Seventy-two years ago today, mere days before Pearl Harbor, two young journalists from California married as war clouds gathered over Manila. Melville and Annalee Jacoby had met at Stanford and reconnected in the Spring of 1942 when Mel briefly went home to the United States. Annalee arrived in Chongqing n September, 1941, and the couple quickly fell in love. Mel proposed as the couple raced through Chongqing’s steep streets on rickshaws, their drivers dodging crowds and bomb-blast potholes, but the next day Time asked him to transfer to Manila. Annalee had work to finish and wouldn’t join him for two months. They got married the day she arrived in Manila, Nov. 26, 1941. Their romance is one for the ages, and it’s the heart of the book I’m working on about Mel. Here’s an excerpt from that book about the wedding day that I’ve adapted a bit for this space). Happy Anniversary!
That day, Mel waited on the shoreline for her plane to land. The approach to the beach seemed to Annalee to take hours. The entire time she eyed Mel by the side of the water in his gleaming white suit, white shirt and yellow tie.
As soon as Annalee stepped off the plane, Mel whisked her off to the Union Church of Manila. Her wedding gown a casual white nylon dress covered in prints of palm trees, ukuleles, pineapples and leis, Annalee strolled along a Manila street with one hand clutching Mel’s arm and a yellow, broad-brimmed straw hat tucked under her other arm. She beamed as she looked up at him. He strode confidently, almost smugly.