My Grandparents Were Married – Really!

So, my grandparents were married. I know this. In fact, I know that they were married for 16 years before their first child was born. Trying (and failing) to find out what they did during that time is what inspired my interest in genealogy. The generational gap in my maternal lineage averages 33 years, which means that everyone who was alive during those 16 years is…no longer alive. 

However, one must back up a bit because, in order to determine the course of a marriage one must determine the existence of said marriage. And my grandparents, in the great words of Washington B. Hogwallop in O Brother Where Art Thou, “done R U N N O F T.” In other words, they eloped. Family legend (the basis for the entirety of the rest of this paragraph) states that they ran off to New Orleans. Grandma (Marian) was 19, and she had met Grandpa (Hooker) while away at LSU for college. He was one of her only friends who was not a student. Hooker worked at First National Bank in Baton Rouge, starting as a teller and ending as Vice President – the true American Dream. Marian double majored in home economics and mathematics.  But although she graduated high school at age 15 in 1928 and entered college by 1930 (The Adelphean Magazine), she didn’t graduate until 1936 (per her diploma), BECAUSE she got married (legend). An unreliable source for the family legend known only (to the author) as “Great Aunt Sue” said that they “ran off because they had to”. 

Although my mother had learned of it as a teenager, it was only on my grandmother’s deathbed that my aunt learned of her stillborn sibling. The doctor was giving her the standard questionnaire, which included the question “how many children have you given birth to?” Marian answered “three.” My aunt, concerned, put her hand on Marian’s arm and said, “no Mama, you only had two children.” With uncanny strength, Grandma opened her eyes, looked directly into Marsha’s, and said, “THREE.” She later related the story, that, when 8 months pregnant, she and Hooker and Hooker’s mother were driving when the car broke down in the mud. Grandmother Williams refused to help push the car out of the mud, so Marian and Hooker did it together. Apparently, this event precipitated the loss of her baby. 

Mama’s theory is that Marian and Hooker decided not to have any more children, but then changed their minds after the war. Hooker was a supply requisitionist in the South Pacific during World War II, and spent almost all four years away from home. My mother, their first (living) child, was born in 1948, when Marian was nearly 36 years old.  Their second child was born three years later. 

Truly, other than the information heretofore presented, there exists no data as to what they “did” between their marriage in 1932 and my mother’s birth. In that time period, such a thing was nearly unheard of, and again, the family legend states that they spent the non-war period “whooping it up with their friends and having a grand time.” Well, I’m not sure about you, but I don’t ever sign in when I go out to “whoop it up”, so it’s very difficult to find data on their activities. 

This saga will be updated as I continue to find more information.