13: Our Meetings at the End of 1962
I Am a Patsy! by George de Mohrenschildt
Somebody familiar with things Haitian knows how difficult it is to organize anything worth–while in that country. But I have always been very fond of Haiti and especially of people there. Fortunately my many friends were helpful and we were assured now that my survey was developing a firm base. Also I was trying to organize a company to help developing the sagging economy of this impoverished but beautiful country. So the time was short for us and we were seeing the Oswalds rather seldom.
Lee Harvey Oswald’s Unhappiness with Marina
One night he came alone and seemed very depressed.
“Lee, my friend,” I told him. “You like Tolstoy, don’t you. He said many clever things but his one applies to you. ‘Man must be happy. If not he has to work on himself to correct this misunderstanding which makes him unhappy.’ I think I know what your ‘misunderstanding’ is.”
Lee nodded sadly. “My tragedy is,” he said, “that my suffering is inflicted on me by a person close to whom I want to be and from whom I would want to find protection and consolation.”
These words, which I remember distinctly, touched me greatly.
“You try to change Marina into your image. It’s difficult, if not impossible. You should like her for what she is, not for what you would want her to be. Do you [sic] my point?”
“But she is becoming like an American middle–class wife,” Lee fought feebly. “She thinks only of foolish comforts. She is becoming like the rest of them, talking of washers, driers and other gadgets as if they were the most important things in life.”
“Lee, you are too demanding. She is new in this country and is affected by it. Take it easy. Try to be friends with her. Somebody said: ‘friendship is a quiet and exquisite servant, while love is a ferocious and demanding master.’”
“I am a fool and I am very unhappy,” said Lee quietly. “But thanks for advice anyway. You are a very good friend.”
When he left I thought: Here is a good fellow whose tragedy is a complete misunderstanding of himself. He wants love from a woman who does not understand him. And he himself does not face squarely the issues. What is the most important to him? In the meantime the despair is like an organism which destroys him. He begins to lose hope.
And so Lee went back home and to his miserable life. But he seemed to be resigned to unhappiness and we have not had any complaints from Marina — no black eyes and no burned cigarettes on her delicate white flesh.
Christmas Party, 1962
In the meantime a big party was to be given for Christmas of 1962 by Declan Ford — the geologist — and his wife Katia — the Russian refugee — who knew the Oswalds well but tried to steer away from them. They were probably annoyed by Marina’s stay with them, as far as Lee was concerned they were rather indifferent to him. Being younger than most ex–Russians, Katia was relatively liberal person.
After we received the invitation, Jeanne called Katia and asked her permission to bring the Oswalds who were extremely lonesome as the time, Katia was not too enthusiastic at Jeanne’s suggestion but with a little of arm–twisting she accepted, but asked specifically not to bring the baby June. Or maybe the baby was just a pretext and Oswalds had no money to hire a baby–sitter. So I got on the phone and said: “Oswalds are lonesome, isolated, nobody sees them except us and we are not giving a party this year. We will not come without the Oswalds.”
“Marina will not have anyone to speak to if we invite her to another, purely American party. At your party she will find some Russian–speaking people. I have a solution, I shall find a baby–sitter for June.”
Fortunately Jeanne’s friend, an American–Italian lady, a good Christian, volunteered for the job and stayed with June that whole night.
That Christmas eve both Marina and Lee were well dressed and looked very elegant. Lee didn’t always have to be a non–descript individual, he had sometimes a very pleasant appearance and could dress well.
The self–appointed baby–sitter, Anita, liked June and took care of her in a typical warm, Italian manner and [sic] the Oswalds and two of us, chatting pleasantly, to Ford’s attractive house in North Dallas. It was a clear, cold night and a slight layer of snow, unusual for Texas, cheered all of us and gave the city a Christmas–like appearance.
