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Bonnie Elizabeth Parker was born in Rowena, Texas (south of Abilene and southwest of Dallas), the second of three children. Her father, Charles Robert Parker (1884–1914), was a bricklayer who died when Bonnie was four. Her mother, Emma (Krause) Parker (1885–1944) moved her family to her parents’ home in Cement City, an industrial suburb now known as West Dallas, where she worked as a seamstress. As an adult, Bonnie found expression writing poems such as “The Story of Suicide Sal” and “The Trail’s End” (known since as “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde”).
In her second year in high school, Parker met Roy Thornton. They dropped out of school and were married on September 25, 1926, six days before her 16th birthday. Their marriage, marked by his frequent absences and brushes with the law, was short-lived. After January 1929, their paths never crossed again; however, they never divorced, and Bonnie was wearing Thornton’s wedding ring when she died. Thornton was still in prison when he heard of her death. He commented, “I’m glad they went out like they did. It’s much better than being caught.”
In 1929, after the breakdown of her marriage, Parker lived with her mother and worked as a waitress in Dallas. One of her regular customers in the café was postal worker Ted Hinton, who was to join the Dallas Sheriff’s Department in 1932. As a posse member in 1934, he would participate in her ambush. In the diary she kept briefly early in 1929, Parker wrote of her loneliness, her impatience with life in provincial Dallas, and her love of talking pictures