King and Dee, the early years

I have been asked by several of the grandkids to relate how Eloide and I got together. It was not a sudden thing, but it happened and developed over the years

I was in the third grade at the Lemonville School when Mrs. Alva Willey got the job of teaching there. She had a car, so her son Bailey, who was my age, and her granddaughter Eloide Linscomb, rode with her instead of walking to the school in Mauriceville.

Dee was a small, skinny first grader and, of course as schoolmates, we saw a lot of each other and were friendly – but I still thought of her as a skinny kid. After a few years, the Lemonville, Texla and Gist schools all consolidated into one school at Mauriceville. We had all new buildings, new buses and a lot more students. Dee and I did not have much contact but as we grew into teens, I could see she was developing a few curves and had a pretty face, although she was still very lean.

Bailey and I were invited to a party at a cousin’s house in Vidor. He got his Mom’s car and we made the party. As it turned out, Dee was also there and wanted a ride home with us. Bailey had to take his date home, so that put Dee and me in the back seat down the long, dusty road from Vidor to home. As teenagers, we did some talking and feeling and hugging, and we shared our first kiss in the back seat of that old Ford. At this time, she was fourteen and I was seventeen and although it was not anything serious, we both felt there was a connection from there on.

A short time later, Dee’s mother found work at the laundry in Orange and her family moved to town. Over the next year or so, I dated other girls and she dated other boys but we always came back to each other. We both loved to dance and we frequented the nightclubs in Louisiana a lot.

To shorten this story, after some heavy and serious dating, we decided we wanted to marry. So on April 6, 1938, we went to Lake Charles and were married by a preacher there. Oleta, my brother Gordon’s wife, went with us as a witness. We tried to keep it a secret but that did not work. We stayed at Mom and Dad’s and I worked for him around the farm. Sadly, our first child was born prematurely that year and only lived two or three hours. We named her Olivia Dell and buried her at Wilkinson Cemetery.

Life was hard after that. We were young, broke and did not know what we wanted. We would live together a while and then break up and she would return to her Mother’s house.

I was working at the store in Mauriceville at this time and making $40 a month. On a Saturday after we closed, instead of going home, I went to Orange and asked Dee to come out the car. We talked for hours. We knew we loved each other and were meant to be together. We made a commitment to each other to put aside our petty differences and try to live a good life. We got back together and got along good. Then, on Jan. 11, 1940, Nita was born. We were extremely happy to have started a family and it seemed to cement our marriage.

The rest is history. Andy was born 1943, Derry in 1945, Danny in 1941, Nancy in 1955 and Tommy in 1957. Money was short and we struggled together to keep up. Especially hard were the years after 1954 when we went way in debt and built the new and larger house. But Dee and I worked together and saved together, and in the end it turned out good. We raised a family of which we were both proud.

I am happy to say Eloide and I loved and enjoyed each other for 72 years of married life.

Olivia Dell Dunn

Our first baby, Olivia Dell, was born prematurely on Aug. 28, 1938. She only lived a few hours.

We buried her at Wilkinson Cemetery and for while she did not have a headstone. We finally were able to afford a headstone by making a deal and paying for it a little at a time. I was only making $40 a month and that’s how much the tombstone cost. We decided to have ‘Baby Dunn’ engraved on the stone instead of her name because the engraving was charged by the letter.