As we wrap up our Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy year, we remember 3 of our longtime friends that we lost in 2013. (Pictured above are, from left to right, Harold Monroe, Laura Ward, Sharon Rich and Betty Monroe.)
Christine Souter was a Mac/Eddy Club member from the earliest years…a devout Nelson fan who accepted the Nelson-Jeanette romance but questioned Nelson’s activities in the later years wondering, as we all have, how it fit into the big picture. Obviously, we will never understand it all – but our driving force to try and learn everything possible has been helped tremendously with friends like Christine. Over the years, she shared much data with me, answered any questions she could, was caring and appreciative. Here’s a quote from one of her emails to me that I saved:
Sharon, I was so happy to see the journals in the mailbox today. They are gorgeous and all 3 at once are a bit overwhelming–but I love the feeling:) It’s been worth the wait. I realize it’s been tragic and stressful for you. Hopefully, with the good news about Jake, you’re due for some happy days and down time–I’ll bet you wish:)
Anyway, just wanted you to know how pleased I am with so many beautiful photos to sigh over and articles to read.
Thanks for all you do to keep us eager and interested. Take care, Christine Souter
Here’s a tribute written by Bern Schwartz, who runs our Yahoo Group:
i first met Christine Souter on a Jeanette and Nelson group in 2003- she was articulate and informative and had a delicious sense of humor- in 2004 at the request of sharon i started a yahoo maceddy group and she was one of the first members to join. she had been a nelson fan for many years before that and never shrank from sharing her great information with all who would ask.. whenever a new member would arrive and of course ask questions- she would be the first to answer -with a great knowledge of nelson and Jeanette-we did not always agree on conversations but were always friends..she made you think…i found her funny and full of spark that belied her years-and always straightforward…she was originally from Alabama as a child and then lived in millbrae ca. for most of her life. she had 2 children and two beautiful granddaughters and her cats and the squirrel too! after searching the archives of the yahoo group i was amazed at how often she had responded with detailed information of events.she will be missed by everyone but as a dear friend of hers has stated: “god now has an angel with attitude.” she loved nelson and gene autry and especially classic Hollywood and Steve Cochran- her interests were so varied but to me she was a friend and was also very kind …we all on the group who knew her these many years will miss her very much..b
Betty Monroe and her husband Harold were for many years a stable presence at our Los Angeles meetings. They had been members, like Christine Souter, from the very first. Harold has always been a jokester while Betty was a sweet, motherly woman who, like a gracious hostess, greeted everyone at the meetings with a smile and a hug. Then out of the blue, they didn’t show up for a club event. When I called afterwards to find out what had happened, Harold informed me that Alzheimers had very unexpectedly and swiftly robbed Betty of her memories.
Sometime later, I went to their home and visited…though she didn’t know me and didn’t speak, Betty was still her sweet, gentle self, smiling at me, surrounded with her Jeanette and Nelson treasures. I have since visited Harold since Betty’s passing and though he’s been through a very rough time, he welcomed me with some quips and jokes.
Marjorie Hadlock was the woman who set up the famous Lake Tahoe tour that is discussed in Journal #60. She also can be seen addressing the group on our Lake Tahoe YouTube video. This was an amazing feat to pull off – not only all the research necessary to find all the locations used in Rose Marie, but to arrange for special tours and knowledgeable guides and locals from the time (including the then-teen whose pet deer was used to frighten Jeanette in one scene). Marjorie also was amazingly able to include fans from all groups and managed (for the most part) to keep the peace even when discussing the then-local hangout where Jeanette and Nelson went dancing together.
To the families of the 3 people mentioned above – we send our condolences and best wishes for the coming year. From personal experience I can say that it’s very tough to move on…but the love and understanding of friends helps tremendously…our Jeanette and Nelson group has brought tremendous comfort in times of need…has created friendships among people who might never have known each other…thank goodness we have each other!
Those of you who would like to add your own tributes, please write a “comment” to this post.