Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A tribute to Katharine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy And to "Unconditional Lovers" everywhere... Yesterday, today and tomorrow...





The following are excerpts from her autobiography, Me-Stories of My Life, by Katharine Hepburn, with regard to her long standing, 27 year love affair with Spencer Tracy:

"It seems to me I discovered what "I love you" really means.  It means I put you and your interests and your comfort ahead of my own interests and my own comfort because I love you.
What does this mean?
I love you.  What does this mean?
Think.
We use this expression very carelessly.
LOVE has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get - only with what you are expecting to give - which is everything.
What you will receive in return varies. But it really has no connection with what you give.  You give because you love and you cannot help giving.  If you are very lucky, you may be loved back.  That is delicious but it does not necessarily happen.
It really implies total devotion.   And total is all-encompassing - the good of you, the bad of you.  I am aware that I must include the bad.
I loved Spencer Tracy.  He and his interests and his demands came first.
This was not easy for me because I was definitely a me, me, me person."

"At lunchtime they'd just meet and sit on a bench on the lot. 
They'd hold hands and talk
- and everybody left them alone in their little private world."
 
- Gene Kelly
"It was a unique feeling that I had for S.T.  I would have done anything for him.  My feelings - how can you describe them?  The door between us was always open.  There were no reservations of any kind.
He didn't like this or that.  I changed this and that. 
Food - we ate what he liked.
We did what he liked.
We lived a life which he liked.
This gave me great pleasure.  The thought that this was pleasing him.

Certainly I had not felt this way with my other beaus. I was looking for them to please me.  It is a very different relationship.  It's like a wonderful cocktail party.  But it ain't love."

"There is an enormous difference between love and like.  Usually we use the word 'love' when we really mean 'like'.  I think that very few people ever mean 'love'.  I think that 'like' is a much easier relationship.  It is based on sense.  A blind spot - 'love'."

"People have asked me what was it about Spence that made me stay with him for nearly thirty years.  And this is somehow impossible for me to answer.  I honestly don't know.  I can only say that I could never have left him. He was there - I was his.  I wanted him to be happy - safe - comfortable.  I liked to wait on him - listen to him - feed him - talk to him - work for him.  I tried not to disturb him - irritate him - bother him - worry him, nag him.  I struggled to change all the qualities which I felt he didn't like.  Some of them which I thought were my best, I thought he found irksome.  I removed them, squelched them as far as I was able."

"When he was sort of toward the end of his life - his last six or seven years - I virtually quit work just to be there so that he would't worry or be lonely.  I was happy to do this. I painted - I wrote - I was peaceful and hoping that he would live forever. "



"Someone asked me when I fell for Spencer.  I can't remember.  It was right away.  We started our first picture together and I knew right away that I found him irresistible.  Just exactly that, irresistible."


A Contemporary Love Song 

With The Same Message of Unconditional Love -

 Stand By You (my new favorite song...it may become yours, too!)




Stand By You - Lyrics
Hands, put your empty hands in mine
And scars, show me all the scars you hide
And hey, if your wings are broken
Please take mine 'til yours can open, too
'Cause I'm gonna stand by you
Oh, tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes
And hurt, I know you're hurting, but so am I
And, love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine 'til yours can open, too
'Cause I'm gonna stand by you
Even if we're breaking down, we can find a way to break through
Even if we can't find heaven, I'll walk through Hell with you
Love, you're not alone, 'cause I'm gonna stand by you
Even if we can't find heaven, I'm gonna stand by you
Even if we can't find heaven, I'll walk through Hell with you
Love, you're not alone, 'cause I'm gonna stand by you
Yeah, you're all I never knew I needed
And the heart—sometimes it's unclear why it's beating
And, love, if your wings are broken
We can brave through those emotions, too
'Cause I'm gonna stand by you
Oh, truth—I guess truth is what you believe in
And faith—I think faith is having a reason
And I know now, love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine 'til yours can open, too
'Cause I'm gonna stand by you
Even if we're breaking down, we can find a way to break through
Even if we can't find heaven, I'll walk through Hell with you
Love, you're not alone, 'cause I'm gonna stand by you
Even if we can't find heaven, I'm gonna stand by you
Even if we can't find heaven, I'll walk through Hell with you
Love, you're not alone, 'cause I'm gonna stand by you
I'll be your eyes 'til yours can shine
And I'll be your arms, I'll be your steady satellite
And when you can't rise, well, I'll crawl with you on hands and knees
'Cause I... I'm gonna stand by you

Even if we're breaking down, we can find a way to break through (come on)
Even if we can't find heaven, I'll walk through Hell with you
Love, you're not alone, 'cause I'm gonna stand by you
Even if we can't find heaven, I'm gonna stand by you
Even if we can't find heaven, I'll walk through Hell with you
Love, you're not alone, 'cause I'm gonna stand by you
Love, you're not alone
Oh, I'm gonna stand by you
(even if we can't find heaven, heaven, heaven)
Yeah, I'm gonna stand by you

"You don't pick who you fall in love with. There are so few people to love. It's hard for one adult to even like another. Almost impossible."         - Katharine Hepburn
"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get -- only what you are expecting to give -- which is everything. What you will receive in return varies. But it really has no connection with what you give. You give because you love and cannot help giving."                                                              - Katharine Hepburn


                             

"It is a great love story such as this that does not need to be spoken of, does not need words and can never truly, no matter how many times one tries, be denied.  Most certainly not conventional or traditional, this great love affair is a testament to the power of true love and the notion that, once one has crossed paths with one's soul mate, the force of that encounter may make it impossible not to be swept completely and utterly away..."                                                                               - This Glamorous Life Blog, By Joey Bailey

Kate is quoted as saying:  "Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get - only with what you are expecting to give, which is everything."  And give everything she did.  Spencer was married to Louise Treadwell, the mother of his two children, and as a devout Roman Catholic, he would not divorce her.

