Tuesday, February 27, 2018
When Death Comes The First
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
In these posts about Nancy Reagan, I have shown a woman who was someone I would not like as a spouse or a friend, I have shown a woman who was unfairly smeared by the press, and in this, I want to show a woman who is like all of us, in Nancy Reagan was abandoned by her father, raised by her Aunt and Uncle as her Mother worked across the country in theater, was the adoptive daughter of Dr. Davis of Chicago, who took it upon herself to handle the adoption, and her first love was killed in an accident when she was at college.
His name was Frank Birney and he appeared at Nancy's debutante outing. He was the first to arrive and as no one appeared early, he kept going through the receiving line pretending to be other people until others appeared.
He attended Princeton who was part of the Princeton Triangle Show then playing in Chicago, and Nancy's mother invited the cast to make certain enough young men were present.
He was very entertaining alone in the greeting line, using different voices and made everyone laugh.
The two grew very close, but marriage was never spoken of. It was shortly after Pearl Harbor that Frank was planning to go to New York, and Nancy Davis presumed he was running late, because he ran across a train track and was struck by a locomotive and killed instantly.
It was very upsetting to Nancy Davis, as this was her first experience of someone dying in her group of people she knew. Frank's mother gave her his silver cigarette case that Nancy had given him and that he was carrying when he was killed. She stated in her memoirs that she still had that case.
Everyone has the same experiences in life. We all remember the first person we really knew who died. I remember the puzzlement of a neighbor woman dying of brain cancer and how sad it was. The day my Sister died in an auto crash FROM WEARING A SEATBELT, another neighbor newly married who had a kidney disease and died, leaving a widow and an three orphan daughters.
It is always shocking and we never get over that first trauma which we all share, but rarely speak of. It is though the thing that Nancy Reagan spoke of which she shared with all the rest of humanity.