Hey Blondie| A Love Story

A true love story of 60 years plus started with an original pick up line.  Mr. Joe Raab was outside the skating rink on North 59 when he stated, “Hey, Blondie, if I came in would you skate with me?” to Gloria Riddell.  She liked what she heard and accepted the invitation with pleasure.  Sharing a coke and playing songs on the nickelodeon at Miami Gardens was their first official date.  Joe remembers waiting patiently for her to come down the stairs on the main floor in her big home on North Murphy Avenue.  “She was a city girl and I was a country boy” he stated. Soon after they met Joe was drafted.  Gloria and his mother took a greyhound bus to Aberdeen, Maryland to visit him.  Joe asked Gloria if she would wait for him until he got back and she said “ABSOLUTELY”. Joe said many English women would try to get with the service men because they wanted to get to the States.  Joe and Gloria were very comfortable and confident in their own skin and jealousy was never an issue throughout their marriage.  During the blackouts Joe would make necklaces and bracelets out of English coins.  He would solder the chains and send them home for Gloria, his mom and sister.  Joe was wounded during combat by a piece of German shrapnel. He was stationed at the Tidworth base in England which is located near Stonehenge.  Every single love letter that Joe sent during his tenure in the service Gloria kept and cherished.  Joe returned home in April of 46 and married the love of his life November 15, 1946. The night of their wedding they stayed at the Terre Haute house.  Joe had planned to drive his green1940 Studebaker champion car to their honeymoon destination at the Palmer house in Chicago but were not able to make it because Gloria’s grandmother had passed away that evening.  The family celebrated Mr. and Mrs. Raab’s 40th wedding anniversary at the Palmer house after enjoying a show at the Chicago theater.  Joe still has a picture of Gloria walking down Wabash Ave with his tailor made suit. After the wedding, Gloria and Joe moved in with Joe’s widowed mother. They lived with her while Joe built their family home across the road by hand. He cut all of the white and red oak wood for the joists and laid all the brick.  Everything he did was by teaching himself. Mr.Raab’s motto for himself is if you’re going to do a job, do it right the first time so you’ll never have to do it again. Gloria and Joe have three sons and Joe stated he doesn’t know what he would do without his boys.

When Joe was asked what the greatest gift was that Gloria gave to him, he responded “when she told me she loved me, I knew that was the Gospel.” 

Gloria passed away at Cloverleaf in October of 2012.  Joe thinks about Gloria every day and whenever he speaks of her there is a twinkle in his eye.