Kenneth as a Young Adult

Kenneth attended Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, from 1928-1930 with a summer session at the University oflowa, Iowa City, Johnson Co., Iowa.

1930 United States Federal Census, Des Moines, Polk Co., Iowa:
Last name:    First name:    Relation:    Sex Age: Place born:
Ferrell John M Head M 67 Iowa
Bessie Wife F 65 Iowa
Arnold Charles R Step Son M 21 Iowa
Beard Fred A. Lodger M 22 Iowa
Garrett Kenneth L. Lodger M 19 Iowa
Kenneth's Occupationlisted as a university student.
'Fred A.' is Fred Anderson Beard, Kenneth's step-uncle.
1930 United States Federal Census, St. Charles, Madison Co., Iowa:
Last name:    First name:    Relation:    Age: Sex Born:
Garrett Harley U Head 37 M Iowa
Floye L Wife 37 F Iowa
Kenneth L Son 18 M Iowa
Doyle Son 13 M Iowa
Nadine Daughter 12 F Iowa
Kenneth does not have an occupation listed.
The value of the house in St. Charles at that time was listed as $3,500.

He then worked for the Red Ball grocery stores in Des Moines. At the time, Red Ball was part of National Tea grocery store chain. At the age of 21, he was made manager of a store at 48th and Forest in Des Moines. He began working in an Easter's grocery store in 1933, lasting until July 1935. It appears from his mother Floye's diary that the store was in St. Charles and that Kenneth lived at home in St. Charles along with his parents and two siblings. (Merwin Easter was the store manager; he lived in St. Charles, too.)

During this time Kenneth dated Fay 0. Rund berg (1912-1946). During the first six months of 1935, Floye recorded that Kenneth traveled to Des Moines to see Fay at least 6 times in April and May. It appears that Fay became a nurse in Des Moines in 1934 and moved to Chicago after 1935. She was still living in Chicago in 1940.

On May 10, 1935, Kenneth was initiated into the Mason Lodge.

Floye wrote on June 15, 1935, "Kenny quit store to go to school. Hope it's a wise choice."The school was Coyne Electrical School in Chicago, Illinois, which provided technical training. Kenneth completed training by September 13th, graduating with a 93 average. He began working for Allied Radio Corporation in Chicago, receiving several promotions over the next several years.

Kenneth L. Garrett, possibly about 1935

Kenneth L. Garrett, possibly about 1935

Kenneth traveled home to St. Charles several times per year while living in Chicago. He traveled by train to St. Charles that had several trains from Des Moines stopping by each day. When home between 1936 and 193 7, Kenneth dated Catherine L. Ramey ( 1914-   ). Catherine's occupation was listed as a file clerk in the 1940 census and was living in Des Moines.

In June 1936, Floye wrote, "Long letter from Kenny, which was answered, but I wished for the wisdom of Solomon to advise him." What the circumstances were that caused Floye to wish for wisdom are not known, but it was an unusual statement for her to make and not in keeping with the usual bland comments that characterized her diary entries.

His father Harley wrote the following letter to Kenneth. It was found it among some papers after my mother died in 1996. It is undated, but was written while Harley was still a veterinarian living in St. Charles, Iowa. From its tone, I think it must have been written after June 1935 when Kenneth left for Chicago to attend an electrical school.

Kenny-
    Am enclosing this small bill not that I cannot and will not give you more at anytime, (and by the way I want you to feel free to call on me at any time if you run short or just write a check on me) but the main object of thisnote is not to give you a lot of advise [sic] (I do not feel the need to do that), but I do ask you not to forget your mother, write her often once or twice a week, she will more than appreciate it and you owe her that much.  This ten will buy a few stamps.
    I am sure you will make good, but wether you do or not you are always welcome at home.
        As ever
        Dad

In February 1937, Kenneth's brother Doyle got a job with American Airlines in Chicago, Illinois, though by December he had been transferred to the West Coast.

(Doyle E. Garrett recollection written years later--Kenny and I and two other fellows lived in an apartment in Chicago. Kenny was dating a nurse from a nearby hospital. He came from one date and threw his scarf over the picture of this girl and said, "That's it!" Later he was dating Marian, and he came home one night laughing. He said that he told Marian that she was "cute", and Marian said, "I know it." I think my brother fell in love that night.)

In March 1938, Floye recorded that Kenneth had a 1932 Chevrolet Coupe. Several months later Floye' s diary recorded the following, "Letter from Kenny. Has the little bug bit him??" Floye wrote on that page of her diary on August 1, 1963, "The bug did bite - such a lovely daughter Kenneth gave us." Harley and Floye traveled to Chicago in May 1938 and Marian is mentioned by name for the first time, "In the evening took us out and got Marian. She seems a very sweet girl."

Kenneth and Marian Elizabeth Kreie were introduced to each other in Chicago on a blind date arranged by Ann and 'Bing' Miller. Bing Miller was in electronics and so was Kenneth at the time. Bing's wife Ann was a nurse and was acquainted with Marian.  Thus, Kenneth and Marian began dating.

Kenneth returned to St. Charles for about 2 weeks in July 1938. Floye wrote that Fay Rundberg and Stella Wickett stopped by, commenting, "Fay is a lovely girl." Catherine Ramey also wrote to Floye asking for Kenneth's address.

During this same visit home, Kenneth and his parents were invited to dinner and to spend the by Rose and Merwin Easter. Floye wrote, "Of course their guest of honor was Kenny - pa and ma were invited as bait." Whether this was because of a future job offer or the presence of a young woman is not known. Rose and Merwin were married and were only 33 at the time. Later, Kenneth was offered, in fact, a position as manager of new Easter's grocery store to be opened in Lorimor, Union Co., Iowa. He moved back to Iowa and assumed the managerial position in November 1938.

On April 30th, 1939, Marian is first mentioned in that year in Floye' s diary. She was in St. Charles for several days at that time. Floye wrote, "She is a very 'swellish' girl." Marian arrived from Wisconsin without fanfare on August 2ih, and Floye reported that they all went to the State Fair. Three days later Floye and Marian went to Des Moines where Floye bought her a stove and a floor lamp. This was the first entry in her diary that suggested something more than just a visit was occurring. Floye had written nothing about an engagement or an upcoming marriage date in her previous diary entries in 1939.

Originally Easter's store, beginning November 1938 Became Criss' store about 1958 Picture from November 1993 Building was later demolished.

Originally Easter's store, beginning November 1938
Became Criss' store about 1958
Picture from November 1993
Building was later demolished.