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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

(3) "POOR ED! IS HE SPEAKING TO YOU YET?"

                                                                              
     Unlike many sailors and yachtsmen, Ed rarely took himself or his boating mishaps seriously. There were those who felt sorry for my husband when they saw Darrell McCLure's illustrations for my articles. "Poor Ed! Is he speaking to you yet? When is the divorce?" Their sympathy was wasted. Ed thought Darrell’s cartoons were hilarious.
     I did have qualms when Little, Brown wanted to include the cartoons in my memoir, Take My Ex-Husband, Please--But Not Too Far.
     I called Ed and posed the question: "Now that you're a few decades older and a man of maturity and dignity, how do you feel about Darrell McClure's sketches of you in various disastrous situations. I'll omit them if they strike you as the least bit offensive."
     Ed answered emphatically, "Don't do it! I wouldn't care if Darrell had drawn a picture of me sitting in the head, reading the funny papers. Leave those cartoons in, and don't worry about me. I still think they're a riot."
June 15, 1969
Westwood
To Ernest Gann
     While browsing through the stacks in our local library a few weeks ago, my husband came up with a Find‑‑Blaze of Noon.  I feel compelled to write you once again and tell you how much this warm, human, and utterly delightful book meant to us.  (A few years ago you were kind enough to answer a fan letter from the flying Malleys and to autograph one of our all time favorites, Fate is the Hunter). 
     I called various bookstores in an attempt to purchase Blaze of Noon for my own bookshelf, but as I feared, it was long out of print.
WITH DARRELL McCLURE AND WIFE SANDY
     With your book still vividly in our minds, Ed and I harnessed up our Comanche and flew south for a vacation in Fort Lauderdale.  We had scarcely unpacked when we had callers—a buddy named Darrell McClure and his wife Sandy.  When Ed and I were boating enthusiasts, Darrell illustrated yarns I wrote for Yachting.  Then there was a long dry spell when nothing I wrote made a hit with anyone except my mother.  When we switched hobbies, Ed liked my flying articles, but the editor of Flying flew them right back to me.  It wasn't until last winter that I was "discovered" by Private Pilot, whose editor declared my style to be exactly the sort of material they were looking for.  Darrell sketched  a couple of illustrations, and I was in business.
     To get back to Fort Lauderdale and the McCLures, we settled down for a drink, and with a little coaxing, Darrell trotted out some of his latest art work. 
     "Here's one I got a big kick out of doing . . . have you ever heard of a guy named Ernest Gann?"
     "Have we ever heard of him!  We feel as if we know him!  We just finished one of his books a couple of weeks ago."
     Whereupon Darrell told us you have a new book coming out, with an excerpt appearing in the June issue of Skipper.  I've been watching the newsstands, but it hasn't shown up as yet.  Meanwhile, Ed has taken over the search for Blaze of Noon.  If luck is with us, perhaps you'll again be so kind as to autograph it for us.  We'll take care of the postage by enclosing a stamped manila envelope.
     If we aren't lucky, at least you'll know from this letter that the Malleys are still among your most devoted admirers.   We'll be looking forward to reading both the article in Skipper and your new book.

June 20, 1969
Friday Harbor, Washington
From Ernest K. Gann
Dear Mrs.. Malley‑‑or should I say the Flying Malleys:
     Thank you for your kind words about my writing.  It is particularly appreciated coming from you.
     I was amused at your meeting with Mr. McClure, whose work I have so long admired.
     Of course I'll be pleased to autograph a copy of Blaze of Noon if you find one.  Apparently there are still a few around. . .  .

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