From the unpublished autobiograpy of James McNitt, 1992
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|James McNitt's text||Bill McNitt's annotations|
|Back with Peggy at her parents' house, I found our reactions strained and unnatural. There seemed to be nothing left of what once had existed. I had gone back thinking that perhaps we could pick up the pieces, but when she asked me that night if I thought it would work out, I had to say honestly that I didn't believe so. She agreed to a quiet, uncontested divorce. It was not until this agreement that I admitted under questioning that there was someone else. I was to learn later that she had been seeing other men, but by then it didn't really matter.|
The next day I moved back with the aunts. They had never cared much for
Peggy, but had taken pains not to make an issue of it. That afternoon I
wrote and posted a letter to Lilian, apprising her of the situation, and
asking her to marry me. By return mail she accepted. Now began the long
Dad writing a letter at 107 Logan SE, Grand Rapids
Cecile made an appointment with the law firm for which she worked, and they
worked out the details of the divorce. Since it was uncontested, and there
were no children, it was a simple matter. I had to get on the witness stand
in court, answer a few leading questions, and it was over.
Divorce decree - images above or PDF version
|Cecile was his brother Glenn's wife.
The divorce decree was signed on June 7, 1946.
|I went back to work at my old job. A married lady was let go, and Marshall Pettie transferred to another job. I once said kiddingly that it had taken two people to replace me, and Marsh had answered huffily that there was a lot more work. They had had to deal with ration coupons, admittedly.|
|Lilian made initial application for admittance to the United States, and found there was a good deal of red tape involved. For one thing, she had to get an affidavit from me that she would not become a public charge. She had to qualify under the British quota, but this presented no problem, as it was never filled.|
Before she left Paris to return home, she took a trip with a friend named
Margaret to the south of France as well as Monaco.
When she found that it was going to take months to make arrangements, she
took a job at Taskers of
Andover, a large factory.
Lilian Harvey (known as Ethel in England) with her family in April 1947, just before she left for the United States:
|The original idea was that we would stay with the aunts temporarily after her arrival. I had bought a maple bedroom outfit for their downstairs bedroom. In the meantime, Texaco had bought out the Muskegon Petroleum Company, a Texaco distributor. They had opened a waterfront terminal in Holland with the idea of delivering to all outlets within a 75-mile area. They asked me to move to Muskegon to handle the closing of the small distributor plant there and the setup for direct delivery.||This bedroom set remained at 107 Logan Street until the house was sold in the 1960s. We then moved it to our house in Holland, where my sister Pat used it. When my parents sold that house, Marilyn and I moved the bedroom set to our home in Ann Arbor and it became Sarah's. It has accompanied her to Oxford, Ohio and Iowa City, Iowa, and now (2017) is in the guest room of her home near Ypsilanti, Michigan.|
|All the employees of the Muskegon Petroleum Company came over to Texaco on the deal, John Stevens as area manager from his former position of president; John Kingshott as warehouseman, the Scharmer brothers, Al and Pep, and a younger driver, Bill Bradford. Larger gasoline storage was being installed at the service stations in preparation for direct delivery from Holland. In the meantime, we had to continue deliveries to all existing accounts, as well as oil deliveries to industrial accounts such as Continental Motors. Business methods of distributors are sometimes at variance with those of a large corporation, and I had to be diplomatic with these people, particularly with John Stevens. It was understood that John intended to resign after a year to take on a distributorship wherever available.|
|I moved to the downtown Y.M.C.A. in Muskegon and started looking around for a place to rent. While eating one evening at the cafeteria across from the Y, I struck up a conversation with a girl whose British accent I noted. It would develop into a lifelong friendship between us and Lettie Pierce and her husband, Glenn.||The Y.M.C.A. was located at 297 Clay Street (the corner of West Clay and Second streets).|
|In the meantime I had sent Lilian an engagement ring, buried in the center of a fruit cake in a package of foodstuffs. It seemed on reflection a crazy thing to do, but the ring arrived all right.|
I had never learned to drive, so now Bill Bradford undertook the job. In the company pickup truck I gradually picked up the mechanics of driving. To qualify for a license, I drove a policeman from the bulk plant to the police station and parked the car.
Dad getting into a car at the Texaco plant in Muskegon