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Modern Screen
April 1943

The big white electric-eye controlled gates simply didn't move fast enough. Mr. Tyrone Power almost smacked the right hand gate, but -- by a fast maneuver -- swung wide and zoomed around the curved driveway to a stop before the Colonial pillared house. Three nondescript mutts came loping from the back lot in full cry. One mutt is near-spaniel, one is semi-Belgian shepherd, and one is modified-Scottie. Each was rescued from starvation at some time during the past years by the man who has a tender streak THIS wide plastered on his heart. He can't refuse man or mutt.

He took three seconds in which to pate three rapturous heads, then crossed his threshold and went bounding to the library where Annabella arose to meet him.

Catching her hands, he announced, "Everything's all set. The studio wont need me for Crash Dive retakes, so we can take our motorcycle trip!"

Without further conversation, the Powers went into an elaborate minuet to express triumph, anticipation and love in general. The Powers pair have more fun out of marriage than ducks have from a mill pond.

But the double seat," Annabella finally remembered. "It has not yet arrive!"

Annabella will never lose, entirely, her delicious French way of expressing herself. Her accent is utterly charming, her vocabulary wide and varied, and her combination of English and French idioms appealing beyond description. She is the story book French girl combined with terrific American good sportsmanship.

Tyrone thought over the lack of a double seat. "Let's go down and see what we can figure out," he suggested. So the Powers descended on the garage to inspect a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that is out of this world. It has two of the most beautiful tires ever to inspire envy in the eye of a man with four retreads.

Tyrone established himself on the sheepskin-covered driver's seat and wheeled the beauty out onto the driveway. "Listen to that motor," he instructed Annabella in a medium roar above the gnashing of cylinders.

"You think, yes, that we should have a rehearsal for this treep?" she screamed.

Ty nodded and obtained cushion ordinarily used in the patio for summer sitting. He fastened it behind the driver's seat and helped Annabella to establish herself. Then he pressed the button on the electric-eye gate, shoved of and went careening down the gravel and out into the highway with his wife clinging to his waistline with awful intensity.

The wind tore at her face and plucked at her hair; the road jumped up at unexpected intervals and smacked her in spots unbecoming a gentlemanly highway. Her teeth rattled, her spine jarred, and her very rouge quivered. But when Ty yelled, "Swell, isn't it? she yelled back, "Oh, yes. But, YES!"

That night, after this brief rehearsal, a group of friends dropped in. Want to hear some news?" Ty demanded enthusiastically. "Annabella and I are leaving tomorrow for Santa Barbara on my motorcycle. How's that for solving the gas shortage!"

tall tales . . .

A very dear friend said to Annabella, "Do you know what to do about cramps in the small of the back and down the legs? Well, you fill a tub as nearly full of very hot water as possible and empty into it a bag of Epsom salts. Then you climb in and soak until you are a geranium red."

Bill Goetz came forth at this point with a story. Seems that he had a very dear friend who was addicted to motorcycle trips, preferably with his girl friend cozily clasped on the back seat. Seems that they were making a moonlight trip, those gigantic oil trucks coming back from the harbor -- loaded. Crash! Blue Flames! Pin Flames! Bodies rolling across the highway! Sirens shrieking in the night, bound for a rescue too late.

"Even if you don't have an accident," someone else chimed in, "neither hot baths NOR oil rubs will lick that tired feeling. No, indeed. The thing to do, Annabella, is to order ice the instant you get to the hotel. Not just a little ice but about 15 lbs. in a cake. Set this in the middle of the bathtub and seat yourself on it. Remain there until penguins begin to march into the room, one by one, and wink at you."

Annabella began to grin. "Okay - so you reeb me. So I show you all what a good time we have sput-sputting."

The following morning they affixed a large, leather saddle bag (with silver mountings, incidentally) on either side of the rear wheels. In these bags, the American Family Power stored its tooth brushes, soap, sleeping attire and other essentials for a several days' visit.

Each of them wore ski underclothing, a pair of blue jeans, two sweaters and a windbreaker. Tyrone wore leather gloves, and Annabella wore white cotton gloves -- "like a mammy singer," she told her husband. In a knapsack on her back, Mrs. Power tucked an additional sweater.

"All set?" Power, demanded at last. That was about 2 P.M.

Annabella adjusted her goggles and saluted smartly. "Contact," she said, having listed to certain air talk tossed off by visiting birdmen.

no penguins . . . She ensconced herself on the multi-springed motorcycle seat and clamped arms around the driver's middle. She looked out on a lovely landscape and hoped that she would see it soon again - sans breaks, contusions, bruises or penguins giving her the eye.

Splutter, crash, roar. Down the highway they went. And much to Annabella's astonishment, the gluteus maximus (as your doctor if this isn't the name of the folding muscle usually supported by a chair) suffered no ill effects whatsoever. You see, the trial run had been made over rutted roads, but the actual trip was to be made over macadam highway.

Mrs. Power began to relax. She looked at the scenery instead of the gloomy side of life. She found that it wasn't necessary to clutch her partner in two-wheeled motoring; her poise was excellent without bolstering. Suddenly she realized that it was fun. She confided this fact, in a delighted shriek, to her husband.

