A Secret Elopement
February 11, 2013
Many years ago, I asked my mom to write to my great aunts in California for some information and copies of pictures of my mom’s parents. Both of my maternal grandparents died before or shortly after I was born, and since my mom is the baby of seven children, she inherited virtually nothing in the way of family photos or heirlooms. At the time, my aunts were also in their late eighties, and I thought that these stories should most definitely be collected before the last of their generation were gone.
So, my mom wrote and mailed a few letters (this was before email), and within a few weeks, we received several responses that included interesting anecdotes and a photo or two. In reading through my aunt’s stories, my mom and I were shocked to learn that her parents ran off in the dark of night and eloped along with an aunt and uncle. Both couples were married in a double ceremony. Now, none of my mom’s siblings had ever heard this story, including my mom. But as the story went, my grandfather was divorced from his first wife, and consequently, none of my grandmother’s family approved of him. So, in order for the couple to escape the ridicule of the family, they ran off to marry in July 1933.
This was, of course, a shock to all of us who read the letters. My grandparents were married for almost 40 years, and no one suspected that their love affair began with such scandal. Today, I happily recount this tale to others in the family who haven't heard the story. I am so grateful that through a request for some family history and a wonderful written account, we now know of a forbidden romance that blossomed into a branch of my family tree.
Midwest Genealogy Center