Sandra Nash had noticed that Bill Hughes was nice-looking when they started
ninth grade together at Batesville High School in 1953. When she had a couple of
classes with him as a senior, she decided he was more than a pretty face.
"I didn't really know Bill that much. I had seen him around," says Sandra,
who was head cheerleader their freshman year. By the time they were seniors, she
noticed that he never took a book home.
Bill, she knew, worked at a cafe in town in the evenings -- often late -- but
he always made it to school on time, and he got straight A's every term.
"That sort of got me intrigued. His brain got me intrigued," Sandra says.
They had English class and drama class together, and they were in several
plays together, which gave them time to get acquainted.
"He was the first person I dated that was my age," Sandra says. "Most of the
young men that I had dated were either in college or were a good bit older than
I was. I don't know why -- maybe because I was an only child, or maybe because I
was around mostly adults."
Neither remembers for sure, but they suppose their first date was probably a
movie at the Melba Theater, just a few blocks from Sandra's house.
Young people around town gathered at the Rainbow Inn, where burgers were
served and there was a patio for music and dancing.
"They played rock 'n' roll -- Elvis, The Beatles, you name it -- and cars
packed the parking lot," Sandra says. "We would meet out there occasionally. It
was just like a huge party. I loved to dance, and danced a lot."
They went to school functions, too, including the senior prom.
After high school, Sandra enrolled at what is now Lyon College, and Bill left
for Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas.
He couldn't stand being away from Sandra, so he came home after just one
semester. Marriage had been a topic of their conversations for a while by then,
and Bill's being back in the town served to step up the dialogue.
"I didn't exactly pop the question," he says. "I didn't have that
down-on-my-knee proposal, but we knew it was the right thing for us."
The time wasn't right for a wedding, though. Sandra's grandfather was ill,
and her mother was spending most of her time by his hospital bed. It wasn't
clear if he would recover, and a nuptial celebration seemed out of place.
"We loved each other, and it was just understood that we would get married
sometime, and then we made the decision to go ahead and do this secretly to
avoid the trauma that I didn't think my family could handle at that time," she
On Feb.3, 1957, Bill picked Sandra up at her house for what her parents
assumed was just another date. They were married that day by a Methodist
minister in his parsonage in Cave City.
Sandra wore a pastel blue dress.
"I remember reading somewhere that if you wore blue you would always be true,
and I thought of that," she says.
After the ceremony, they resumed their old pre-married lives -- he took her
home and went home to his, and she didn't wear her ring until a couple of weeks
later, when her grandfather showed marked improvement and they felt comfortable
sharing their happy news.
Central Avenue United Methodist Church congregants hosted a wedding reception
"We had a cake, and I wore a white dress," Sandra says. "It was almost like a
wedding although, of course, it was not."
Bill and Sandra lived in Batesville for most of their married life. They have
one son, William Boyce Hughes, who lives with his wife, Debbie, in Germantown,
Tenn. They have one grandson, David Justus Hughes, who lives in Memphis with his
Bill and Sandra dropped out of college when they married. Several years later
Sandra read a questionnaire Bill had filled out and learned that he regretted
not finishing. Without telling him she had seen what he wrote, she insisted that
they sell the house they had just built and use the proceeds and her
pre-retirement earnings to send him back to college.
"I said, 'You're too smart not to finish,'" Sandra says.
Bill graduated from Arkansas State University at Jonesboro in 1971 with a
bachelor's degree in history. He retired as senior vice president with U.S. Lime
and Minerals, which required him to commute between Batesville and the corporate
office in Dallas for years. He remains on the company's board of directors.
"He's always been very smart," Sandra says, "and he's still quite handsome to
me, of course."Read more at:marieaustralia.com | evening dresses