Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #247

1 Comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #247

…Mary Pickford has made the drive up to San Francisco to meet Judith, after having accepted an invitation to fly on the one of the first transpacific flights, eventually bound for Hong Kong…

Meanwhile Caption-001

“Oh how I wish I were your age again, Mary Pickford.” Judith Eastman reflects backward to when she was forty years old, though as regrets go, she has little reason to complain. It has been three years since she lost her partner of more than a quarter of this century. Even in his absence, she is grateful for the time she had with him and regrets not meeting him earlier in her life, yet in was not nearly long enough.

Those 26 years seemed to fly by, likely hastened by the frenetic pace of publishing a national monthly, the P-E Journal. Sure, they could have delegated more of the responsibility to very capable people, but that would have blotted out some of the greatest experiences two people could ever hope to share. She was not quite Mary’s age when Harv Pearson turned her world upside down. “My brother, God bless his soul, kept making the camera smaller, but today it seems ever heavier without the love of my life.”

Just then, one by one, the four – 1600 horsepower engines of the Pacific Clipper begin to roar, china_clipper
drowning out any words of encouragement the recently retired actress tried to give. She was going to tell Judith how young she looks and acts and how she hopes she can age as gracefully, without the Hollywood trend of plastic surgery. That is why when she reached forty, she turned her attention entirely to United Artists and her equally retired husband, the still dashing Douglas Fairbanks.

Pickford has made the drive up to San Francisco to meet Judith, after having accepted an invitation to fly on the one of the first transpacific flights, eventually bound for Hong Kong. The British crown colony has become truly an international trading center, as well as the cultural capital of the orient, and is on many’s must-see list.

“I am so glad that you invited me, Jude. I haven’t had a holiday for years. It seems every time Doug and I schedule a trip, some producer comes up with a film that will be the one. This time it is something titled, Mutiny on the Bounty.”

 “Is that gorgeous husband of yours in it?” Judith has known Fairbanks since he and Mary married in 1920, secretly fantasizing that he would swashbuckle her someday. She allowed herself that frill, mainly because she knew that this was a harmless dream about her best friend’s mate, who happens to look good flashing his pirate-parts. (hee-hee)


Alpha Omega M.D.

BOOK PIC CLIPPER 001

Episode #247


page 232

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #235

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #235

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

From the Ashes

          …Fifteen years. 5475 days. A lot can happen in that span of time and it has. In present day 1935, lives have changed…

Time Marches On-001

  Judith Eastman, for one, has lost both her husband and brother in the same year, of the same disease. At age 72 she has lived a rich and fulfilling life, but do not think for a moment that that matters now. She would gladly trade all that personal gratification for the companionship she now is lacking.

 The Great Depression took its toll on everyone, even those like the Pearson-Eastman’s who were financially immune to bankruptcy.

George Eastman, a man of much wealth and benevolence, lived his last years with a broken heart, so did he mourn for the ruined majority around him. During the Roaring Twenties he gave away more than $70 million to his favorite educational institutions. How was he to know, that would only be enough money to help the worse-off of the worse? He did what he could, right up until his 78 year old heart did truly break.

Harv Pearson had to see all those crushed spirits and forlorn faces twice. Having to see them in person, day after day, is difficult enough. Inserting Judith’s pictures of some of those very same into their magazine, would break his heart as well. He had survived a hurricane, dodged submarines and bullets, but could not, in the end, defeat a human condition in despair.

The Pearson-Eastman Journal, whose gripping photographs and human-interest stories became a monthly fixture in a million American households in 1901, will have life as long as Judith Eastman draws a breath.


Alpha Omega M.D.

1920 to 1935-001

Episode #235


page 220

 

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #219

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #219

…George Eastman, the inventor of the Kodak camera, a captain of  industry, reduces himself to nursemaid, helping his brother-in-law cling to life…

captains of industry

 “That damned flu hit him from out of nowhere. I found him in bed, after the magazine called me wondering if I had seen him,”  George Eastman recalls the events.

  “And I was across the country, oh what kind of wife can I be!?” She is distraught. “Why didn’t he let us know he was coming home? I would not have gone away in the first place.”

 “He is upstairs. The hospitals are full. Here, put this on, we don’t need anyone else sick.” He hands her a mask.

 “Is it that bad? I mean if the hospitals are full, that would be thousands.”

“Didn’t you read the papers in California?” George asks like she came from another planet.

