1930s were not for the faint of heart.
Listen to an unconventional love story, in the segment that aired on KWBU-FM:
A Long Road to Marriage
Airdate: February 7
This is Living Stories, featuring voices from the collections of the Baylor University Institute for Oral History. I'm Kim Patterson.
Sometimes, love is not easy. The story that Gladys Casimir of Calvert tells of her road to marriage is testimony to that.
"When I was in Baylor I had a very good friend. We [were] planning to get married, but he wanted to study medicine. He went clear off to Philadelphia, and he kept putting off, putting off marriage. Finally in 1933, I decided I'd go to Philadelphia and—what shall I say?—have a showdown? Now or never. My younger sister and a friend—a girlfriend of hers from Waco, three of us struck out in a car. By this time my fiancé, as I thought he was, had quit medical school and was in New York City. So we went on, drove—can you imagine us driving on unpaved roads so many times?"
When the three girls reached New York, they met up with Casimir's friend and did some sightseeing:
"We went way out to Coney Island one night and rode all the things. We rode on a boat up the Hudson River going back. And on that boat ride going back, my friend and I were talking, and he confessed that he was already married and hadn't told me. And yet he'd been coming to see me. Well, my heart was broken, and I thought I'd never get over it."
Casimir went back home to Calvert and gradually became acquainted with an older gentleman through close friends:
"My husband was a widower. He had grown children and grandchildren. I never thought of him as a prospective suitor or husband or anything. Much to my surprise one time he asked me for a date. I turned him down. And later I was talking to my friends, and they both said, Oh, he's the finest man. You should have accepted. Why didn't you? So after they kept on singing his praises, the next time he asked me for a date, I accepted. After we'd gone together for a while, we planned to get married in the summer of '36. And then—his mother was still living, and she objected very much. So, until she died in '37, there were no definite plans for the future. So when she died in '37, we began to talk again about marriage."
Unfortunately, her husband-to-be then discovered some debt in the family business that he wanted to clear, and so they put their plans on hold again. Fast-forward to a Saturday in December 1940, when the night before Casimir had driven to Cameron in a torrential thunderstorm:
"I had told my husband-to-be that I was going to Waco that day, and when I got up the next morning he phoned to the house and said he wanted to go with me. Well, Saturday was a busy day at the store and how could he go? But he insisted. So we hadn't gone a few miles, he began to complain about my going the night before and I didn't have any business going. And I said, ‘Well, you don't have any right to tell me that I can't go.' And he says, ‘Well, I want that right, and I—we're going to have it.' Says, ‘We're going to get married today.' And I said, ‘Well, we can't!' And he said, ‘Why?' And I said, ‘Well, we don't have any license. We don't have—.' ‘Well, we'll take care of that.'"
The couple married later that day at the First Baptist Church in Gatesville and went on to enjoy nine years of marriage before his death in 1949.
Living Stories is heard every Tuesday on 103 point 3 FM, Waco's NPR. For program transcripts or more information about the Institute for Oral History, visit baylor.edu/livingstories.
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