Day By Day: 1936

Friday, June 5th: Charlie and Paulette return to Los Angeles

They arrived home by car, having driven down from Pebble Beach that morning.

Shortly afterward, Chaplin contacted his sons, Charlie, Jr. (11) and Sydney (10), who had not heard from their father since he left in February.

I remember the day in early June when Dad phoned the school and said he was back and would like to see us. Syd and I were jubilant. On Friday, just as though no months had intervened, a smiling Frank showed up in the car to take us to the house on the hill. 

“Your fathah,” Frank told us on the way home, “he got married down at Hong Kong on the boat.” 

When we asked for details, he shook his head. 

“I didn’t see ’em get married,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t hang around them all the time. They have their things to do. I have mine. But they tell me so.” 

At last we were back in our father’s home again. Dad and Paulette were waiting for us. They looked happy–Dad especially. He always enjoyed his excursions abroad, but each time he was thoroughly glad to get home. He really wasn’t much of a traveler, and the feeling of being rooted had become so strong in him by this time that he was to stay in the United States for sixteen years after this trip. 

Syd and I ran up and kissed first Dad and then Paulette. Paulette stooped and hugged us both while Dad laughingly confirmed Frank’s piece of information. But though Dad told us flatly that he had married Paulette, it was to remain a family secret for years, because neither of them bothered to tip off the reporters. Throughout the long period they were together the newspapers continued to speculate as to “when” and “if” and “where.” —Charlie Chaplin, Jr, My Father Charlie Chaplin, 1960

Coming up: Charlie and Paulette are involved in an accident.


Day By Day: 1936: A chronicle of year of Chaplin’s life

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