“No, had no time, just heard talk of us winning some big battles in Europe.”

11,000 are dead in Philadelphia alone.”

 She hangs her head. “That is why the streets are deserted isn’t it?”

“People are afraid to talk to anybody. And poor Harv, he was shaken badly when he came home, only ten men survived on the Navy ship he crossed the ocean in. He was putting together a story when it got him.”

“Oh, my God – I want to see him,” she rushes to his side.

“You may not recognize him, lost a lot of weight, and he sleeps all day, it’s all I can do to get him to take in fluids, but I think he’s getting a little better.” George Eastman, the inventor of the Kodak camera, a captain of the photographic industry, reduces himself to nursemaid, helping his brother-in-law cling to life. “The good news is that he has made it past the first day. Most people who die go fast, mostly younger too.”

“He’s got a strong heart… oh, Harv I am so sorry I wasn’t here for you, can you ever forgive me?” She kneels beside their bed, sobbing, not expecting an answer.

“Do you think I would die without being able to ask my partner why she abandoned our magazine, to be a movie star no less?” Harv Pearson’s speech is slow, but lucid.

“I can’t hug you, you rascal, but when I can, look out.” She looks back at George, mouthing a hearty, ‘thank you’.

MeanwhileThe Spanish influenza leaves as quickly as it had struck, erasing thirty million lives along the way, in time to allow dancing in the streets when the Armistice is signed and the Great War ends on November 11th.

  The balance of power has shifted… for now.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Colorized photo shows the German delegation, as they arrive to sign the Armistice provisionally ending World War One, in a train dining car outside Compiegne, France. (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty)

Episode #219


page 204 (end ch. 11)

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #218

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #218

…Upon leaving Orange County California Judith is faced with one big uphill named the Rocky Mountains; sea level to fifteen thousand feet in a matter of 200 miles…

Rocky Mountain Railroad Excursion by Howard Fogg

The three day return trip is doubly melancholy for Judith Eastman; she leaves something behind and she doesn’t know what to expect when she gets home, having been gone over three weeks. She stares blankly out her window during the day, tosses and turns in her Pullman at night. Reality has indeed settled in.

If she were in a taxicab, she could tell the driver to step on it, but a train has its own plodding pace, 60 mph, downhill, full throttle. And sure as there is a downhill, there is an uphill to match. Upon leaving Orange County California you discover one big uphill named the Rocky Mountains; sea level to fifteen thousand feet in a matter of 200 miles. At the highest elevations, snow has taken over the mountain peaks, very pretty indeed, but two months from now, passage over the mountains is touch and go. Even a thousand horsepower has trouble with four feet of fresh fallen snow.

But once you have passed the Nevada Territory, the leeward deserts and wasteland, the locomotive is faced with a thousand miles of seemingly level terrain. Of course the quality of sight-seeing goes downhill with the land, with nothing but endless waves of windblown prairie grasses. Throw in the occasional bison and a rodent hunting hawk for every acre, you have the American heartland in a nutshell.

Judith just stares past it all, homesick and alone.

Rocky Mountain Steam Train by Max Jacquiard

What she finds at home will not comfort her.

“Harv is very sick,” tells brother, George Eastman, wearing a surgeon’s mask who greets her along with her old dog.

“Hello, Frisky,” she acknowledges her faithful pet. “Sick? Where? Paris?”

“No, he came home four days after you left, seemed fine and sorely happy to be back, even worked at the office for a couple of weeks.” George gathers the courage he will need. “Then that damned flu hit him from out of nowhere. I found him in bed, after the magazine called me wondering if I had seen him.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #218


page 203

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #217

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #217

…“No, I’m afraid I must return to the real world,” tells Judith Eastman…

Variety Pickford-001

 “Bravo! What a scene!” Mary cannot contain herself. “Oh, I wish there were a way to record that scene with every little sound, all that raw emotion.”

The movie’s director is almost in tears, of the joyful variety. He has witnessed Judith’s steady improvement, the way she has started to use body language and that face; able to express a full compliment of moods.

Her final scene even impresses the not easily impressible Harry Langdon.  His last words to her, “I will work with you any time”, are different from his first, “I will not work with an untrained, unknown East Coast frump.” He lied about the frump part, eating those words faster than he can chew.

“Thank you all. I really enjoyed the experience and I am going to miss you. My magazine work will surely now seem boring.”

