Arthur MacArthur, age 12: "I'll march to my own drummer." No one knows where he is.
Photo from the collection of Oscar Roloff.
by Oscar Roloff
In 1950, a colleague and I were the two-man press team for VADM Turner Joy, Commandar Naval Forces, Far East, in Tokyo, Japan. Our top boss was the flamboyant General Douglas MacArthur, who ruled from his high Tokyo tower over his family, friends, and foes. No one dared challenge his dictates.
One day, he ruled that his son, Arthur, 12, would take a warship ride from Yokosuka to Tokyo. Col. S.C. Huff, aide de camp to the General, was ordered to go along and watch the kid's every more, to protect him. During this stint, my colleague boarded the ship to take photos. I took some, too.
I watched the lad, who seemed entirely uninterested, ill at ease, as he sat on a forward bitt. No sailor was allowed to talk with him. His dad had ruled his son would go to West Point, become a General, and possibly some day be awarded the Medal of Honor as his Dad and Grandpa had received for bravery.
As I studied the lad, and later took down the file folder of the photos we had taken, I studied them and came to the same conclusion. The kid wanted to march to a different drummer--not his Dad's drum. He was a sensitive lad, one who had his own ideas of what he wanted to do, wanted to be.
Having a Degree in Psychology, we studied many such cases where children rebel against strict parental decress. Thus, I put Arthur in that category.
I found that there were two search groups trying to find Arthur. In 1961, he had graduated from Columbia University, then changed his name and completely disappeared. Some say he might be a Wall Street businessman, in the performing arts, or possibly music. No one knew for sure. For a stipulated sum, one group said they could find him. I'm not that interested.
In my many years of writing, I've used the "Magic of Believing" and I've had excellent results. Only believe, and it will come true.
I want to dispose of Arthur's photos. He's now 58, and the photos are fading. I have scads of such old photos. They must go, too. Soon my writing will end.
Here's my plan: I'll send copies of this article to the two search groups back East. They'll look at them, think about the photos, and somehow messages will flow outward. Only believe.
Then somehow, in the magic of believing, one day not far off, I'll receive a post card with this message on it: "Hello. I remember you. I'm the former Arthur. Destroy the photos. That part of my life is over." That's all.