Spoilers

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Honoring Doug -- If I had gone to Los Angeles ...

The trip had been planned for months but it wasn't until this last week when we started really nailing down the details of where and who and when.

"What day are we going to see Doug?" my civil engineer hubby of many, many years -- by the way - his name is Larry. My civil engineer hubby of many, many years, his name is Larry. So, what I should have said here was: "What day are we going to see Doug?" Larry asked me.


He didn't ask me if or should or any other word. He asked me when. When we go to LA, we got to Hollywood and to Hollywood Forever Memorial park. Period.

When I got sick last spring and spent time in the hospital one of the officials wanted to argue this practice with me:word. He asked when. Me, going down to Hollywood to take flowers Douglas Fairbanks, Jr's grave is a given. We go to LA, we go to Hollywood, we go to Hollywood Forever and we place a bouquet on Doug's grave -- always the same bouquet so he always knows it's from me: three white carnations and three purple iris'.

"You spend all this time and money to go visit a guy who you never knew, who never knew you, who you will never have a chance to know and who has no idea that you do this for him, and you think this is a good waste of your time
?"

Really? You want to talk after life? For all you know he standing right there thinking "Wow, Jax is back, thank you ..." Or not. I don't think I am actually in a position to make that call on philosophy and life after death, but if you called Ab Lincoln your hero and took him flowers would anyone give you grief?

I like Doug. And yes, you will notice I am on a first name basis with him rather than other people who appear on this site, even though Doug and I have never been properly introduced. I first became aware of him when I was fifteen and saw "Gunga Din" for the first time at 2:00am when I was home alone. I became reacquainted with him a few years ago when I was watching "Gunga Din" cuz I love Cary Grant.

Doug's IMDB page blew me away. This was an actor, right?

Not exactly. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, son of silent film great, Douglas Fairbanks, was an actor, but he was also a sculptor, an artist, a published writer. He spoke a multitude of languages, was very active in politics, going as far as to serve as Special Anvoy to Brasil, appoint by FDR himself. Raised by his mom in Paris, London and New York, he gave up his career in Hollywood during WWII to serve in the Navy, ranking fairly high on the ship he was on. He helped developed a program called "Beach Jumpers" that is still used today in some branches of the military. Though married briefly to Joan Crawford, he was with the love of his life, Mary Lee, until she died. They were together over forty years. He knew Winston Churchill, the Royal Family, presidents of the US, and, of course Hollywood ... and he reached out to all of them, helping where he could. I read both his autobiographies and enjoyed every word. When he died in 2000, the announcement took up the whole front of the London Times and flags in England were flown half mast.

He was an extremely accomplished and amazing man, and when I got sick last year it was his two books sitting on my nightstand that sometimes were the source of me thinking "Well, if Doug can do it, I can get up, too." He got me to school when I didn't think I could go. I typed when I thought it would be too much ... always thinking that this man did so much with the years he was given, I want to do that, too.

So yes, I do call him by his first name and I do take him flowers whenever I am in town and I always like to say thanks to him when no one is looking!! :) If he is standing around thinking how nicel it is to get flowers again, cool. If not, who did it hurt regardless of what some official in a hospital might think. Makes me feel good. :)

These photos, which I would have retaken this coming weekend, these were taken two visits ago in April 2009. Bottom photo of me, one of most popular I use in work? No one has ever realized I am actually sitting on a grave in it ... now you know ... :)

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