This Thursday will be Gene Raymond’s 107th birthday. Because of that, I have a birthday letter to post, which accompanied a sweater hand made by Jeanette. Before we get to that, however, I’d like to take a moment to express my feelings on some unspoken implications that come along with this and all of the letters between them.
You see, my biggest problem with all of the did they or didn’t they malarchy is this: Why would anyone ever insist that all of these fascinating bits of evidence of the deep love between Jeanette and Gene are lies? It’s here without a shadow of a doubt- these two people WERE in love. As I’ve said before, we don’t need to pick them apart, analyze them, or add our own interpretations of what each word means. I’m continually bombarded with “this seems to support what Sharon Rich wrote 21 years ago,” when it comes to the interpretation of various film snippets or, face it, thank you notes. You know what we have? We have letters that support the marriage certificate that Jeanette Anna MacDonald and Gene Raymond signed, 78 years ago. We have mountains of evidence to support a very well researched biography that Dr. Edward Baron Turk wrote 17 years ago. There have been some things to come out recently that are sad. Jeanette’s sickness and loneliness are heartbreaking, and no one is going to deny that. The part that was not addressed, however, is that Gene Raymond worked. He didn’t simply kick around the house as a kept man, as has been spread for years. He didn’t use Jeanette for her money, and I have yet to see an apology thrown his way. Oh yes, we’ve seen one check which was cashed from a trust set up by Jeanette. What we did not see was one iota of evidence as to where that money went, which could have been anywhere. It didn’t have to be for Gene, either. Remember, Gene took charge of the care of Jeanette’s beloved Blossom for 13 years. How do we know it wasn’t for her?
In the end, we have a lot of paper that we need to take in with as much respect for Jeanette as those who knew and loved her had, in her lifetime. There is simply no earthly reason why anyone out there should be calling her a liar. That is exactly what has been done to her. In her 61 1/2 years of life, there was never an instance where one had to call Jeanette’s word into question. In fact, because of that stellar reputation, this very day, her word is the reason behind a research project aimed to help someone she barely even knew.
Stop calling Jeanette a liar. Stop calling Gene a liar. Stop denying that’s exactly what you are doing.
Happy (Almost) Birthday, Gene.
You’re the best – and I hope you’ll like my feeble effort. I made every stitch honestly!! Everyone thinks it’s excellent considering it’s my first attempt and I think so too – pardon the ego!! I hope it fits. Bob tried it on and it seemed OK on him. So – Well. Anyway, all of my love goes with it multiplied by each stitch a hundred times. And there’s a lot of stitches – I oughta know. I’m sending this off and the socks & helmet that Mrs. Smith and Van Dyke are making will come separately. I didn’t want to take a chance waiting for them and maybe miss your birth date. Hope this reaches you in time. As I said a dozen times while making it – “This oughta prove to that guy that I love him” cause I’m just not the knitting type dear!! I hope you will be with some congenial companions and believe me I am praying for your safety and happiness always. Today – the 13th I have my date with you – Dubonnet, I believe I’ll have I suppose you’ll have “Scotch & watah!”
Just now it seems a long time away till the 13th of August – this actually is July 9 – and I’ve just had your cablegram. Apparently you are not hearing from me & I’ve had only one letter from you written on June 24. I hope you received my cabled reply. We are all well, as you can judge. Bob had another leave of absence and left yesterday afternoon he is fine – his transfer to the air corps hasn’t happened yet & he is going to write to Mosely & ask him if he knows how he could effect it & to whom he could write.
Again Happy day. I hope with all my heart next year will be with me – where doesn’t really matter as long as we’re together.
I love you always.
The Little Woman
P.S. I’ll bet you really do feel older this year!