Mae West: German Girl
• • Journalist Ruth Biery sat down with Mae in Hollywood — — not unlike the way she had sat down with Greta Garbo in the 1920s — — as a sympathetic listener who wrote mainly for movie magazines. "I have really loved only once," Mae has told me, as she has told others. But never before have I heard her say, "They always found a way to break me up with a man before it became too serious. I was not allowed to love, really love. My mother and then Timony — — "
• • Journalist Ruth Biery either was mild enough or persuasive enough to extract Mae's confidences. Or perhaps Mae was ready to confess: "You see, first it was my mother. If she thought I was falling in love, she'd stop it right like that. If I was liking a man too much or she thought a 'crush' was getting serious, she'd find a way. She knew me so well, she could always find a way. She wouldn't let me learn to love really. She wouldn't let me — — and now Timony protects me."
• • When little Mae was growing up, neighbors referred to her as "the German girl."
• • The daughter of Christiana and Jacob Delker, Matilda was born in December 1870 — — perhaps in Wurttemberg, Germany, speculates biographer Jill Watts, noting that Jacob Delker had been working there in a sugar refinery. In January 1889, 18-year-old Matilda Delker wed John West. However, she and her daughter Mae were really the love of each other's lives until Matilda died on 26 January 1930 at age 59. How terrifying it was for Mae during the winter of 1929, watching her mother's illness worsen. After Matilda died, Mae felt, "There wasn't anyone to play to."
• • "Courting Mae West" features interesting scenes dramatizing their relationship.
Courting Mae West
• • Photo: Mae West • • Matilda West • • 1927 • •