Sunday, May 19, 2013

Saying “I Do”

Earl Bean Marilyn Bean seated outside at park during early spring in northern California
Somewhere in the midst of Samuel Bean’s winning streak in the local chess tournament scene, his younger son was embarking on a winning streak of his own. Now safely back across the Pacific and honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after the war in 1946, Earle Raymond Bean had made his way back home to Alameda, California. Some time after that point, he made the acquaintance of a young lady from Southern California by name Marilyn Sowle.

How Earle and Marilyn met, I have no idea. Though she was born in Wisconsin, Marilyn was living with her parents, David and Olive Brague Sowle, in the southern California city of Anaheim by the time of the 1940 census—though she was hard to find, courtesy of a census worker who evidently heard her name as “Maryland.”

Some time after that point, Marilyn’s parents divorced, her mother remarried and moved up to northern California. Though Marilyn favored her father and remained in the Los Angeles area through her high school years, perhaps it was on a visit with her mother in the north that she may have had opportunity to meet Sam’s son.

I can only guess, though. Despite the many opportunities I had in the past to ask, I never did hear the story of how they met.

Worse, I still can’t find any record of her marriage to Earle Raymond Bean—or Earl Ray, or whatever other version of his name might have been used. It could have been a small ceremony in Alameda. Or Los Angeles. Or anywhere in between. Who knows; maybe they made a run for Reno. The maddening thing is that there is absolutely no mention of them in’s index of California marriage records up through 1952.

Why would I suspect a limit of 1952? Because by March of 1951, they were already the proud parents of a firstborn son.

Sam’s first grandchild had made his appearance.

Greg Bean one year birthday cake


  1. Another mystery to be solved..I am sure you will find out! :)

    1. Hopefully...

      Sometimes, all it takes is the patience to wait until more information is digitized and added online.

      Or...I can take the old fashioned route and just send for a copy of the marriage documentation.

  2. What a darling picture of Sam's first grandchild. If Sam had not embraced his handicaps with strength and enthusiasm, this little person would never have happened.

    Isn't it maddening when you know the records must be there, and yet you can't find them?!

    1. That's quite an insight, Mariann. Sam's life choices had an impact not only on his own life, but those of many others, including his own descendants. And though this grandson never really got the chance to know Sam, he certainly revered him and made specific choices in life based on what he knew of his grandfather.

      Years later, when Greg became aware of what the Marfan syndrome was doing to his life, he often said that, despite that challenge, he was still so grateful to have had the opportunity to live that life.

      Echoes of the heritage he had in Sam.

  3. Cute picture of Earle and Marilyn. She looks very Katherine Hepburn-ish, especially in those slacks.

    My family records seem NEVER to be included in the available years. It's my own private Murphy's Law.

    1. Wendy, you'll have to share that Murphy's Law with me. It seems never failing in my case, too!


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