In January of 1974, I was working as an assistant manager at a pizza place in Hollywood California. It was located in a shopping center on Santa Monica Blvd and Hobart, just 3 blocks from my house. As an assistant I didn’t really have set hours, I worked 5 days a week but different hours each day to help where I was most needed. I spent a lot of nights closing up and walking home alone.
About the second week of the year, the owner hired a new worker. He was an Iranian who had been born in Russia and he was a friend of Eddie, the manager. His name was Abbas. I remember he was very tall and good looking. It was just that his English wasn’t very good. Thankfully, he only worked when the manager was there so he could interpret for him. I didn’t get to see him very much because he worked days and I usually worked nights.
At the end of January, I had to go pick up my paycheck and my sister wanted to go with me so she could get a pizza. When we walked into the shop I thought my sister was going to have a heart attack. She “fell in love” at first sight. Now let me tell you a little bit about my sister. Her name was Mary Leella, but she went by the name “Le”. She was one of the meanest people I have ever known. She was about 5ft 9in tall and weighed about 300 pounds. She was 23 years old and had never had a boyfriend nor gone on a date.
While we were sitting at a table waiting for her pizza I noticed that Abbas was visually upset. Eddie was trying to calm him down but nothing seemed to help. I asked what was wrong and he told me that Abbas’ visa was expiring and he was going to be deported. I asked what could be done to stop it and I was told: “he could get married”. My sister was just sitting there staring at Abbas and doing what I assume was trying to flirt with him. I was embarrassed so I grabbed my check and started to leave and when I got to the door I turned around, pointed at Le and jokingly said “She will marry him!” and I left.
I stopped at a friend’s house on the way home and we were sitting on the porch talking. The next thing we knew Le was hurrying down the street and when she saw me she rushed up to me and said, “Don’t tell mom and dad, but Abbas and I are going to Vegas tomorrow night to get married!” I couldn’t believe my ears. I was too stunned to ask any questions but that didn’t matter because Le rushed off towards home. I didn’t tell my parents, first of all, I didn’t believe her and second, she was a grown woman and if what she said was true then it was up to her. Sure enough, when I got home from work the next night my mother was in a full-fledged breakdown. My sister really did elope!
The marriage only lasted about 4 months. Did I mention that my sister was mean? Apparently, she had abused Abbas on several occasions, even breaking his hand. After Le moved back home, he came by to have her sign divorce papers. His new boss, a female who owned a hair salon, had driven him there. My sister barreled out the door at them and began punching both of them. My Dad, who had cancer and had his right lung removed went out to try to stop her, but she out-weighed him by about 150 pounds.
To be honest, I don’t know how it happened but at some point, Le did sign the papers. My dad died at the end of June and her divorce was final in mid-August. The day after that my mother, sister, my son and I moved back to Tucson, AZ. My sister never married again, nor had a boyfriend, nor had any children. My mother always blamed me for Le marrying Abbas, but honestly, it really wasn’t my fault.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.