I remember my great grandmother, Lucile Unith Thomas, as a loving, speak-her-mind woman. I have the best memories of visiting her in Laporte, IN during baseball season. If we were smart, my family should’ve had earplugs in tow on those outings. Why? Was she hard of hearing? Nope. Sunday afternoons in her home was the battle of the baseball teams. She, like me, was a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. Her second husband, Orville, on the other hand, was a lifelong Chicago White Sox fan. Cubs fans and White Sox fans are like oil and water. One would be watching their team on the television in one room. The other would be listening to their team on the radio in another. As the games progressed, the volumes on both the radio and television would continually be turned up to the point where it was deafening. Each of them trying to drown out the sound of each other’s beloved team’s game. The sound was bouncing off the wall. When one of the games was over, you’d be exhausted from just having to sit through it all.
After grandma passed away, I began to hear stories of her childhood. She was a girl of privilege, the daughter of wealthy farmer who was raised as a little princess. I saw pictures of her in the most lavish baby carriage, in the most stylish clothing....it was wonderful to see these things because grandma didn’t always have the easiest adulthood. She and my great grandfather, Glenn David Watts, divorced before their children were grown.
During my genealogy research, I was so warmed to see her constantly mentioned in the society pages of the local newspapers. Lucile Thomas entertained the members of her Sunday school class at a party at her home on Monday evening. Lucile Thomas was the guest at so and so’s parties.
And then, I read it. The item that must have curled her parents’, Jacob Garver Thomas and Malinda Hitler’s toes. From The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel. Marriages. Cromwell, Indiana. June 6, 1918 (typed as written):
“Miss Lucile Thomas, accomplished daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob G. Thomas, and Mr. Glenn Watts of Gary, IN were united in marriage at Rolling Prairie, IN. Miss Thomas left home Thursday morning for Rolling Prairie, where she expected to meet Mr. Watts and spend the day with his people, expecting to return home that evening, so her mother says, then a telegram arrived her telling of the marriage. Mr. Watts is in the draft and will enlist in the service in a few days”.
Oh! My sly great grandparents eloped! Those devils! As I did some further research, I found out that they had actually married on May 31, 1918 in St. Joseph, MI!
Learning of all this, I smiled to myself a bit thinking how scandalous this must have been and that my grandma didn’t care her family thought he was the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. She loved him and she wanted to marry her soldier before he went off to war.