I admittedly haven't written much of late about Carole Lombard and classic Hollywood on this site. It's not health-related -- aside from a weak chest, I've felt fine, and I take every precaution when going outside to protect others as well as myself. It's simply that in the world we're in right now, it's hard to garner enthusiasm to write. Yes, 2020 hit us like a ton of bricks, and it handed a few over to strike us in early 2021.
But I feel compelled to write today, the 79th anniversary of her passing. Since becoming a Lombard fan in the 1980s, this day has always been difficult for me, and the only solace I have is that I'm not alone. Carole's influence has touched millions and has lasted for generations, even though most of those still with us who had actual contact with her met in childhood. Those who worked with Lombard in some professional capacity and remain alive are but a handful today.
Last week, I mused about what Carole would think of us today, especially in light of recent events that called to mind the Depression at its nadir and the unrest millions endured without a pandemic. Part of me fears she'd be upset over what we've done to the nation she gave her life for, that we've let her down. At the same time, I remind myself Lombard was an inherent optimist, and that she showed those qualities to America during the similarly dire period of early January 1942.
"We'll pull through," she would tell us. That gives me hope.
So as we commemorate the lives of Lombard, her mother Elizabeth Peters, MGM press agent Otto Winkler and the other victims of Flight 3, we keep the faith.