Top: Twila Cortsen [Johnson], circa 1936.
Bottom: Twila Cortsen and Donald Benjamin Johnson, wedding photos, Hollywood, California, February 25, 1937.
Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:
"I continually reserved the right to go out with other girls. I hadn't planned to be a 'push over' for the first girls I saw in California after carefully screening at least 35 girls in Minnesota the year before, but I never got time to use my 'rights.' I was working five nights ... a week and if Twila had to babysit on my night off, Mrs. Smith [said], 'Tell him to come down here,' so I didn't have much chance." [37.216-3
"Then Twila started talking like maybe we ought to get married, and I really didn't have much argument against it. I was far from home and probably a little homesick. And she was really the best-looking girl I had ever seen, with her new teeth, and pretty tall, too. Also, she was self-supporting right then. (I sure couldn't afford anything else.) [37.216-5]
"So I sort of agreed with her that it wasn't too bad an idea, but it was kind of complicated, with her living at Smiths' and me sleeping in the same bed as Howard. [37.216- 6]
"We sure couldn't tell anybody under those conditions, but one day we got a license and thought we would figure out something. We put Twila's address at Smiths' on the legal document that was published and luckily nobody we knew noticed it.
"In a couple of days she started getting mail from everywhere -- advertising from retired preachers and wedding chapels and greenhouses and photo studios and birth control product makers and everything. Times were still hard and everyone was after a dime, wherever there might be one. Luckily, the mailman came while the Smiths were at work and she got it before they saw it." [37.216-7]
"We swore Daisy and Henry [Twila's cousin and her husband] and Marj to secrecy and Daisy and Marj said they would go along to the Wilshire Wedding Chapel as witnesses on Twila's day off."
"I got one night off from work (the only shift I missed in all the time we were there) and so we went. I marched bravely up to the altar and we got hitched." [37.217-2]
"The Wilshire Wedding Chapel charge was $3 and $2.50 for the license, total $5.50. The motel took my last $3 and I had to borrow 50 cents from Twila for streetcar fare until pay day.
"Daisy invited us to her place for supper. I wasn't too crazy about the bean sprouts she served, but it didn't make much difference. Food never had been my main passion.
"When we got to the motel, Twila made me carry her over the threshold. I don't know why, but she had heard that was the thing to do." [37.217-3]
"The next morning, the old lady who cleaned the cabins unlocked our door with her master key about every hour after 6 or 7 a.m. and stepped in to see if we were gone yet, so she could clean. We weren't experienced, or we would have nailed the door shut or found a cabin in the woods instead. [37.217-5]
"I went back to work again that night and Twila went back to Smiths' and we lived happily ever after, the same as before, until spring." [37.217-6]