[Photo omitted. Caption: Norma Talmadge at Home]
Sometimes we are prone to forget that what used to be known as the modern female has "evoluted" from the severe type of a few years ago to one as sweetly charming as it is unembarrassed. It dons the attire of man with the innocence of babyhood, casts off its hair-pins and other like restraints and bubbles with the effervescence of perfect health. Such is pretty Norma Talmadge, the popular moving picture star in the solitude of her summer home.
Her summer home at Beechurst, L.I., faces on the bay, with nothing on earth to obscure the view save a few bushes of wild honeysuckle scattered here and there. And as she came down the steps to greet us attired in neat fitting black and white check riding breeches, brown sweater and other accessories, I felt the seriousness of my intended interview dissolve to the importance of a thistledown. I was face to face with a little girl who for the time didn't care whether a moving picture ever existed or not so long as she was allowed to ramble through her vacation carefree and undisturbed.
At her invitation we ensconced ourselves among cushions on easy chairs and couch hammocks and listened to and laughed at the prattle of a mere girl partaking the while of a dainty lunch. A tragedy had occurred in the Talmadge household that morning, one of Miss Talmadge's parrakeets had passed out. She fed it a chocolate drop, and at the moment of our arrival was tearfully wondering whether or not the blame for its untimely death lay on her own pretty shoulders. Its emerald mate drooped sadly in its cage nearby while its mistress turned over and over the problem of whether "he needed a wife of a husband," and to change the riding breeches for a modest pair or dark blue womanalls, then rambled off leaving the question unsettled.
There was much of interest to tell us of the radishes which she had picked in the back garden and had stuck back in the ground when she found that she had meddled too soon; and of her one ripe strawberry half of which had been devoured by an ant. There was the pathos of bug-ridden peach trees and grape vines which she "really must attend to, company or no company"; and so it was that we followed the lead of our own little picture star into the back with its pretty trellises and arbors, and stood patiently by while the tree spray belched forth its death dealing concoction or arsenate of lead and Bordeaux mixture.
She talked little of pictures and was beyond coercion past a certain point where she mischievously imitated the fashion in which she "heaved sorrow" for the camera in the old days, and referred to various other incongruities of her amateurish period. So one must be satisfied to read between the lines and take for granted that her realization of the progress of the art of moving picture making is as keen as that of those who make it a business to criticize rather than to act.
Miss Talmadge in her own home is charming, hospitable, and artless as a child. And except for the quick change of expression, of which her countenance is ever proclaiming capacity for, it would be hard to believe that she had ever heaved sorrow, real or artificial.
Last revised, June 28, 2002