Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bill and Ann Get Married

Can I just say that on Thursday, July 15th, I got an email that caused me to gasp out loud! It was from Ann's niece, telling me that she and her cousin (I had the pleasure of meeting them in June) found pictures of Bill (formerly known here as William) and Ann's wedding day and they were going to be in the mail to me the next day! Well, I got those pictures on Saturday, June 17th, and they are wonderful!

Ann was Bill's third wife. They married in 1961 and remained married until his death in 1977. By all accounts they were very happy and had a wonderful life together. They had a nice home, a cabin in the mountains, and an ever present Boxer, Duchess.

I am only posting one picture at this time because I need to do some cleaning with PhotoShop on the other one and my computer with PhotoShop is currently acting up and on it's way to the desktop doctor. As soon as it's back and "all better", I'll fix and post the other wedding photos.

A brief recap, Bill was my great uncle; my grandmother, Lola's youngest brother. In 1910 when Lola was 16 years old and Bill was 8 or 9 years old, they were not living together as a family with their parents and other siblings (Bessie, Monroe, and George) but rather farmed out with other families working for their board. Mind you, their mother was too. Their father had abandoned them (or so the family lore goes). But, by 1920, Lola was married to Red and the mother of two young boys (Raymond who was 4 years old and Robert who was 2 years old), and lived in Mason City, IA. Bill (aka William) was living there too in the same house with them. I still cannot understand how they ended up living together after being separated by dire circumstances several years prior.

Then, in 1927 (seven years after the untimely death of Lola's first born son Raymond in 1920), Red and Lola came to California to visit her brother (Bill). They then moved to and remained here. In 1930, Bill and his first wife, Myrle, lived in an apartment in Huntington Park, CA and Lola, Red and my dad lived in a house in Huntington Park, CA. They obviously had contact. Enter 1932 - the last time I can find anything on Lola - in the 1932 Huntington Park City Directory - living as a housewife with Red. After that, nothing. I do know that it was "around" that time that Red left Lola and my dad. I know that my dad's sister (step sister in reality) was about 8 years old when Red began visiting her mother (around 1933). I know that there was a period of time (not sure of the duration) that my dad lived with his mother, minus his father.

Then, at some point in the mid to later 1930s, Lola was taken out of the home and locked up in a State Hospital. My dad then found himself living with the families of his friends as he did not want to be a ward of the state. He was a teen at this point. By 1940, he was a young man in his early 20s newly married. His final visit with Lola (as far as I know) was during the time of this first marriage (probably between 1939 and 1942 when they separated). He did not want to see Lola, but his first wife, Fern, convinced him to. He told me that she was in the State Hospital at that time (or so that is my recollection of what he told me).

Bill's first wife Myrle, died an early death in 1938 (at 37 years old). Bill then remarried in 1942. He married a woman named Edith. That marriage lasted until her death in 1959. In retrospect, I can't help but wonder if her having a strong and supportive family was a a part of the lure for Bill, having come from a broken family. He did have an adoptive family with siblings that kept tabs on him, considering him their family, and we are still trying to learn about those relationships.

When Bill married Ann (she also had a strong and supportive family) in 1961, Edith's brother, Arthur, and his sons, Charles and Albert were there with Bill at the wedding. The above picture, left to right, is Arthur, Bill, Charles and Albert. I'm sure other members of that family were there and I hope to gather more information soon on that. I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Albert on the phone about a month ago. My "fancy" detective work, lead me to him. We are planning to meet at the end of the summer to share stories and photos and he's going to search his records for anything he might have including photos. That young, handsome guy above in the photo on the right, is now a very sharp, active, charming and vital 80 year old man! I can't wait to meet him in person and get his reaction to seeing the pictures! Plus, I can't wait to talk to him more.

So far, no one living that I've connected with that knew Bill, knew anything about his family. He never spoke about that. The feeling was that he had a rough upbringing and that he was very nice and rather quiet.

I find it interestingly sad that Bill had a strong connection with Lola, yet now, their past was really a mystery. When he married Ann in 1961 Lola was not there to my knowledge (if she was even alive then), nor was my dad (as far as I know). They were his blood relatives. However, his other family was there in force standing up for him and supporting him - the family of his late wife. He looks quite happy and comfortable with those guys. I am really happy about that, yet I'm really sad that I never had the opportunity to know Bill. I really wish I could talk to my dad right now as I have so many questions. I wonder if he'd answer them now; he really wouldn't answer questions when he was alive.

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