Courtship of My Mother and Father

After the Rondeaus moved to Sierra Madre in 1946, Lois went to work at I. Magnin’s in Pasadena. At Magnin’s, probably the fanciest clothing store in Pasadena, Lois was a salesperson and a floor model. It was a job she loved because she loved clothes and she spent her salary on excellent clothing. Her younger sister, Cynthia, was said to have the most cashmere sweaters of any girl in her high school, having “borrowed” them from Lois.

Patrick had settled in California upon separation from the Navy. Pharmaceutical sales didn’t really satisfy him, so he joined the LAPD. His sisters also settled in California and Peggy brought her parents and younger sisters to El Monte. After he became a policeman, Pat was living in a maid’s apartment setting in the house of Arthur and Laura Felt in Los Feliz, very near Hollywood.

By 1949, Pat’s sister Nell had graduated from St. Andrew’s High School and was working at Magnin’s. She and Lois became friends. Meanwhile, the only male heir of the Flanagans was having a fine social life dating starlets. His mother and sisters were ready for him to settle down and did not think any of these ladies met the appropriate criteria to become a Flanagan.

Nell had invited Lois to her house and she and Addie (her mother) decided Lois would be a good match for Pat.

One July, Nell invited Lois to a slumber party at her home in El Monte with 3 of her sisters. They decided to go to the drive-in. (We don’t know this, but we imagine they went in Flanagan women style: pajamas-legs rolled up, and a trench coat to cover up.) Pat was made the driver and the group was off.

They had a good time and Lois thought that he would call. Patrick did not call, and did not call, and did not call. She gave up on “that damn Pat Flanagan”. Come Thanksgiving evening, after both families had individually finished their dinners, Pat called Lois to see if she would like to go out that night. She was about to turn him down, but thought that if she did he might never call again, so she said, “Yes.”

They started going out constantly, spending late nights down at Tangs in Chinatown. Pat’s boss, Mert Howe, finally told him to either drop the girl or marry her. And as an incentive, in this post war housing crunch, there happened to be an apartment free in his building. By Christmas, they were engaged and, as 1950 began, were planning their wedding on February 4th.

Kathleen Flanagan

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