The Perfect Godmother
My family attended Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills when I was growing up. They had decided to ask Loretta Young to be my godmother. She was that rare breed in Hollywood, a Catholic who wore her moral spirit on her shoulder and never compromised her principles. They felt she would be a fine role model for me.
As a Confirmation gift, Loretta gave me a little statue of the Blessed Mother holding baby Jesus, set on a jade base. The whole thing wasn't more than four inches high. The statue has sat next to my bed since I was eleven, and I kept it there as I grew.
Sometimes I took it along when I traveled. It's been next to my bed my whole life.
I saw Loretta frequently as I grew up. No matter what the occasion, she was impeccably dressed (often wearing a hat), dignified yet funny. I teased her sometimes about her retainer brace. Here she was, so glamorous, yet carrying it in her purse, and slipping it in or out (I know she lost several in restaurants).
As I became successful as an actress, she would write me notes, saying how proud of me she was, commenting on my performance in this movie or that play.
When she married Jean Louis, I sent her a gift, along with a note. I was so thrilled for her, I wrote. Even at eighty years old, she was still a romantic, and I was inspired by her. So many older people wouldn't want to remarry, but there she was, ready for a new chapter. She loved the comment and told me that I was right — life hadn't finished with her yet.
She was the perfect godmother, and I'll miss her.