Nevertheless, Katharine and Spencer began a relationship that spanned 27 years. Outside of work, they were careful never to be seen in public and they were never photographed together. Despite this, they became one of Hollywood's most recognizable couples. 

They took great pains to keep their private life out of the spotlight.  Although Spencer had already left the family home, he never legally separated from his estranged wife.  Tracy soon settled into a cottage near Hepburn's Beverly Hills house.  Louise never did ask for a divorce, which was the only way that Tracy would end his marriage.

Louise Tracy was often quoted as having said, "I will be Mrs. Spencer Tracy until the day I die."  And indeed, she was.

Louise wanted the title.  Kate wanted the man.  They each got what they wanted.  Or closer to it than the alternative.  Close enough to make life better - not only "bearable", but actually pleasurable, each in it's own way.

“I didn’t need the title.  She could be ‘Mrs. Spencer Tracy’, that was important to her.  She had the children and she needed that.  I didn’t.  I was happy just to be with him.  Any little part of him, on any terms, his terms."
                 - Katherine Hepburn  


Hepburn's friends were stunned by the change in the woman they knew to be fiercely independent.  To them, Kate suddenly appeared to be morphing from a "dyed in the wool" feminist into what they perceived to be a submissive role, ceaselessly doting on and seemingly sacrificing everything (marriage, children and even some career choices) for Tracy.

Hepburn always vehemently protested such accusations, stalwart in her perception that it was not sacrificing when you truly love someone, as their happiness becomes the most important thing in the world to you.  Spence's happiness became Kate's happiness and it gave her great joy to bring whatever comfort she could to him, to soothe any heartache and bring as many smiles and as much fun as she could into his otherwise tortured life.  An unconventional viewpoint for the feminist, to say the least, but one she believed with all of her heart until her death at age 96 in 2003.







The random thoughts that possibly went through Kate’s mind at the beginning of their relationship:

You can tell me anything.
And yet, I understand, even without words.
But still…trust.  Communication. 
Is this fair?  No.  
Do we want it anyway?  Yes. 
A deep, far reaching (from long ago) desire and need to comfort, nurture, make things easier.
It’s not a burden.  
It’s an honor and a privilege.  
It’s called “unconditional love”.
A familiarity – like coming home.  
Oh, there you are!  I’ve been waiting for you – I just didn’t know it.
Grounded in the present, yet looking ever forward.    
This time need not be quite so horrific.  
Quite the contrary.  
We can bask with gratitude in every day, one day at a time, right now.
So what’s right and what’s wrong?
One thing need not have anything to do with the other. 
How could it hurt?  How could it help?
Don’t overthink it.


Click here for more info.: "Tormented by guilt and a family tragedy, why Spencer Tracy never left his wife for Katharine Hepburn"


The "unconditional love letter" Kate did write to Spence, 15 years after his death:



The "unconditional love letter" perhaps Spence should have written to Kate (and Kate - as well as any woman - would love to have received):

Dear Kath (his name for her),

Thank you doesn’t seem adequate, but since there are no words that can accurately express all that is in my heart, I will say thank you so much for bringing joy back into my life.  I say “back”, but it is joy as I’ve never felt before.  Laughter, love, passion and life as I’ve never known them.  Thank you for being my best friend.  Thank you for sharing my life as two halves that have become whole.  You are the one thing that has been missing from my life, for all of my life – until now – thank you for being here!   Thank you for making this the very best time of my life and for bringing me to life; not again, but for the very first time.

Thank you for making everything fun.
Thank you for making every day an adventure.
Thank you for loving me, incredibly, as much as I love you.
Thank you for sharing your life with me.

I love you talents, your heart, your intelligence, your perfectionism, your persistence, your sweetness, your tenderness, your warmth and your beauty – inside and out.  I love that you love me.

I love and appreciate your loyalty and your faith in me.  You’ve taught me the true meaning of “unconditional love”.  I know I can never find the words to tell you just how much that means to me.   

I love you.  More than I’ve ever loved and more than I thought it was possible to love.

What a blessing you are for me and how very much God must love me to have sent such a person to me!
I am truly blessed.  What a journey we are about to embark on.   I know you are grateful – as am I – as we should be!

Yours Forever, Love,
Spence


In total  Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made nine films together:

Woman of the Year (1942), Keeper of the Flame (1943), Without Love(1945), The Sea of Grass (1947), State of the Union (1948), Adam's Rib (1949), Pat and Mike (1952), Desk Set (1957) – pictured - and Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967) 






 "It's a force of life, sex, you can't deny the thrill of riding high, wide and handsome with someone you love," Kate later said of their affair. "The only thing is that age doesn't bring any sexual wisdom. You're just as confused 40 years later as you were when you first heard about it."- Katherine Hepburn