In 1940, Rex and Renée married in a modest ceremony in Carmel, California. Both of their parents were dubious about the union. Renée’s parents were unsure of the young painter’s bohemian nature and interests, and Rex’s parents were intimidated by Renee’s appearance of worldliness.

As Rex’s father went into his retirement age, he began carving sculptures from pieces of wood he’d found on the beaches near Seattle or in the high desert. Jesse never let up on his advice to his son to always have a commercial angle and lookout for opportunities to make money. In fact, the extent of Jesse’s support for Rex’s art, consisted of a note: "exploit this!" scribbled across a newspaper clipping detailing one of Rex’s recent awards for his work. Despite this hard bitten attitude towards such frivolity, Jesse himself produced dozens of wood sculptures in his basement shop which he entered them into local art competitions, often winning prizes from the provincial juries.

Renée’s father, Leo, a self-made Kentuckian who was also a product of farm life, was fiercely protective of his only child, indulging whatever her whims might be, as long as she stayed close to home.

After the wedding in Carmel, Rex and Renée had a brief honeymoon on the Monterey Peninsula town of Pacific Grove. Seated on the rocks at Point Lobos, Rex painted watercolors of the sea. He began a lifelong love of painting bodies of water and their environs.

Rex and Renée first settled on Euclid Avenue in Berkeley, California, in a small house that had been divided into units. The streetcar ran by their house, and Rex took it to his job at Breuner’s Furniture Store most weekdays. He had been hired to design advertising and arrange the show windows for the downtown Oakland store.

Among the neighbors encountered by the young couple, was a pair of “gentlemen” a Mr. Tupper and a Mr. Reed, who ran a music store in downtown Berkeley. This “rather colorful” couple had cats named "Get Off The Table!" and "You, too!". Rex and Renée were pleased and amused to mingle with them and other members of what constituted the more arty and literary set for Berkeley at the time.

Another of this ilk was Samuel Hume who had a bookstore in down town Berkeley, and a home in the hills where few people lived at the time. His wife, Portia, was a psychiatrist who was the head of the mental health bureaucracy for the State of California. The other inhabitants of the neighborhood known as "Nut Hill" were often similarly bohemian for the era. The Hume home was a copy of two French medieval cloisters, right down to the clerestory windows, stairs without banister and interior doorways without doors. The cloister featured a fountain and an herb garden and an Irish Wolfhound.

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