Mission Accomplished

zazalaNovember 10, 1927
San Bernardino

Kim’s post a few days ago about the ineffectual hammer attack led me to this tale, which ends in what those of the gaming community refer to as a “finishing move.”

Ralph J. Zazala, 37, was sweet on Grace Hardesty, 35.  He’d been seeing her for a spell.  They took a little ride three miles north of Berdoo.  Perhaps he hummed a little tune.  He parked.  Maybe he’d sneak a little smooch!  Oh, and he brought along some things.  

The blood-and-gore stained hammer disclosed that Grace had fought, in the car, long and hard for her life, and eventually escaped.  She was on her knees at the roadside, apparently pleading for mercy, when he put his other tool, the shotgun, in her mouth and pulled the trigger.  He then turned the weapon on himself.

Sheriff Shay found letters in Grace’s pocket indicating that while she and Ralph had been acquainted for some time, she was in fact a Mrs. Grace Hardesty, a fact to which Ralph evidently objected.  

And so ended more love-stained, blood-stained Southern California romantic bliss.

Marriage: It’s Like Guns!

A change to California marriage laws has cut the number of Los Angeles nuptials in half this year, from 1634 in September of 1926 to only 787 in 1927.  In an editorial, the Times praised the new three-day waiting period, saying that "Love is blind, and three days are frequently sufficient to open its eyes," and went on to assert that "stringing strands of barbed wire at the top of Lover’s Leap in the dark will catch many silly Willies."

Would that something had been in place to catch Edna and Harvey Fletcher before they took the plunge.  Today, Harvey’s sixth wife won her freedom, charging her too-charming spouse with cruelty.  Harvey had boasted to her that he could have any woman he wanted, and the lady took offense.

Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off!

Call the Whole Thing Off Headline

You say eether and I say eyether,
You say neether and I say nyther;
Eether, eyether, neether, nyther,
Let’s call the whole thing off!
George and Ira Gershwin

October 8, 1927
Los Angeles call the whole thing off pic

What’s a gal to do when she can’t even pronounce her own married surname? She files for an annulment!

Eva Tanguay, a singer, fell in love with and married a vaudeville performer. The man of her dreams was named Allen Parado, or so she thought. Eva soon found out that she’d been deceived, and that his name was actually Alexander Booke.

The newlywed singer thought she might as well roll with it – it wasn’t as if her spouse had some chippie stashed in a love nest downtown. Besides, Eva Booke had a nice ring to it.

But even a woman in love has her limit, and when she found out that her husband’s real name was Chandos Ksiazkiewicz she not pleased.

In Eva’s defense she tried very hard over the next several months to learn to pronounce and to spell the jumble of consonants. But try as she might introductions were awkward, and forget about signing for anything.

Chandos was not about to give up on his marriage and continued to pester his bride to reconcile – maybe Eva just needed a little more time to conquer the tongue twisting last name. Eva was having none of it, and was not entirely convinced that the name game had ended. Fearing that Chandos would not leave her alone as she sought an annulment, she applied for a restraining order. Judge Burnell sided with Mrs. K and signed an order forbidding Parado, Booke, or Ksiazkiewicz from bothering her.

A Ksiazkiewicz by any other name…

Marriage, 1927 Style

unusual agreement

May 28, 1927

"I guess the only way to stop divorce is to stop marriage."Will Rogers

Everyone is familiar with the Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared, but newlyweds Grant Dewlaney and Ethel Hornaday have prepared themselves for marriage in a way that no Boy Scout ever could have imagined. divorce filings

Grant and Ethel hope to spend the rest of their lives together in blissful tandem harness, but what if the unthinkable happens and they fall out of love like the ten couples who filed for divorce today in Los Angeles?

In the event that their love does not endure, the pragmatic pair has taken an unusual step to avoid future battles over the house, furniture, and the family Ford. Prior to their marriage ceremony they filed an agreement with the Los Angeles County Recorder which may inspire other modern couples to do the same.

The contract states that if Ethel ever files for divorce she will accept a settlement of $500 ($5939.25USD 2007) to pay for an attorney, her separate maintenance and any other of her expenses. If Ethel files for divorce before their first wedding anniversary, she has agreed to accept the sum of $300 ($3563.55USD 2007).

Will this type of agreement ever catch on? Only time will tell.

Not Worthy

Nov. 11, 1907
Los Angeles

On a trip to Topeka, Kans., to visit relatives, Lena River Packard of Los Angeles met Edgar (or Edwin) Campbell Arnold, a wealthy wholesale druggist who quickly became her constant companion and ardent suitor. Love soon blossomed and in a few months, Edgar arrived in Los Angeles to claim his bride.

A lavish wedding was arranged, bridal showers were given for Lena and the minister was brought to town from Ventura, where the Packards once lived. Edgar gave her a diamond-studded bracelet as a token of their upcoming marriage.

And then the night before the ceremony,

A Many Splendored Thing

November 6, 1907
Los Angeles

When Mrs. Jenevieve Van Lakum, a well-to-do and refined 35 year-old widow from Manitou, Colorado checked into an apartment at 803 East Fifth Street with her four children and a black gentleman, it was assumed by the proprietor that the gentleman was her porter.

But a certain Patrolman C. H. Jones espied Jenevieve and the black gentleman about town, and made an investigation.  It came to light that the man, William Seay, was occupying the same apartment.  

Humane Officer Reynolds took the children into custody and the two adults face arrest.

After Mrs. Van Lakum was taken to Central Station and interrogated, she broke down and admitted that she loved the man, and “could not explain her affection for the negro.”  They came from the east to Los Angeles with the express purpose of becoming husband and wife, but the LA Powers That Be put the kibosh on that.  Police suspected that Seay held some “uncanny” influence over her, but Jeneivieve denied that she had been hypnotized.  Seay further stated that he maintained his relations with her only for the money she gave him, which to this point had amounted to about $500 ($10,261 USD 2005).

disappearedPostscript – on November 10, “Humane Officer” Reynolds confessed that the sextet had given him the slip.  After having secured Seay’s promise to stay away from the woman, Reynolds allowed Van Lakum to take the children in search of a cottage to rent—and disappeared.  

Says Reynolds:  “I believe that she has found a cottage somewhere in the suburbs and is living quietly.  Whether the negro visits her or not, I have no positive knowledge, but I am inclined to believe that he does.

“Information from the East states that Mrs. Van Lakum is the member of a prominent family in Chicago.  I think that she is irresponsible.  I believe she is mentally deranged.”

Let’s hope they found happiness somewhere, though where in 1907 Los Angeles that would be, I do not know.  Certainly not in Edendale.

Firefighters’ Pranks

Aug. 29, 1907
Los Angeles

Around Engine Co. 20 at Sunset Boulevard and Mohawk Street, Lt. Samuel Dodd is something of a practical joker, so when he left on his honeymoon with his bride, Juanita, his fellow firefighters decided to get even.

They did such a good job plastering the house across the street at 2149 Sunset Blvd. with signs and old shoes that passing streetcars stopped so passengers could get a look.

The Times said: