The House on Hammond Drive: Chapters Two and Three

Chapter Two

Their courtship was short-lived, but in a good way. They seemed perfect for each other, both sets of parents approved, Phillip finished his residency in May and had already secured a lucrative contract with Hermann Hospital. All agreed it was time for this handsome bachelor and his beautiful debutante girlfriend to marry.

The wedding was celebrated at the First Methodist Church on Main Street in June of 1950. It was, of course, what many would say was a veritable who’s-who of Houston society. Their fathers’ connections with the oil and real estate industries along with Phillip’s recent connection with Houston’s rapidly growing medical community ensured that. Emma was quite literally breathtaking as she appeared on the arm of her father at the massive double doors that opened to the aisle that would lead her to become the wife of the man she thought was the love of her life. Phillip, looking confident and handsome in his dark grey morning suit, his eyes focused on Emma. Her Christian Dior dress, requiring twenty-three yards of pearl-white satin, accented her narrow waistline with its full, princess-style skirt and three-foot long train. The bodice, embellished with imported French lace, was off-the shoulder, and accented with seed pearls and Swarovski crystals. She wore her hair elegantly in a simple French twist, which accommodated the tiara from which her cathedral-length veil gracefully draped. One-carat diamond teardrop earrings and a matching necklace, gifts from her grandmother, completed her wedding ensemble. Emma took a deep breath as the seven-thousand pipe Aeolian-Skinner organ signaled her entrance into the sanctuary with the first chords of “Canon in D.”

The reception, held in The Rice Hotel’s recently air-conditioned Crystal Ballroom, reflected the station of their parents in Houston society. A sit-down dinner for seven-hundred followed by cocktails and dancing well into the evening was the topic of The Post’s and The Chronicle’s society section on Sunday.

“Happy?” Phillip inquired during a rare moment the two had alone on the same balcony from which both Presidents Harrison and Taft had addressed their public.
“Desperately so, Darling. Desperately so,” Emma answered.

Chapter Three

On Monday morning Emma and Phillip boarded a Pan Am flight at Howard Hughes Airport for New York City, where they would embark on a four-week long Mediterranean cruise aboard the Cunard Line’s Caronia. They both had every expectation, and with good reason, that they would live a long and most fortunate life together. Emma Richmond Andrews was the kind of wife any prosperous, handsome, respected man could hope for and he was sure she would make him proud in every way. Phillip represented the same for Emma.

The Caronia, or the “Green Goddess,” so designated because of her distinctive pale green color, was christened in 1947 by then Princess Elizabeth II and was dwarfed only by the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary. She boasted all of the most luxurious amenities of the day, an outdoor swimming pool, en-suite baths in each stateroom, and seven air-conditioned salons, including a smoking salon, a writing salon, and a library.

Their first stop was Madeira, where they rode a basket sled with greased runners through the streets of town. From there it was on to Tangiers, where the Moorish architecture astonished them – so different it was from the Houston skyline. They dined on fresh seafood caught by Majorcan fishermen and rode in a surrey in Malta. In Egypt they rode camels and climbed into the pyramid of Giza to see the pharaoh’s tomb. They visited Israel and Jordan, Turkey and Romania. They toured the Livadia Palace in Yalta, where Allied leaders met to discuss Europe’s post-war reorganization in 1945. From there it was on to Athens, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast. It was the kind of honeymoon most couples only dream of.  But honeymoons are short-lived, and life doesn’t usually turn out the way we expect it to turn out.

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