|My mother Ande and my aunt Jean c. 1933|
In the summer of 1939, my aunt Jean Rubin (almost 16) goes by train on a tour of Western states with a group of other New York girls and a chaperone. They visit Colorado, California and Idaho.
While staying at the Del Monte hotel in California, Jean and her companions find themselves in the midst of the wedding of movie stars Joan Fontaine and Brian Aherne. Among the wedding guests is Joan Fontaine's older sister, Olivia de Havilland.
Following is an excerpt from one of Jean’s letters home:
Written on board the Southern Pacific, August 1939
Dear Mum –
The only time I get to write to you is in between stops – Del Monte was too wonderful – we were kept very busy and our company was really fun.
To please Ande I will tell you about yesterday’s wedding first – Saturday morning Ellie pointed out a woman on the porch and said that it was Irene Dunne. I wouldn’t believe her but as she walked to her car I did … Then Saturday night while we were waiting to go to dinner some ordinary looking people came thru the swing door and I said to Ellie – who are you going to tell me that is – she looked and said Olivia de Havilland and started for a pen and paper [for an autograph]. I really was so sure that it wasn’t she but sure enough it was . . . then we saw Joan Fontaine come in. They both acted natural etc. and are very nice. Then when we went dancing in the Bali Room there they were again – it was a party – Olivia had a red and white dress with sea-shell jewelry and Joan had on an ivory brocade – she danced quite a bit but only once with Brian. When they did dance together we maneuvered so that he bumped into me! Thrill –
|Before the wedding (http://www.gettyimages.com)|
Then yesterday [we] went to church at 11:00 in the chapel where they were to be married – we are quite friendly with the Reverend who married them. After church we waited outside and made friends with the policeman so that we were allowed inside the gate!
|Leaving the church (http://www.gettyimages.com)|
Ellie had her camera and snapped Brian coming in and also the rest of the bridal party – Olivia wore chartreuse long-sleeved net – very simple – and a small chartreuse velvet hat – she carried orange-red begonias – Joan was in white.
|Brian and Joan (https://www.pinterest.com)|
|Olivia and Joan (https://www.pinterest.com)|
After the ceremony they had a reception at Del Monte which we didn’t see and so went to our al fresco lunch . . . but [later] we found ourselves in the midst of the wedding party waiting to see them off. We were provided with rice and patience and waited – Olivia was standing directly opposite me about 2 ft. away. She was just darling . . . Then out came Joan after a 'phone call to the Ahernes in England – she wore a green suit and sables – I hit her with my rice – she and Brian (in a plaid cap) drove themselves away in a little Packard convertible – after fondly kissing Mirna [Myrna Loy?] and Livvie. . . .