by Bruce Campbell Adamson
IN MEMORY OF GRETCHEN ADAMSON
At 7:55 pm on August 2, 2002, Gretchen (Davidson) Adamson died at home with dignity after suffering a stroke in December of 2001 and later diagnosed with cancer. "G.G." said "A true lady will never give her age." No need to stop now. Aunt Gretchen married Harold Campbell Adamson in 1948. Harold passed on in 1980. Prior to her marriage to Harold, Aunt Gretchen was an actress.
Gretchen loved her Scottish roots and listening to her son play the bagpipes. Gretchen hired me to trace her family tree, and it tickled her to learn that one of her great grandparents had built the building at The University of Michigan where her son had later graduated from. Another interesting family trait was that many in her family lineage had had twins. Gretchen belonged to the Davidson and Chattan family clans.
Gretchen had a twin sister "Hattie" who was also an actress. Gretchen's stage and maiden name was Gretchen Davidson. Her career on stage was as follows:
Mr. Cohan thought so highly of Gretchen that his son gave her his father's cane.
Gretchen was a dedicated wife to songwriter Harold Adamson. They say behind every successful man there is a woman, behind Harold there was Gretchen. For about twenty-five years Gretchen was a volunteer at Family Services in Beverly Hills. Gretchen also sat on the boards of the West Coast Songwriting Board and at ASCAP.
Having lost my mom at the age of five, in 1959, Gretchen was always like a mother, to me. There were the small things like taking me to the circus or teaching me how to tie-a-tie. Yet, what stands out the most in my memory is when I remember in 1964, at age 9, when Gretchen took me to the lake in Malibu, we caught my very first fish. Gretchen taught me well, for there were always going to be much bigger fish to fry.
When I was a young boy, Gretchen always arrived at Christmas with a car full of carefully wrapped Christmas presents with uncle "Hal." We (4 kids James, Diane, Wendy and Bruce) always had the greatest holiday dinners thanks to Gretchen and her long time friend Mackie Nash. Mackie was with Gretchen for forty-eight years as a friend and a dedicated employee. Mackie has truly suffered the lost of her greatest friend.
There are no words to express how proud Gretchen was of her son and grandson and their service for our country. In 1997 I witnessed about five general's of the U.S. Army testimonials on Drew's retiring from Service. One of the generals said "he would go to war for Drew." Gretchen was so very proud of him on this day!
In later years whenever I had a problem, Gretchen was the person I could always rely upon to get great advice. No matter how bad I felt, Gretchen would always pick me up. There are no words that can express the value of Gretchen's love. I suppose the best way is to say it, would be that if Aunt Gretchen had not been there for me, I would not be the person I am today. When my judgment was poor, Gretchen always had the answers.
I am so grateful for the two months that I had spent with Gretchen in February and March of 2002. It was not easy for Gretchen fell on my watch seven times. One time she hit her head and when I threatened to call her son. Gretchen retorted by saying: "Don't you dare! I am O.K., I will be alright." Well, Gretchen's constitution was so very strong, and there was no way that I was going to call her son. Instead I camped out by her bedside to make sure she would not fall on my shift again. Afterwards, Gretchen and I, indeed had fun during the two months together. We went to the Will Rogers Park in Beverly Hills, the Santa Monica Pier, out to dinners, we watched movies at the Academy Award Theater. One film was "I Am Sam," starring Sean Penn and both of us sat through this movie crying our eyes out. When I told my friend Ken Parkhurst, he said: "Never mind "I Am Sam," I would have like to have a picture of you and Gretchen crying." Isn't that what life is all about?
During this period, at The Academy Theater Gretchen introduced me to a lady,"Bruce I would like you to meet Angie Dickinson." Gretchen was conservative, yet, she believed in my research on the JFK assassination. As Angie and I shook hands, I thought to myself "Angie Dickinson was one of the last ladies alive who had a friendship with President John F. Kennedy." Gretchen told me in March of 2002, that "Angie Dickinson had gained one of her biggest fans," for Angie had assisted Gretchen at the Academy Theater.
Gretchen used to tell me:"life is not a dress rehearsal." Isn't that the truth! Yet, ever since I began my research on the JFK Assassination I was continuously rehearsing in front of Gretchen, explaining to her my latest discoveries I had uncovered. Gretchen used to listen to me, in person, via the post office and over the phone while I connected the dots for her. This was great practice for me, prior to doing radio talk shows. Gretchen never complain throughout the ten years of this quest. It was Gretchen who encourage me twenty-five years ago to take English courses at Santa Monica College. I took up genealogy with her encouragment and learned that I am directly descended from six Catholic Saints and many other influential people. Which would eventually lead me to win two court cases against the Federal Government, (without an attorney of record), authored and published 19 books. Gretchen encouraged me to pursue these studies, but made sure I was able to tell my story without coming across as boasting. For this Gretchen, I say thank you for you're direction and belief in my abilities.
Gretchen's memory will always live inside of me. And when times are hard, I will face troubles alone. I will stop and think, of those times that she was always there for me. I only hope that I live up to her memory. Five hours prior to her passing, I called, and her son, Drew placed the telephone near Gretchen's ear and I shouted twice: "I Love You, Gretchen, I Love You Gretchen." I am sure she heard me!
-- Bruce Campbell Adamson