To Gene, With Love

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.

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Happy Birthday!
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!


5 thoughts on “To Gene, With Love

  1. Nothing says love like knitting a sweater, especially when you’re not the knitting type.

    As for Gene, he was in the reserves. He did many, many plays in addition to TV work. After Jeanette’s death he looked after Blossom (even sitting with her when the nurse/companion had a day off after her stroke), Grace Newell, his sister-in-law Aileen, and many others. The fact that Jeanette’s family continued to spend holidays with him, even after he remarried, speaks volumes. If he neglected or abused Jeanette, why would they continue to include him?

  2. No one, in his or her right mind, can deny that the letter in this article is a genuine love letter. Only those who CHOOSE to believe lies made up for money and fame by ONE author would refuse to see it for what it is.

    And, yes, those on the other side are certainly calling Jeanette a liar. To engage in a decades long adulterous affair as Sharon Rich claims Jeanette did IS calling her a liar, a deceiver, a woman who did not keep her word to the man she married.

    As you said, Jeanette’s reputation was above reproach. She was loved and admired as the person who brought beautiful music and movies into the lives of millions. She was the woman who worked for the cause of America during WWII. She was a loving wife, sister and daughter. It was decades after her death that her name was connected with scandal and dishonesty. She was no longer here to defend herself. I can thing of nothing more hateful and mean spirited than to scandalize a person after she or he has passed away.

    Anybody who chooses to believe the lies of one ‘author’ does not respect the memory of Jeanette MacDonald and is not worthy to be called her fan.

    Remember, those of you on the other side of this, YOU are the ones whose chose to label your side ‘sinners’ and our side ‘saints’. That was done in an effort to divide Jeanette’s fans. You HAVE succeeded in dividing us. So to the ‘sinners’, I say this: NEWSFLASH! We will defend Jeanette’s and Gene’s reputations with everything we have at our disposal. We have no intention of giving up!

    And, Happy Birthday, Mr. Raymond!

  3. So well done, Kayla. To knit a sweater as a birthday gift when you don’t even like to knit is a true labor of love. Thanks so much for this and your heartfelt comments.

  4. Not only did Gene care for Blossom, he also took care of Grace Newell, Emily, Nel Bentley Heeney (and) I’m certain that there are others that I’m not certain of (excuse my ending a phrase with a preposition) until their passings. Gene was a caring, considerate gentleman.

    • I have to chime in and say that I have found Sharon Rich book quite like a romance novel because of all the quoted dialogue. How could she have possibly found information that would derail the private moments in the lives of individuals that lived decades ago. I could understand desiring a connection between Nelson Eddy and Jeanette Macdonald because of the beauty and romance of their films but on the same vein, you can not deny the validity in every way of her marriage to Raymond. It’s fine to try to challenge history but you can not be on objective researcher by denying obvious truths.

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