Once upon a time, New Year’s Eve 1952, Leon Vaughn was back in Modesto. He was home on leave from the Korean War. After hugging his parents, he went in search of his brother, Jack at a community dance. He entered the hall, spied his brother and swaggered across the floor. Young women noticed the sailor in dress whites, with wavy black hair and bright hazel eyes. “He’s cute,” they whispered loud enough to attract his attention. He flashed a laughing smile and noted where the girls sat intending to dance with them later.
|Leon & Blanch 1953|
Jack introduced his big brother to a group of friends including Blanch Trammell, a beautiful brunette. When Leon first saw Blanch, he thought to himself, “She’s mine.” For the rest of the evening, the sailor and the brunette danced only with each other. Later, Blanch bragged to her friends, “Leon is so handsome he’s pretty.”
A few days after the dance, Leon arrived at Blanch’s home to see her leaving with another man. Leon asked her, “Do you want to go with him or me?” Blanch drove away with Leon and that night they became engaged. Blanch was 16 and according to Lucy, her mother too young to marry anyone. Lucy’s brother-in-law, Harper Trammell convinced her that without her permission, the young couple would elope to Reno.
Leon’s leave was almost over; he had to report for duty in San Francisco. On January 18th, 18 days after the dance and 61 years ago today, Pierce Leon Vaughn and Aletta Blanch Trammell wed. The ceremony took place on Lucy’s front lawn. Due to the lack of time for planning and the lack of funds for fancy extras, the ceremony was simple, but strong enough to bind two lives together. For my parents, Leon and Blanch, love at first sight did happen in real life. Leon died Aug 30, 2011, leaving his sweetheart, but the love lives on.
|January 18, 1953|