Whenever I visited Tooele, I surely enjoyed visiting with Maxine! When I’d visit, I could sometimes tell she was reflecting on her past memories — of growing up in Tooele, and her time in the Philippines.
It was so interesting and fun to hear her talk about growing up in Tooele, which included her memories of my Uncle Joe, her high school classmate and good friend.
Maxine went “Missing” in the Philippines for a long time at the end of World War II. I’d tell her that in all, or almost all, of my uncle’s letters to my Grandma Kuchs (when he was in the U.S. Navy during World War II), at the end of his letters, he’d always include, “Mom, have you heard anything about Maxine?”
When I first called and spoke with Maxine many years ago on the phone, I related to her what my uncle would always include at the end of his letters.
After that, every year when I’d visit Tooele, I’d always visit Maxine and take her to lunch. We always had very good conversations. I wish now that I’d taped those conversations and visits.
It was hard, toward the end, when I’d visit. She didn’t remember who I was. But Maxine remained such a lady, so polite and still very well spoken.
I also still remember being “warned” by a close friend prior to my first visit to her home: “You be careful, Jim. You get close to her and she’ll put you to work!”
As I said at the beginning, she was a fine, tough lady.
I’m not sure if Maxine and my uncle were ever boyfriend and girlfriend in high school, but they were definitely close friends.
I asked that question of Maxine once and she replied they never were and always did things together in a small group.
When I went to visit with Maxine, I always felt like I was also kind of making that visit for my Uncle Joe. And I hope he appreciated me doing that.
When Joe Kuchs and Maxine had their Tooele High School reunion (I think it was their 50th reunion in 1982), I sure would have liked to have been a fly on the wall to hear some of their recollections.
I think Aunt Mary and my mom also enjoyed attending that reunion.
Please excuse my for rambling, but my uncle and I were very close. And when I’d visit with Maxine, it was almost like I was also re-visiting with my uncle.
I’m going to miss Maxine.
Crooked River Ranch