After the reception the newlyweds left for their
new two-bedroom house in Van Nuys on Dixie Canyon near Ventura Boulevard.
The house cost $4,500 for which ERB made the down payment as a wedding
present. An additional wedding present was a contract for Jim to make the
next Tarzan picture (unfortunately Jim, who had put on a considerable amount
of weight, was later forced out of the deal by some Hollywood legal wrangling).
They furnished their home in a Spanish motif and household items not given
as presents by Ed and Emma were purchased on the installment plan. A few
days after the wedding they left on their honeymoon to Indiana.
The trip to Jim's hometown of Shelbyville, Indiana took
about ten days as it was plagued by constant car problems. They eventually
phoned Jim's dad from St. Louis saying that they would arrive in Shelbyville
late at night. Jim's dad and mom were so anxious to see the newlyweds that
they drove out to meet them before they arrived. That first night in Jim's
family home was a memorable one as the old-fashioned four-poster bed collapsed,
waking up the whole household -- a humorous event that entered the family
lore of the Pierce family.
They stayed a week visiting family and old friends and
haunts. They even visited the little town of Freedom where Jim was born
and the rustic old grocery store where Jim had worked as a kid for a dime
a day. Joan learned that in this little town where everyone had a nickname,
Jim was called "Hikey Dike," a name he had earned at age four after being
totally fascinated by a wild Borneo jungle-man character with that name
who had appeared in a travelling wagon show.
Jim's grandfather, Perry Commodore McIntosh, was pleased
to find that the newest member of the Pierce family was a rapt listener
to his often-told tales of pioneer days and the Civil War. Joan in return
let it be known that her grandfather, Major
George Tyler Burroughs, had served as an officer in that war and that
her grandmother, Mary Evaline, had disguised herself as a man and went
to war alongside her husband. (Memoirs
of a War Bride).
The next stops on the honeymoon trip were Chicago and
Coldwater, Michigan, where Joan introduced her husband to her relatives.
This proved to be a somewhat formidable task as many of the offspring of
Ed's four brothers and Emma's four sisters were widely scattered around
the area. They had a restful stay at Coldwater where Joan's grandmother
lived on a farm with her daughter Jessie. After relaxing days of golf,
fishing and swimming they started the return trip to California. The long
honeymoon trip was a great opportunity for the newlyweds to gain insight
into each other's dispositions and personalities and to plan for the great
adventure that lay before them.
Following their return to California, Joan took on the
role of housewife, while Jim made a decent living working in poverty row
Westerns and serials and eventually worked his way into more prestigious
films such as DeMille's
Cleopatra, the Marx Brothers' Horse Feathers
and a Buster Keaton comedy. On Christmas Eve, 1929, at Hollywood Hospital,
Joan gave birth to a daughter -- blonde-haired, blue-eyed little Joan (later
they changed the spelling to Joanne to avoid confusion). The proud grandfather
dedicated his next book (Tanar
of Pellucidar) to her: "To
Joan Burroughs Pierce II."