The miles reeled off. They reached the beach highway and gloried in the sun glittering on the placid Pacific; Mrs. Power became almost unbearably proficient at motorcycle riding. "Can you see me?" she yelled to her husband, extending her arms in the manner of a scarecrow standing in a field. "I'm a seagull. I'm flying!"

A little later on she extracted her mirror from an inner pocket and inspected her nose. It didn't exactly need powdering, but the notion of adjusting one's makeup on a motorcycle racing along Roosevelt Highway was more than she could pass up, so she added a dash of rouge and an outline of lipstick.

"Now," announced Mrs. Power, "I want to ride in that jeep you see in the news reels -- the one like a kangaroo!"

This was too much for her husband, who had suspected all along that she had agreed to go on this trip, at first, because she was such a four-star good scout and not because of an adventurous spirit. He said she was wonderful -- and meant it.

They stopped at a roadside stand for coffee and doughnuts after they had covered about half the distance to Santa Barbara. There were no other customers present, so Ty fell into a comradely conversation with the boy who drew two steaming cups of java. It seems that the boy was to go into service the following week, just as Tyrone was. They talked Army and the Marine Corps; they talked about North Africa and Guadalcanal.

Annabella wandered over to a pinball machine (her favorite game of "skill") and played a nickel. Back came 30c. So she treated her husband, making a nice little gesture of it, to coffee and doughnuts.

"I'm glad I brought you along," he laughed. "You're cutting expenses nobly" Whereupon they looked into each other's eyes and laughed for no good reason except that they were in love and having fun.

They reached the ranch near Santa Barbara, at which they had reservations, just before dark. Their suite consisted of a bedroom -- with an open fireplace -- bath and living room.

Annabella, changing from jeans to a simple dress she had brought in the knapsack, observed happily, "And I don't need an oil rub or a bath of any temperature!' This was Thursday evening.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday they spent on day-long picnics. Two horses had been placed at their disposal, so they rode far back into the hills on picturesque mountain trails.

And they talked. They talked with the terrible urgency of those who are about to be parted. Not that either of them considers the situation tragic; Tyrone is doing what every able-bodied man in the nation WANTS to do. And Annabella, like every loving girl alive, wants her man to be a part of this thing that is bigger than any individual plan or hope or need.

things to come . . .

They talked about Annabella's new picture, Bomber's Moon and they agree that it was strictly zoot, the stuff and solid at that. They talked about their meeting when they were working on Suez several years ago; they talked about the joyous weeks they worked in Liliom together and then made a pact that in time to come -- when the war was over -- they will do Liliom again.

Sunday night, before they donned motor clothes and scorched southward, they had dinner at one of the loveliest and most romantic of all Southern California restaurants: El Paseo de las Flores. Annabella gave her husband his "Godspeed" gift: a Miraculous Lady medal, and a military watch with illuminated hands and numerals, a stainless steel, shockproof, moisture proof case and a sweep second hand.

He gave her a gold service pin, its proud blue star a sign of our times.

And, as soon as he received it at boot camp, he sent her a gummed Marine Service Insignia for the window, special for leathernecks' families.

Those first two weeks, with Ty away, weren't easy. Ask any girl on earth whose husband has gone off to camp. But Annabella had promised to write every day, and sometimes the letters rolled off her pen by two's and three's. And she sent two packages during those two weeks: cookies. Because Ty had written to her, "I'm hungry. We have dinner at 4:30 each afternoon and then breakfast at 7 the next day."

The second weekend, Annabella and a friend pooled their gasoline stocks and drove to San Diego. When they reached the space assigned to visitors, they found perhaps 50 or 60 Marines milling about. The friends said in despair, "We'll never find Tyrone. Everyone looks exactly alike. Same dreadful haircut, same uniform. Now what shall we do?"

But Annabella was getting out of the car. Her voice shaking, she called back, "There he is. With the big, dark eyes and nothing around them!"

Clinging together, they talked rapturously. Husband and wife talk, some of it, that belongs only to Ty and Annabella. But there were anecdotes, too.

Private Power had one to tell. You may have seen the March of Time's magnificent documentary film on the Marine Corps. If so, you have heard the Marine's Creed of the Rifle. It seems that, in the Marine Corps, one never refers to his armament as a gun. It's a rifle.

Inadvertently, Private Power mentioned his "gun". So, as discipline, he thereafter wrote 200 times, "400,000 Marines have a rifle. I have a gun."

On January 20, International News Service carried this announcement: Commended as an example of a good Marine, Private Tyrone Power, a former film star, today was named honor man of his platoon at the San Diego Marine Recruit Depot. As the platoon's outstanding member, Power was awarded an honor medal by Colonel George T. Hall, depot commander."

In other words, local boy makes good. His wife will undoubtedly have that news dispatch framed. Then she will carry it around with her for weeks. showing it to everyone who might be the least interested. Because that's the way with people in love: they take enormous pride in one another. They find fun in the same mad excursions and precious memories.

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