The January 16th entry at Carole & Co. invariably is most difficult for me to write. Not directly for personal reasons -- Carole Lombard left this earth in 1942, more than 13 1/2 years before I arrived -- but what can I write to commemorate this tragedy, one with long-lasting effects upon millions, without repeating myself?
This marks the 11th time I've written such an entry, and over the past year I've truly come to appreciate the community of Carole fandom. Compared to those for other film legends (and one really shouldn't; among those who love classic Hollywood and its many personalities, there is no exclusivity), it may not be all that large, but it's loyal with love for Lombard, deep and genuine.
The photo above shows Carole at the Claypool Hotel in Indianapolis on Jan. 15, 1942. I'm not certain what part of the day it was taken, but she looks tired, presumably after a whirlwind of activity, with more yet to come. (At least one person noted it may have given us a glimpse of what Lombard might've looked like had she aged.) It may have been after the war bond rally at the Indiana state capitol:
That bottom photo, enlarged, shows some of the jewelry Lombard had on that day:
Nearly 50 years later, that ring she's shown wearing was found on Mount Potosi:
Another jewelry gem of hers, a ruby, also was found, although what it was encased in was destroyed in the wreckage:
Another item was this war bond token, from the Department of the Treasury (on Jan. 14, Lombard met Treasury officials in Chicago and was given instructions):
I would hope these artifacts eventually are bequeathed to a museum as ways of remembering Lombard's legacy.
Finally, this piece, from the April 1942 issue of Hollywood magazine, an article I'd never seen until recently. Lombard's many good deeds were well known to the entertainment community, though she never publicized them herself. After her passing, numerous stories about them reached print, including this collection of anecdotes.
Carole hardly was a saint -- something she'd readily admit -- but she was a genuinely nice, good person whose charity touched many. She remains an inspiration, not merely for her work as an actress, but for what she was as a human being. And that's why she's still remembered, and loved.