On April 21, 1926, my mother carried a bouquet of violets. She got married on San Jacinto Day because it was a school holiday and she had that day and the following weekend off from her work as a teacher in the Corpus Christi, Texas, schools.
But in January, 1926, my father's courtship of her was still ongoing. She was 21 and he was 38, recently widowed, with a seven-year-old daughter. They met because the daughter was in her second-grade class. After he asked her to marry him, she wanted to wait until school was out, because she needed her job. She was sending money home to her own widowed mother and younger siblings. The Corpus Christi School System at that time allowed only unmarried women to teach.
But my father was very persuasive, and they decided to elope to Kingsville, get married, and keep the marriage a secret until school was out. My mother told me that she was wearing as a hat a little cloche, of the style popular in those years, which covered all her hair. After the wedding ceremony, my father drove her back to Corpus Christi along a coast road and they parked for awhile overlooking Corpus Christi Bay to admire the sunset on the water. Mother said she took off her hat and shook her hair out to enjoy the breeze. The sun caught the auburn lights in her brown hair.
"Thelma!" exclaimed my father. "I didn't realize I'd married a red-headed woman."
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