A PCHAS Love Story – Joe and Elenor

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The children within PCHAS’s Group Homes tend to become friends, comforting each other and fostering growth until it is their time to venture out into the world. The year is 1959 and PCHAS Itasca Group Home residents Darlene Hood and Elenor Yaughn just graduated from high school and did just that. They ventured out into the world, leaving the group homes behind and exploring life’s potential. Their friendship faded over distance and time and before they knew it, 40 years had passed. It wasn’t until a PCHAS “Exes Day” reunion, that these two would once again cross paths. Stories were shared, and it was a happy day for these childhood friends. After four decades they were back in each other’s lives.

For the next four years they remained friends and exchanged phone calls and emails, discussing their lives and laughing about old memories they shared from the PCHAS Group Home. They remained in touch until Darlene’s passing from a longtime illness. After the loss of Darlene, Elenor wanted to learn more about her childhood friend, and so she met with Darlene’s husband, Joe, for coffee to discuss Darlene and the years that had passed while they were apart. From there, Elenor and Joe developed a close friendship and after some time, Joe, age 70, and Elenor, 66, fell in love and married. They say it was God’s work that brought them together. “Only He could have known the path that would bring us together and we give Him all the glory!” said Elenor. They have been married for eight years.

“I have the distinct honor of being the only person to have married two women out of the same PCHAS class and lived to tell about it,” said Joe.

Elenor enjoys reminiscing about her 12 years on the Itasca campus. “I was six years old when I moved to the Home. There were about 20 to 25 children in each home in the 1950s, and they ended up like your sisters and brothers. I still keep up with them,” said Elenor.

“Life was very different then. We had a dairy and the boys milked the cows. We had chickens and pigs and we all rode horses. We had a laundry where we did everybody’s clothes. There were very strict rules and very strict punishments too,” said Elenor.

“The best thing was the chapel. It was used every Sunday morning, when director of the hall would do a little sermon. Religion was a very prominent part of our growing up here on the Itasca campus. At 6 years old, I became a Christian. I owe my salvation to PCHAS and what PCHAS taught me about the Bible and God,” said Elenor.

Elenor had been divorced for 18 years when she met Joe. She said she was waiting for God to bring her someone. She and Joe both felt as if God had brought each of them the help and loving support that they needed, and they say they will be eternally grateful.

Joe and Elenor continue to attend PCHAS Exes Day reunions every year, reconnecting with old friends and reminiscing about Darlene, a woman they both loved dearly.


By Lindsay Sloan