Elope You Say?

The Marriage of Isaac Vernon Dement to Elizabeth Pearl Holmans

By Brad Dement

I never hear them say why they decided to elope. Probably time and money were both too tight for a fancy wedding. Daddy was in the army air corps, a Corporal I think. He had about finished his tour, and was happy to be getting out with the war in Europe heating up. He was scheduled for discharge very soon. Mother was living in a small apartment in Houston working as a secretary.

Daddy had come to visit one weekend in early December. I don’t know if it was already arranged, or just a spur of the moment thing. Either way, that was the day Bud and Pearl decided to get married. They probably thought they could get married that day (Saturday), have a quick honeymoon (Sunday), then get daddy get back to the post (Monday). I am inclined to say it was a spontaneous move. If it was planned ahead of time, it was the worst planned elopement in history.

First, since it was a Saturday, they couldn’t find a minister or justice of the piece anywhere. They drove around trying to find someone who could marry them. It must have been quite a search, because they finally had to wake-up a JP in Rosenberg, Texas who married them, and then went right back to bed (the JP that is). Mother had some distant family relations in Rosenberg, which perhaps explains why they had gone that far out of town in the first place.

But that wasn’t their biggest problem. With all that running around, they didn’t get married until sometime after midnight. This wasn’t an issue in itself, but it did cause the date on their marriage certificate to read “December 7, 1941” – the Day of Infamy.

Accounting for the change in time zones, it must have been around 6:00 PM, Rosenberg time, that Japanese planes cleared the mountain behind Honolulu, and began their bombing runs on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, about the time Bud and Pearl sat down for their first evening meal as husband and wife.

Needless to say, daddy’s discharge got cancelled. He was shipped out to England where he served for the duration of the war.
The timing of the elopement wasn’t bad for everything, however. Pearl gave birth to Marian Lanier Dement exactly nine months and three days after their wedding. Mother told me she was quite anxious about the timing of Lanier’s arrival. If she couldn’t hold out for the full nine-month term, she was seriously worried people might think she was less than a lady before she and daddy got married. I’ll bet mother was taking real short steps those last few days.