I've been reading some of Melville Jacoby's correspondence, and I found this little snippet that so well illustrates just how global World War II really was. "...You presume immediately that these foreigners are some of the Russians you have heard practically fill the streets of the Kansu capital. But they aren't Russians -- only more Norweigan youngsters. The third batch, in fact, coming through Moscow from Stockholm on their way to Canada and RAF training."
This quote comes from a July 11, 1941 letter from Melville Jacoby to David Hulbard, then Time Magazine's news bureau chief. It describe's Mel's visit to Lanchow during a visit to Northwestern China with Carl and Shelley Mydans.
What remains of the S.S. Melville Jacoby
I'm also in Los Angeles doing research and visiting some locations of significance to Melville Jacoby's early life. That also meant a visit to the wreckage of the ship once known as the S.S. Melville Jacoby was in order. Two friends of mine and I endured the unexpectedly long hike (more accurately described as a six-mile scramble around the rocky shore along the base of the Palos Verdes Peninsula) to find the ship's rusted remains.
Admittedly, the wreck is but a tangent to Mel's story, but a reminder of how historic artifacts linger in unexpected ways for decades, often far removed from their original context. Here are some more pictures of the wreck and the hike to visit it. These are just a hint of the sort of lengths to which I'll go to bring you a unique story. They're also fun, even if they don't have much to do directly with Mel's life.