PLUNK GENEALOGY -- see "Family" label on this blog and/or write Mike at

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bonnie & Clyde - Up Close & Personal

You just never know what you’re going to find out when relatives read your blog. Cousin Grace called a few days ago to check on us after the tornadoes and, as we continued chatting, she mentioned that she’s a regular reader and had enjoyed the “Not Exactly Bonnie & Clyde” recent post.

We chatted on, and Grace said, “You know, mother met Bonnie Parker.”

Now she had my complete attention.

Grace is the youngest child of my mother’s older sister. Our mothers and the rest of their family lived in Shawnee, Oklahoma from about 1928-1931 when mother was a tiny tot. Aunt Mary was 10 years older so she would have been entering her teens.

The way Aunt Mary told the story, there was a lady who lived nearby in Shawnee and who my aunt liked to visit. One day my aunt went to see her friend and was surprised to be rebuffed. The lady looked a little nervous and told Aunt Mary that she couldn’t invite her in – that she had company. About that time, a younger woman came to the door, spoke briefly with my aunt and excused her.

The next time my aunt went calling, the neighbor lady explained that she had not been able to invite her in because of her daughter’s visit -- -- and that her daughter was Bonnie Parker of Bonnie & Clyde notoriety. The lady appeared to be afraid of her daughter – or maybe of people finding out who they were.

It’s a fascinating story. Falling back on my reporter training, I wanted to substantiate that Emma Parker had lived in Shawnee, but I was unable to. Bonnie met Clyde (not to be confused with when Harry met Sally) in 1930 when Bonnie was living with her mother in the west Dallas community called Cement City. When Bonnie & Clyde were killed in 1934, Emma Parker was notified at her Cement City home.

Shortly after the Romeo & Juliet of crime met, Clyde was sent to jail and broke out with a gun that Bonnie had smuggled in. I didn’t determine where he was jailed, so perhaps being out of state was related to that and would have been in the right time frame. If the Shawneee event occurred in ’31 – when the crime spree had begun – the Shawnee encounter might have been related to one of the “picnics” arranged so B&C could see their families. It’s possible that Emma was there for a longer visit waiting for her daughter to arrive.

Now we have a mystery. If anybody has ideas or info, please send them this way.

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