Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mysterious Myrna

My Great Aunt Myrna Elva [Mason] Winters was single as long as I knew her. Of course, I knew that she was once married, because her last name wasn't Mason anymore. But I was only 7 years old when she died... so "widow" and "single" meant the same thing to me. What was mysterious about Myrna, though, was that after her death we found out she had been married before. In her jewelry box, my aunt Melinda found letters and a wedding announcement. She was married to Raymond Harvey Derrick sometime in the 1920's (the announcement didn't have a date).

Back in 2009, I took Melinda's Myrna notebook home. It contains pictures, letters and newspaper clippings. It seems that R. H. Derrick maintained his communication with Myrna's parents for years after they must have divorced. I haven't found any record of a divorce (those records are not available online).

I would just like to know about that marriage. What happened? Why didn't anyone talk about it? Why didn't my dad and his sisters know about it? If it was such a secret, why did R. H. Derrick continue writing letters and sending photos of his family years (decades even) after their marriage? He worked oil fields and oil pipelines (as evidenced by some of the photos he sent and letters he wrote). Maybe she just couldn't bear with him as he followed the work wherever it led. I know they were no longer married by 1934, when he wrote a letter to her indicating his greatest mistake was letting her go.

So that's what I've been working on this weekend.

PS - There was a photo of a man named Earl R. Sykes which was labeled as "My boyfriend at Ft. Worth College." Does anyone know what college that was? I haven't found a record of a Ft. Worth College open in the 20's.

PPS - My Aunt Melinda says her mother (my grandmother Jessie) always said she thought maybe Myrna had gotten pregnant at one time and went away to have the baby and put it up for adoption... maybe through the Lena Pope Home. I have found no evidence to support this. Lena Pope didn't even open until 1930 (from what I can tell). I guess it's possible that Myrna was divorced by that time... still searching for that info.