More than 60 years ago, a friend phoned Lorene Dixon on a Saturday afternoon and asked: Did she want to go to the movies that night? Goerf Hensley and his two brothers were all at the Lakewood café where Lorene’s friend worked, and they were looking for a date.

 

Lorene, who had a penchant for flare skirts and the jitterbug, had never met any of the brothers — Goerf, Felt and O’Dell. So she chose the name she liked best: Goerf. It turned out to be a much more fateful decision than she could have guessed.

 

Their date at the Lakewood Theater, which had opened the previous fall, turned into a 61-year marriage. And that lifelong bond eventually helped save the neighborhood landmark when it fell on hard times in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

 

“I told my husband, ‘But mother and daddy had their first blind-date at that

 

theater,’” says Jo Barr, who, with husband B.B., bought, renovated and reopened the theater in 1984 (its safety guaranteed, the couple later sold it and the theater is now operated by Keith McKeague.)

 

In some respects, going to the movies back then wasn’t much different than it is today. Goerf says, with a laugh, that he probably made his wife pay for her 10-cent ticket, and he knows he didn’t get dressed up for the occasion.

 

Was it love at first sight? “About halfway, I guess,” says Goerf with another grin. But that initial spark was enough to lead to a second outing, and soon afterward Goerf cancelled plans to move to Arizona . The next thing he knew, the couple had three children, nine grandchildren and nine

 

great-grandchildren.

 

It was a life Goerf and Lorene, now 90 and 84, spent living, working and raising their family in the neighborhood. First they lived on the city’s outskirts, at Audelia and Forest . Then, after their children — Pat, Gary and Jo — were born, they moved “in town” to East Dallas in 1950, and finally put down more permanent roots in Hollywood Heights around 1955. Here the children grew up and went to school — all three graduated from Woodrow Wilson between 1959 and 1968.

 

Ironically, Goerf and Lorene, forever busy with family and careers, only made it back to the theater once more, in 1941. An opera was playing, and Goerf didn’t much care for it, so they left before the show finished.

 

Regardless, the theater served its purpose in their lives the night Lorene chose Goerf. And, when asked the obvious question as to whether she picked

 

the right brother, Lorene coyly replies, “I guess so.”

 


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