My Family Genealogy

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My Parents

Donald Lee Clark and Barbara Jean Raabe

My parents were married on the 7th of October 1950 at Yuma, Yuma County, Arizona, United States.

They may have met while they were both working at Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California. According to my understanding, Barbara's mother wasn't particularly in favor of my father, and for that reason Donald and Barbara decided to simply elope. This is why they went all the way to Yuma, Arizona, to be married. Arizona had very liberal marriage laws, whereas California required more red tape and delay. Couples would have to apply for a license (which may have await the results of a blood test), and there was a waiting period. Arizona, on the other hand, marriage licenses required only the payment of a fee, and the wedding could be performed immediately. For that reason, Yuma was a popular marriage destination for southern California couples in a hurry.

I don't know where they lived immediately after their wedding, but by 1954 they were living in Lakewood, California, not far from where Donald's parents and his grandmother Rose Whitney were living. This was the first home I remember as a child, and this is where we were living when my brother, Mark, arrived in the family. I am not entirely sure when my parents sold this home, and bought a new one in Buena Park, California, but it was around 1956. The new house was in a brand-new housing development at the time, but we didn't live there long. My parents began having marital problems, probably exacerbated by my mother being diagnosed with breast cancer, and they separated. I recall living with my mother and brother in a small bungalow, probably in Long Beach, California.

Following my mother's death in October 1958, my brother and I lived for a time with our father in what I recall was the same or a similar bungalow that we lived in while our mother was still alive. At some point after that my brother and I were placed with our father's grandmother and parents, respectively. In other words, I lived with our great grandmother Rose, and my brother lived with our grandparents (Dad's mother and stepfather), not far from our former family home in Lakewood.

After our father married Florence Elliott in July 1960 we moved in with her, in her house in Garden Grove, California.