My Brother, Roddy
[Page 3 of 3]
I had invited a boy over to dinner for the first time. As I came down the stairs all dressed up, Roddy took one look at me and yelled, "Woo! Woo!" That was bad enough, but when we sat down to dinner he really went to work. Suddenly, he said in a loud voice, "Virginia, I can't see over there. Are you holding his hand?" He finished off the evening by referring to another boy friend of mine.
I'm not really pleased that he likes my friends so much, though. He almost always takes them into his room to show them his maps or to ask them to play some game with him. I don't like the way Roddy commandeers my boy friends. I never get a chance to talk to them at all.
The one thing Roddy doesn't do, however, is to tell the boys I'm just a baby. I've taken care of that by telling every boy with whom I go out just how old I am.
But Roddy isn't all a gagster. He's really a very intense boy — and a very sincere one. He loves books and he has a tremendous imagination. He is also very helpful around the house. He sets the dinner table, clears away the dishes, cleans the rug, and then helps me with my duties. His kindness and thoughtfulness far overbalance his mischievous instincts.
During the blitz in London, Roddy used to love to go out while the bombs were falling. It was no easy job to keep him inside. But I didn't share his enthusiasm. The air raids frightened me horribly. He knew that and yet he never teased me. Instead, he'd talk to me quietly and say, "Don't be afraid." One night I woke up and began to scream and cry when the bombs fell close to the house. Roddy came over to me and talked to me for over an hour until I was calm again.
When we came to Hollywood, he gave me courage once more. I was very shy and would always stay in the background. He got all of the attention — which he didn't care for very much. He's not at all impressed with adulation. Every time people would swarm around him, he'd bring them over to me and say, "I want you to meet my sister.". His enthusiasm for me was too much when he did the broadcast of The Pied Piper. He insisted that I meet Mr. DeMille. I was afraid to meet him, so Roddy grabbed me by the hand and pulled me toward him. What a sight I must have been flying after Roddy!
Roddy has done a lot for me since coming to Hollywood. By his interest in me, he has completely taken away my self-consciousness. He has given me confidence in myself. And now he's determined to get me good parts in pictures here. I've only done two small roles, even thought I did eight pictures in England.
Roddy is also very unselfish. Our family loves to go to a movie almost more than anything else. Roddy is a great fan. More than once, he has wanted to see a certain picture very badly and I have wanted to see an entirely different one. Always he has gone with me to see the film I had chosen.
In fact, he gives in to me most of the time. When we were in Utah on location for My Friend Flicka, we both decided we'd love to go up in an airplane. Finally we met a man who offered to take us up. The plans were all made and we were on our way to our first flight when Roddy was informed he couldn't go. He was so disappointed that I said I wouldn't go either. But he wouldn't hear of it. He raised a fuss — an unusual thing for him — and was finally given permission to go to the airport to be sure that I was able to have the ride.
He is just as unselfish when it comes to getting presents. Whenever he is given a gift, he always asks Mother or Daddy, "What does Virginia get?" He thinks first of my needs and then his.
It's because he is so kind that I can overlook his typical boy faults — even the exasperating one of going to sleep at the most embarrassing times. A girl couldn't ask for a finer brother. Or a more amusing one. In fact, I think Hollywood is missing a good bet by not putting him into comedies.
Roddy's nudging me and telling me that I'm just getting ready to ask him for something. He says that whenever I say nice things about him, something's going to happen. But that's how I feel about him. Teasing or no teasing, I wouldn't want him to change one bit.
Motion Picture combined with Hollywood Magazine August, 1943
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