Mavis Madine Pankey was born in Brookfield, Linn County, Missouri on September 30, 1909 into a prominent family whose fortunes came from hard, honest work in America's burgeoning oil business, combined with a jolly outlook on life and a dollop of robust charisma.
Before oil came along, Madine's forebears made their way in the world like everybody else in the mid-western USA. They were farmers and they were good at it. The farmhouses and graves of Pankeys, Groetekes, and Hallenbergs dot the countryside south and west of Brookfield. Until the 20th century arrived, these were people who stayed put, doing right by their families and their community, working a profitable gig and enjoying the lifestyle of breadbasket agriculture. They could also trace their lineage directly back to the sister of George Washington, which is as close to royalty as you can get in the United States of America.
Madine was a daughter of privilege. She knew it and she was perfectly comfortable with the distinction. Her jovial father referred to her as his "hothouse flower," especially after she sustained a back injury falling from her horse. She bore the aura of her father's endearment (and the injury) for the rest of her life.
Madine grew up to be a fine young woman. She behaved within the boundaries befitting the offspring of community movers and shakers and never brought shame, stress, or cause for concern to her parents.
Madine found her mate in a young man from a respectable, although less steller Brookfield family, the Decapitos. The Decapito dad worked (all the livelong day) as a conductor on the railroad. Mama Decapito was a homemaker and good enough at it to satisfy the Pankeys, although they secretly thought she was a ditz and everybody said she slipped into her pantry a couple of times a day to take a pull on some kind of liquid she kept in there.
Theodore Francis deCapito was the younger of the two Decapito children. His older sister, Olive, was a teacher at the elementary school and taught both Theodore and Madine. Theodore began courting Madine shortly before he left Brookfield to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology.