I received a Christmas card in the mail today for my father-in-law and forwarded from his address. The writing on the envelope was shaky, much like Mac’s had become in the year or two before his death. My heart sank as I realized this was probably from an old friend who didn’t know that he died. It turns out it wasn’t just from any old friend, but from the couple who introduced my in-laws back in 1955. Mac and Joe were both on the Kearsarge at the time, and Joe had been put on restriction because he was late getting back from his wedding. So Mac told Joe if Millie would take the bus down to San Diego from L.A., he’d pick her up and bring her to the ship. When she came, she brought a friend named Frances, and Joe asked Mac to entertain Fran so he and his new wife could have some time alone. The rest was history.
I wouldn’t have known any of this had I not started reading the letters Mac & Fran wrote to each other (and to his mother). Tomorrow, I must write to Joe and Millie and be the bearer of the bad news. I’m sure they were wondering why they didn’t get their yearly Christmas card from Mac, and may even have tried to call. If so, the disconnected number would have made their hearts sink. I’m thinking of sending them a copy of the DVDs of Mac’s footage while he served on the Kearsarge. Joe would love to see it, and in all likelihood he is probably on some of the video footage. Perhaps it would make the news easier to bear somehow….