Christmas with Charlie, Paulette, and Lita

I arranged to have a private room at the Ambassador Hotel for a party for the boys. It consisted of about fifteen boys from Black Foxe, with party favors, cake, and the things small children like at a party. before I came west by train, I had telegrammed Charlie that I was having a party for the boys and would he like to attend, just to be polite. He surprised me by coming. I opened the door of the party room at the Ambassador and there was Charlie, tanned and looking very well. He acted like an old friend, very pleasant–after all the terrible stuff we had been through–he was just as polite as he could be.

I offered Charlie a glass of champagne. He said, “I think I better leave now. I have Paulette waiting in the car outside, and she is probably getting impatient.”

I said to him, “Why don’t you invite her up? Maybe she would enjoy a glass of champagne? I’d love to meet her.”

“Would that be all right?” he said like a timid little boy, totally unlike the man I married.

He brought in Paulette Goddard. I had never seen such a beautiful woman, with her dark, soft, shoulder-length hair. She wore a black velvet dress and a string of pearls. While Charlie was visiting with the children, Paulette and I had a pleasant conversation.
“You probably don’t remember this,” she said to me, “but I used to model clothes in New York, and I used to model clothes for you.”

The comment endeared her to me right away. I don’t think most people in her position would have admitted that. She was humble and very likable.

Paulette was wonderful to my two boys. I really don’t think her relationship with Charlei would have lasted as long as it did if it hadn’t been for my children because she had such a good time with the kids. She would take them down to San Diego on Charlie’s boat, the Panacea, or skiing. She would always send me a little note, keeping me informed of what the boys were doing. Paulette also encouraged Charlie to develop a relationship with the boys, which might not have existed without her.

–Lita Grey Chaplin, Wife Of The Life Of The Party, Scarecrow Press, 1998

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