Today would be my parent’s 72nd wedding anniversary. That they got married on June 8, 1941 was something of an accident.
Fran and Grover grew up in small towns in southeastern Texas. Fran’s father died when she was nine and Fran grew up very close to the poverty line. Grover was a bit better off; his father was involved in local politics and small businesses.
Grover could afford to go to the local college, Texas A&M. At the time, A&M was an all-male, military school. Every student was in the “Corps” (ROTC), received extensive military training, and a commission as a 2nd lieutenant upon graduation. Graduates served a minimum of two years in the military.
Fran worked as a secretary at A&M. They met and dated for several years. Ultimately, Grover asked her to marry him. She turned him down, saying that she didn’t want to be a military wife. She did leave an opening though, suggesting that Grover go off, do his tour of duty and then come back home to see if she were still available.
Grover graduated as en electrical engineer but wasn’t deployed immediately. Finally, in late May 1941 he got his orders – he was being deployed to Hawaii. He went back to Fran and said, in essence, “Marry me now and I’ll take you to Hawaii.” Fran said, “Well… if that’s the way you put it … OK.”
They had to quickly organize a wedding; Grover had to ship out shortly. The church happened to be available on June 8, so they took the slot. Apparently they didn’t have time to arrange a photographer; I’ve never seen a picture of their wedding. They spent their honeymoon driving from Bryan, Texas to San Francisco where they shipped out (on the S.S. Lurleen) to Hawaii.
And that’s how they both wound up at Pearl Harbor.
Hi Travis, what a great story. I believe that the attack on Pearl Harbour was in December 1941 – were your parents there at the time?
Hi Shirley — yes, they were both in Pearl Harbor at the the time of the attack on December 7th. I’ll tell that story sometime soon. Cheers, Travis