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  • “We were going to the prom, and she had on this pretty dress, and that was the night I knew she was the one,” said Paul Morris, the memory of that moment still alive in his eyes as he smiled at his wife, Ethel. 

    Paul Morris celebrated his 80th birthday last week; his wife is 76. Outwardly, they look very different from a photo taken 60 years ago that graces their room at Amber Oaks Assisted Living Community.

    But their love is still as strong as ever.

  • In September 1995 my son Reggie took his mother Susanne, then 80, on a trip to France, including a visit to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, near the border between France and Spain.

    She had first visited the shrine with her father in 1926 when she was eleven. Susanne described her impressions:

    I touched Reggie’s cheek and he touched my cheek. And there was an atmosphere of prayer, no giggling, no laughing or anything. Just a very comfortable place to be because everybody else was doing the same thing. And it was very emotional.

  • During our several trips to France, while we always visited our good friends Jean-Michel and Guillemette Dunoyer de Segonzac in Brittany, we did not neglect beautiful Paris.

    We stayed at small reasonably priced hotels, and dined at inexpensive restaurants frequented by Parisians.

    Such informal trips would have been impossible without the entrée provided by Susanne’s family background, warm personality and capability to shift in mid-sentence between French and English, in easy conversations with patricians and functionaries alike.

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    The Sentinel-News, since 2008, has honored at year’s end five Shelby Countians we think have had a significant impact on our community during the year. We sought your nominations on our Facebook page, and we believe each person – or team – selected for what we call Shelby County’s Fabulous 5, has in his or her own way left an imprint that merits our honoring and emulating, represents a broad spectrum of a diverse society and truly is one of the best of our best.

     

     

    Sam Eyle

  • General Baron Athanase Charles-Marin de Charette (1796-1848)

    At the royal court, Louise, Comtesse de Vierzon, granddaughter of Charles X of France, met a gallant cavalier, Athanase-Charles-Marin de Charette, (1796-1848), Chef d’escadron aux Chasseurs de la Garde Royal (Commander of the light cavalry squadron of the Royal Guard).

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  • Our good friends in France, Jean-Michel and Guillemette Dunoyer de Segonzac, drove us to General de Charette’s Chateau de la Basse Motte in Chateuneuf, six miles west of St Malo, which Susanne had inherited from her mother, the Marquise de Charette, in 1964.

  • In early February 1966, Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, Director of Selective Service (Draft), and his wife were our dinner guests at our quarters at the San Diego Marine Base. Appointed as head of the Selective Service System by President Roosevelt in 1940, Hershey had become the longest-serving director in the history of the Selective Service System, spanning World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

    Working for the “Brute”

  • One day in February 1961, while serving on the staff of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, I received an urgent summons from Maj. Gen. Phil Berkeley, the Division Commander. I wondered what I had done wrong this time!

    It turned out that the general’s growing dissatisfaction with his chief of staff’s performance had dramatically overcome his tolerance. He had abruptly ordered him to clear out his desk and get out.

    Suddenly the Chief of Staff

  • AUTHOR’S NOTE: In the Friday, Nov. 6, issue I republished the first of my two-part series about Maj. General J. Franklin Bell that appeared in The Sentinel-News in 2008. Winner of the Medal of Honor in the “Philippine Insurrection,” he was Shelby County’s greatest hero and highest ranked military officer. It seems timely on Veterans Day to republish the second part.

  • AUTHOR’S NOTE: As Veterans Day approaches it seems timely to publish again my story of Shelby County’s greatest hero and highest ranked military officer, Medal of Honor winner, Major General J. Franklin Bell. This column, the first of a two-part series, appeared in the Sentinel-News on August 6, 2008.

    I embarked aboard the naval transport, “USS J. Franklin Bell,” on 10 December 1942 for participation in amphibious training exercises off the coast of California in preparation for combat in the Pacific.

  • It had been a privilege to serve for two years, 1955-57, in Japan, under the command of a distinguished and capable four-star general, Lyman L. Lemnitzer. As his Headquarters Commandant, I had under my command the all-services Honor Guard, which was turned out to welcome senior officers, American and foreign, who visited my “boss.”

  • In the summer of 1952, having been promoted to Colonel during two years of sea duty, I was ordered to take command of the Marine Barracks of the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes. Illinois.  There Susanne and I were assigned spacious government quarters in one of the beautiful old homes on “Brick Row.” 

    Shortly after the birth of our second son, Charles Antoine, in March 1954,I was ordered on an unaccompanied tour (without family) with the Third Marine Division in Gifu, Japan.

  • In late 1948, Susanne and I announced our engagement. Susanne’s mother, the Marquise de Charette, issued a very proper engraved invitations for a wedding on January 7, 1949.

    However, during a Christmas visit with my parents in San Diego, I had developed reservations about a marriage, in which I would suddenly assume the responsibilities not only of husband, but of father, as well. Upon my arrival back in New York, I asked Susanne for more time to consider. Later, she recalled her reaction: “It made me practically ill. Van got cold feet!”

  • Mike Harman grinned as he walked back toward his raptor facility in his backyard.

    “I’m known around Shelbyville as the guy with the bird in the car,” he said.

    Stepping inside his workshop, he withdrew a Cooper’s hawk – somewhat unwillingly – from its cage.

  • After Susanne’s divorce from Chunky Marshall, her mother, the Marquise de Charette, and her great aunt, Lulie Henning, who lived in a large apartment at 400 Park Avenue, accompanied her to Miami Beach for the birth of Michele (Mimi) Solange Marshall on July 23, 1946.

    They then returned with mother and daughter, and Susanne rented an apartment in nearby Mt. Vernon, New York.

    Henri Bendel’s on Fifth Avenue

  • On June 29, 1933, Sue Henning, while visiting a friend in Washington, D. C., suffered an apoplectic stroke, from which she did not regain consciousness. For her daughter Susanne, still in Capri, and her granddaughter Susanne, then 18, still in school in Switzerland, it was a race against time. They arrived at her bedside before she died on July 12, 1933.

  • 30 Ans de Diners en Ville

    An incisive appraisal of Susanne, Marquise de Charette appears in a chapter of Gabriel-Louis Pringué’s, 30 Ans de Diners en Ville [Paris] (30 Years of Dining in the City).

    Pringué, an uncle of a Paris schoolmate of the Marquise’s daughter, Susanne, asked me many years ago if I had ever been to “Maxim’s.” Upon receiving a negative answer, he responded immediately “Quelle Vierge!”

    In 30 Ans, Pringué described the Marquise:

  • In July 1924, having spent over three years in Kentucky, Susanne, now nine, returned to Paris with her mother, the Marquise de Charette. Her schooling, which had begun at Nazareth Academy, near Bardstown, Kentucky, would continue in France and in Switzerland.

    Cours Dupanloup in Paris

  • General Baron de Charette died on October 9, 1911, at the age of 79.  His widow, Tennessee-born Antoinette, Baronne de Charette, continued to live at La Basse Motte in Brittany. Here during World War I she entertained American troops on leave from the Western Front.  After her death on February 3, l9l9, her obituary in a Nashville paper closed with this tribute: