|Me and my grandparents. I seem to be about five years old here.|
Provided by Ryanne Cardenas.
Here's the more in-depth story I got out of my granny:
Jesse and Clara first met at Banner's Grocery Store, which was located in Duval County, Florida. Jesse was working as a bag boy and shelf stocker at the time. Clara, who was from North Carolina, was in town for the summer with her Mom and Aunt. Some of Clara's family, who were local to the area, were familiar with the bag boy at the local store. They got the two of them together on a fishing trip, and that was when the two "really got to know each other."
They saw each other several times over the summer. Clara told me about one time they went skating together. She said she didn't know what they were planning to do together, so she wore a skirt. When she realized what was on the agenda, she said, Jesse's family took her to Sears and bought her slacks to wear.
Clara left at the end of the summer to go back home. (Something about all of this makes me think of the song"Summer Lovin'" from Grease.) Jesse and Clara stayed in touch though. They called each other frequently.
Then, at the age of 16, Jesse approached his parents, Jesse Lee and Rosemary Findley, and requested they allow him to drop out of school and join the Coast Guard. They agreed and signed the required forms so he could enlist early.
|This is a photo I took of a plaque hanging in my grandmother's living room.|
|This is a photo of Jesse Joe as a young man in the Coast Guard. |
It is the youngest photo I have of him in uniform. Provided by Thomas Cardenas.
|Jesse posing with the Block Island sign. Photo provided by Thomas Cardenas.|
She did tell me an interesting story about her engagement ring which I didn't know. She said her engagement ring had a 3/4 carat blue diamond that was (or perhaps is) 75 years old. I love antique jewelry, so this caught my attention. She told me I had seen her ring before, but I told her I couldn't remember it, and I definitely knew I hadn't heard the following story about her ring before.
When she told me the age of the diamond in her ring, I asked her if there was a story behind the stone since she made sure to mention the age of it. She said the stone was from Jesse's dad's dad's "Sunday ring." The ring had been passed down through the generations, first to Jesse's dad, and then finally to Jesse. She told me Jesse's dad never really wore the ring. Jesse, on the other hand, wore it from time to time. Then, when it came time to propose to Clara, Jesse decided to take the blue diamond out of the ring and put it in her engagement ring.
I love that story! I told her I want to see the ring again next time I visit her, especially now that I have heard this wonderful background information.
|Nancy, Clara, David, and Jesse Findley. Seems to be taken about 1968.|
Photo provided by Thomas Cardenas.
|This is a photo I took of a plaque hanging in Clara's living room.|
It states she was the President of the Fort Macon Coast Guard Wives Club in 1978.
(They misspelled her last name.)
- Clara R. Findley, self
- Jesse J. Findley, self
- Photos taken by me are from June 2014
- Other photos were provided by Thomas and Ryanne Cardenas