Today was the Raymonds’ anniversary…

And just in case anyone was wondering, in 1963, it fell on a Sunday. Jeanette got no sleep the night before and had breakfast at 4:30AM because she was wide awake, went to church, and she and Gene host a “Barbecue for 12” at 6pm, no other details or any special ruffles and flourishes are noted. She got no sleep that night either, ate alone, took a small nap and worked out in the playroom arranging/packing music. Gene toddled off to a meeting around 6 and didn’t come home until 2:45am, drunk (“Hi”). Jeanette had a third sleepless night. He was gone again the following morning, Jeanette’s 60th birthday, where she writes “Happy Birthday alone”. Gene shows up in time for dinner and they have a “big quarrel” about the “same old thing”. No nice arrangements for her birthday. No party, no dinner out, nothing fun. And 60 is a big deal. And Jeanette LOVED birthdays. How many photos are there of her having birthday cake?? Her own? Someone else’s? Dude, if there’s a birthday to be celebrated, the MacDonald is THERE. She made a point of looking at the time all night and telling Gene it was her birthday at the stroke of midnight on one of their early dates. She loved to give birthday parties for other people—there are dozens of birthdays noted in this desk diary. Surely Gene knows that. But it doesn’t appear as though he can be bothered to give a rat’s ass about making something nice for her. But he sure can get stinking drunk the night before and ignore her all day and then fight with her.

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Nice guy. Really. He proves what a nice guy he is over and over throughout this diary.

What did you expect to find? That everything was hunky dory peachy keen and then she just mysteriously kicked the bucket at 61? Oh, well, yeah, she did have that heart thing…….

Please don’t ignore and gloss over the facts. Her last years were not happy and her husband of record did not treat her well, but he was happy to continue to ignore her and be business as usual while she wasted away to nothing. To continue to pretend otherwise is simply out of touch with reality.

Jeanette was a gorgeous bride on that day in 1937, and I’ve always thought it rather fabulous that Ginger was one of her bridesmaids, along with Fay Wray. That’s her sister Blossom as the matron of honor.

Too bad she and her party look like they’re at a funeral.

weddingday

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15 thoughts on “Today was the Raymonds’ anniversary…

  1. what a sad commentary for such a wonderful woman!!!! where was nelson at this point in her life???? did he forget such a special day for his special lady?

    • Nelson was touring with his nightclub act. He was frequently very very far away from California, but not only are there several mentions of what looks like visits with him in this diary, he would also eventually lease an apartment IN THE SAME COMPLEX AS HER (The Comstock), and Ann Eddy would know nothing about it until after his death. (Isn’t that, like, fairly telling?!??) So when he was in town, he had a home base near her. It’s just that he was home so rarely, and when he was, she came to life so vividly (this has been remarked upon by several different people) that she did her best to hide the depth of her problems from him. I do NOT let Nelson off scot-free here, but I do believe that Gene has far more responsibility, as he was a) married to her and b) living with her. His constant refrain right after her death was “I didn’t know she was so sick.” — I believe that, and I believe it was by design. I think Nelson got really scared and I think Jeanette sensed that and couldn’t bear to have him witness what was going on with her. She was seriously, seriously neglected towards the end and I just don’t think she could stand to involve him in that. It’s a very complicated situation.

  2. Some people don’t want to hear that she didn’t have a happy Hollywood ending kind of life. After all, she worked so hard to conceal it. Or did she? The smiles were at times genuine, no doubt. Her eyes always gave her away – if you are paying attention. But at the end of her life she had a lot of time on her hands to sit in solitude (alone, alone, alone) and think. When she weighed what she got out of this marriage versus what it stole from her – no wonder she didn’t sleep at night. Beautiful bride, sad bride, strange foreshadowing. It’s like they all just got a glimpse 26 years into the future! Thanks chum.

  3. Not that we didn’t know all along that Jeanette was unhappy in her marriage, if one can call it that. But to see evidence of her unhappiness in her own hand is heart-breaking. I won’t say anything else Katie, because I know how delicately you are handling this and what I want to say isn’t delicate, so for once I’ll button it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Have to ask same question as Jean – where was our darling Nels? Does not make me feel good, because I truly believe in their love of and for each other. So to think that he might have been neglectful of her hurts me. But Gene – what a louse! (Am I allowed to use this kind of language? Otherwise I can always say it in Afrikaans, but then nobody will understand how much I despise him!)

    • Here’s the reply I gave to Jean as well:

      Nelson was touring with his nightclub act. He was frequently very very far away from California, but not only are there several mentions of what looks like visits with him in this diary, he would also eventually lease an apartment IN THE SAME COMPLEX AS HER (The Comstock), and Ann Eddy would know nothing about it until after his death. (Isn’t that, like, fairly telling?!??) So when he was in town, he had a home base near her. It’s just that he was home so rarely, and when he was, she came to life so vividly (this has been remarked upon by several different people) that she did her best to hide the depth of her problems from him. I do NOT let Nelson off scot-free here, but I do believe that Gene has far more responsibility, as he was a) married to her and b) living with her. His constant refrain right after her death was “I didn’t know she was so sick.” — I believe that, and I believe it was by design. I think Nelson got really scared and I think Jeanette sensed that and couldn’t bear to have him witness what was going on with her. She was seriously, seriously neglected towards the end and I just don’t think she could stand to involve him in that. It’s a very complicated situation.

  5. If Nelson had realized how truly I’ll she was, I think he’ d have tried to have his act staged closer to Los Angeles. She was moving heaven and earth for him NOT to know, so she bears some of the fault!!

    As in all their story, there is enough blame to go around. Gene is the true — of the saga. I will always feel that had she married Nelson her life would have been much happier.

    Thnks for all you work.

    Marian

    • I agree, there is much blame to go around. I’ve come to the realization with the end of her life and the choices she made regarding Nelson and Blossom (the two people who could have done the most to help/save her)…..I don’t LIKE her choices, and they make me very sad, but I have to feel like I’m getting a better understanding of WHY she did what she did. It’s just so sad, all of it.

  6. Katie, did you notice that she wrote “105 1/2” at the bottom of the first page…is that her weight?? If so, remember how skinny she was at 110 in the movie “San Francisco”? She was literally wasting away, bless her. It’s hard to hear that she was so alone on her 60th birthday.

  7. Thanks ssfor all your comments and replies – and I agree that Jen was truly protecting the two people she loved most, Nelson and Blossom, from the truth of her situation. That is what one does, when you do not want your loved ones to worry. However, what Gene did was unforgivable, if not criminal. And what Gene and Ann (that woman) did to the legacy of Nelson and Jeanette after their passing, is an outright affront and injustice. To deny these two brilliant superstars their rightful place in the anals of history is outrageous. Outrageous. Sorry, getting carried away here…..

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