“You are going to stay until we are done shooting aren’t you?” Mary half asks half urges.

“No, I’m afraid I must return to the real world. I am surprised I was able to concentrate with my husband on the other side of the world.”

“My people will arrange for your return train, and I’ll instruct payroll to cut you a check for your performance.” Businesswoman Pickford takes control. “And please promise me that if I have a role tailor-made for you, that you will answer my call.”

“I cannot promise you absolutely, but I will do almost anything for a friend.”

The pair embraces warmly, but briefly. “Scene 84 to set 5 please, places everyone,” barks the director.

“That’s me, Judith. Have a safe trip and give your husband my best. He is a lucky man.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #217


page 204

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #214

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #214

…There were as nearly as many burials at sea than had they been sunk…

Deaths ships-001

‘Masters of the Seas’ by William Lionel Wyllie (Text added)

Judith Eastman and Mary Pickford do not put 10 miles behind them on the way to California, when a telegram arrives at the Pearson-Eastman residence. No one is home. It goes undelivered. Had she been there, as Harv had assumed, the piece of yellow paper would have read:

My Project 17-001

MY DEAREST JUDITH  stop  HAVE LEFT PARIS  stop SHOULD ARRIVE NEW YORK 10/7  stop  CANNOT WAIT TO HOLD YOU  stop  LOVE HARV  end

He will regret not sending the telegram from Paris.

In spite of the coming missed communications, so begins an, albeit, short career as a naval officer aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Chesapeake Bay at the age of 63. Those eight days were gratefully uneventful, at least below the waterline.

Above it, it was another story. There were as nearly as many burials at sea than had they been sunk, or so it seemed. The deck by deck segregation worked for a couple of days, but the devil’s disease finally took hold of the Chesapeake, racing from one sailor to the next. The pattern of taking those in their prime, 20 to 30 years old holds true, men who are or would have been husbands and fathers.

Had they had to go to battle stations, a number of stations would have gone unmanned, such was the carnage. They were a floating sitting duck.

  Word from the other ships in the convoy varies. They seem to be the worse-off naval vessel–it could not get much worse. While the troop-transports hold their own, they are ticking time bombs, likely infectious to anyone who comes in contact with them in the States.

The Chesapeake medical officer finally had the good sense to issue every last surgical mask to those who remain, realizing that one does not have to touch a carrier individual, that it is a dreaded airborne virus; the best possible method of transmission.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #214


page 201

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #211

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #211

…D.W. Griffith, the best cinematizer around, envisions movies with sound. Can you imagine not having to have an orchestra in the theater…

Orchestra Pit

“I am feeling guilty. Harv may be on the western front, knee high in mud or maybe worse.” She does not know that, in fact he is quite safe and the tide of the war has turned for the Allies.

     “Look at it this way: you will be doing your part to boost moral at home. The movies are a wonderful vehicle for people to escape, even if it is only for an hour or so. Rebecca will make the audience think of everything that is sweet and innocent.” Miss Pickford believes that with her whole heart and she is right.

Judith Eastman starts to see the point. Her magazine also entertains, through the pictures she so skillfully takes. They do not just inform. Silent films just happen to be more whimsical. “I think I am so used to the cold-hard facts, that movies seem friv…”

DW Griffith“Frivolous. That’s all right, you can say it.” She has heard that before. “There are people that say movies will never last, just a craze.

“Personally, I believe silent films are just the beginning. D.W. Griffith, the best cinematizer around, envisions movies with sound. Can you imagine not having to have an orchestra in the theater… and no subtitles? People could hear my voice, your voice!”

“Do not be offended, but I will not have long movie career. I have invested too much time in photography and my word, the Journal, to portray school teachers and who knows who. I am not getting any younger, Mary.”

          “Our makeup artists can make me look 15, Judith, and you don’t look a day over 40 without any.” Mary fiddles with Judith’s hair, trying out different of the newest styles. “You may take a liking to being a pampered actress.”

          “Let us not jump the gun. The horse belongs in front of the carriage. Never count your chickens before they hatch, when a lion lays with…”

          “I hate to keep interrupting, but I cannot take any more wisdom and we must get you packed or we or I will miss the next train to Tinsel Town.”

          “I have to tell my brother George where I am going, oh and I must turn over the magazine to the assistant editor. How long will I be gone?”

One month of chumming around and traveling with America’s Sweetheart. Who would have thought?


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #211


page 198