Most of the guests had already consumed lots of drinks and they were chattering excitedly in a dozen languages. The loveliest girl of the crowd was a Japanese musician, Yaiko, staying in Dallas for a short time with her friends from Tokyo. She was a delicate, elegant, sophisticated girl, restrained and dignified, a little lost in our Dallas society of noisy, self–assertive, aggressive females.
Marina did not look too well, she seemed to be afraid of the crowds. She looked to operate with men one–to–one, and appeared bashful, like a country–girl. Lee, on the other hand, blossomed and was the hit of the party. Naturally a good conversationalist — if he wanted to — both in English and Russian, he was outgoing and friendly possibly because the people were more liberal than usual, his behavior was exemplary. Serious, attentive and polite, he answered questions intelligently, if the person who asked the question was serious. He reacted well to the surroundings.
Lee Oswald and the Japanese Woman
Somebody played Russian tunes on the piano and some good voices could be heard. marina unfortunately was not musical and Lee was engrossed in conversations. I stayed around him and noticed that several women flirted with him and displayed their charms. Some were quite attractive. But Lee’s greatest conquest was this Japanese girl Yaiko, I had mentioned before, and who I also found the most interesting woman of all. He noticed her also and angled towards her — or possibly it was vice versa — anyway soon they were engrossed in a conversation. Of course Lee had served in Japan and there he had learned a lot about the country and the people. He had told me that he met there some interesting leftist youngsters.
Maybe Yaiko had met G.I.s whatever it was, but they were engrossed in each other and I left them alone. Marina stayed around, but not being able to understand she fretted and did not know what to do with herself. As far as I was concerned, I was delighted. How many times I’d heart her call Lee a bore, a fool, a bookworm, how many times she degraded his masculinity and here the loveliest girl of of all was in a trance. Now Marina became just a jealous woman, she even forgot to smoke cigarettes and to drink wine — both were free and plentiful — she just watched Lee with narrow, jealous eyes. “We should go home,” she muttered to me. “It’s getting late. I am worried about June.”
“Don’t worry, she is well taken care of. And we are having a good time,” I answered, enjoying the situation sadistically.
And Lee this time was not to be budged. It was the first time that I saw him truly shine in the crowd. He enjoyed the evening and insisted staying there to the end of the party.
The other Russians at the party, unknown so far to the Oswalds, like cultured Russian Jews, were amazed by Lee’s almost perfect command of the language. He spoke very fast to an elderly lady and she said: “I have lived here in America thirty years and I cannot speak English as well as you, young man, speak Russian.”
The party finally became boisterous and noisy. Lee and Yaiko lost track of each other. But she forced me and asked timidly: “what an interesting friend you have. What’s his name?”
“Lee Harvey Oswald.”
“Oh, what a lovely name.”
“I agree with you that Lee is an unusual and intellegent young man, but many others, the majority, disagree with me. They don’t seem to understand him.”
“I do,” said Yaido. “He had so many true things to say about Japan. He is a very sensitive person and he understood my country. The New Japan is very complex.”
“Yes, Lee is not one of those GI’s who believe that for a bar of chocolate and a pair of stockings you can conquer a woman — and for a larger stake — the whole country.”
“Where does he work?” she asked bashfully.
I gave her Taggart’s address and the telephone number and thought to myself: “he! he! A real romance is in the making …”
At last something good was happening to my friend Lee, new horizons are opening for him.
Unfortunately I cannot say whether this romance has materialized, as my life became hectic and I did not have much time for the Oswalds, their conflicts, and even Lee’s love life. They did communicate, however, and I wouldn’t have known about it had it not been for Marina who came over day furious and told me. “I found in Lee’s pocket this Japanese girl’s address. What a bastard, he is having an affair with her.”
I did not say anything just smiled and thought: “good for him.”
“That Japanese bitch,” she cried bitterly, “we had a fight over her — and look at the result.”
She sported a new black eye.
“She provoked me to a fight,” Lee told me later, showing his scratched face. “This time she fought like a mad cat.”
The situation was normal again, they were at each other’s throat.