Uncle Paul was a swinger. He was Dad's next younger brother, but old enough to have entered the Air Service of the Signal Corps in 1918. He was the first member of the family to be divorced. He seemed to take to it, and tried it again, finally settling down with a darling young lady from England. He fiddled around in the investment world, and once told me that he had lost over a million dollars- twice.
When he heard Rosie and I were to be married in Oxnard, he wrote to me. He pointed out how difficult it would be for Mom and Dad to get to Oxnard, because of travel restrictions, and how important it would be for Rosie to meet and really get acquainted with them. Then he offered to arrange for us to get to Winnetka, provided the Army would give us travel time. So I went to Maj. Klohs, Commandant of Students at Marfa Army Air Field, where I was approaching graduation day as a Cadet. I told him of our planned wedding and Paul’s offer. He said, “You’ll have time. You will be given a 10-day delay in route beginning on February 8, the day you all graduate”.
I called Uncle Paul, and he said, “ I have a friend at the railroad, and another in Washington. We will work it out. Just see to it that you graduate”. All this happened during early January, 1944. The wedding was scheduled for February 10.
About two weeks later an envelope arrived from my swingin’ Uncle, containing two tickets for the Santa Fe Super Chief, and reservations for a lower berth. Incredible. This was the premier train of the Santa Fe. There was also two tickets and a lower berth on an ordinary train of the Union Pacific from Chicago to Las Vegas, Nevada, my next station. I had orders to report to Vegas on February 18. It all meant I would be able to introduce my bride to my family, promptly.
So, fast forward to February 11th. The wedding over, we left a small motel in L A for Union Station. We had time to poke around the tourist trap, Olvera Street, then boarded our train. We noticed the Porter, and the Conductor both stared at us a bit. It was apparent we were sort of out of place. The train was crowded with older men in business suits, and senior Military Officers. Rosie recognized several Movie Stars. We were young. I was a new 2nd Lieutenant. They had to wonder how we managed the priority dance to get aboard.
We were trying to be so cool and nonchalant. We hoped we looked sophisticated and confidant in our roles. But that evening, in the dinning car, a large, happy looking black waiter came to our table and boomed out, “You folks ‘re just married, ain’t you?” No secret any more. Everybody heard. Everybody clapped. And a bottle of champagne appeared on our table. “Compliments of the Steward.” A bird Colonel stopped to congratulate us. He said “Don’t get up. There will be a couple of drinks waiting for you in the club car, later.” Rosie beamed, and blurted out, “He just got his wings”. The Colonel just grinned, wished us luck, then walked away. People really are so nice, when nobody’s looking.