Photo courtesy Special Collections, University of Memphis Libraries
Most Memphians, I presume, recognize the name Margaret Polk. The young woman was engaged to Robert Morgan, the pilot of the famed Memphis Belle, the B-17 Flying Fortress that he had named after his longtime sweetheart.
Newspapers, eager for a good story, told readers about their romance, and one day The Commercial Appeal even announced their wedding. No details were provided, only that “the wedding will be solemnized in the early Spring.”
And what a perfect ending it would’ve been to one of the war’s best-known love stories. The Memphis Belle — the plane, I mean — would complete its 25 missions and return home for a war-bond tour, and after all these long years overseas, the pilot would finally marry his longtime sweetheart.
Some things just don’t work out. The wedding never took place. It’s never been clear — not to me, anyway — who decided to call it off, but I recall reading somewhere that all the publicity finally just wore the couple down, and Margaret herself even admitted that she was “in love with being in love” — or something to that effect, suggesting that her affections towards Morgan had cooled.
Margaret remained in Memphis. After the war, Morgan returned to his home of Asheville, North Carolina, where he married someone else, and eventually opened a Volkswagen dealership. I always thought that was an odd choice of cars for him to be selling, after spending so much time dropping bombs over German-held Europe, but heck they were good cars.