is your name?' she asked. I said my name is Bogutzki. She said, 'honey when we get married you're gonna have to change it 'cause I don't like it.' "

Chuck realized he was engaged to the girl back home, but was fully smitten with this dark-haired carhop. His girlfriend had been writing him regularly all the time he was in the Navy. Finally one day he sat down and wrote his girl friend a goodbye letter.

"I told her I had met a girl down here and find myself thinking about her quite often. I never got another letter."

He and the carhop had four dates and got married on the 5th day of January, 1946.

"My friend with the car drove us to Rosenberg, Texas where we got a marriage license and on the way back to the base we stopped in Missouri City and found a Justice of the Peace. I had twelve dollars in my pocket, a ten-dollar bill and two singles. After he performed the ceremony I pulled out the ten and was gonna say, 'I'd like to have five back' and he grabbed it and said 'thank you very much.' So I had a wife and two dollars, which I spent at Zales jewelers for a wedding band for her. And that's how we started our life. After 59 years and six days my wife passed away. We had nine children, ten grandchildren, fifteen great grandchildren and I have a great great grandson."

Charles Bogutzki did acquire an alias. Around Crockett he's known as Chuck Bogard.

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