Howard Robard Hughes Sr. sent his son, Howard jr.only to the best and most prestigious schools possible. When he was old enough , Howard jr. went to
In 1916, when Howard jr. was 11, this unhealthy bond between mother and son was disrupted for the first time when he boldly asked to attend a boys camp in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. It’s founder was the much loved and well respected Daniel Carter Beard ( a former
Allene would send her many letters of concerns for Howard jr.’s health and safety to Beard even if there wasn’t a single real cause for alarm. After nearly 6 weeks away from home, Howard jr. became sun-bronzed and sturdy and even boated on
In 1919, when Howard jr.was 14, he attended South End Junior High (now San Jacinto High) in
Though he would stay only a year in Fessenden, it was here that Howard jr.was introduced to his lifetime passion. During a weekend visit he talked his father into taking him to a
There are so many what –ifs in history and if Howard jr.never left Thacher school after his mother died, he might have been a better man. Unfortunately, Howard Sr.’s obstinacy and selfishness made all his efforts in providing a good, solid educational foundation for his son go to a complete waste when he pulled him out of this school.
In September, 1921, Howard Sr. enrolled his son at
The prescription was working. But soon as Allene Hughes heard that his son had an insignificant boil and minor scratch from his horseback riding, she sent no less than Dr.H.T. Chickering of the Rockefeller Institute to examine Howard jr.’s condition.
Dr. Chickering’s diagnosis ,” I found Howard quite well and happy. He was not in the least ill.” On March 22, 1922, the bond between mother and son was forever broken when Allen entered the hospital for an operation to remove her tubular pregnancy . It was a relatively simple operation but she didn’t survive and died at the age of only 39. Howard Sr. was devastated. After Howard jr. attended the wake and funeral of his mother he went back to
Though sympathetic, Thacher was firm. “I feel it would be the very worst thing for this young man”, was his reply to Howard Sr.
Privately, Thacher who was an expert in redeeming spoiled young boys for 2 decades, believed that the academy was Howard jr.’s last chance to become a socially well-integrated young man.
In the months following Allene’s death, Howard jr. appeared to recover rapidly from his sorrows. His professors noted that, “his mother’s death seemed to have freed him from a great emotional burden”. One even noticed that his shyness began to abate.
Thacher fought Howard Sr. to keep his son in school through the end of the school year.
Thacher held a meeting with the teachers closest to Howard jr. and after listening to their counsel, he wrote Howard Sr. that his son “needs more than most boys the contact with other fellows such as he gets here.”
He added that, “I think your desire to indulge him in every way would probably be very hard for him to resist.”
Six Thacher professors signed a petition in an attempt to rescue Howard jr. It concluded that “This boy really needs to remain in school.”
In the poignant words of authors Peter Harry Brown and Pat H.Broeske (Howard Hughes” The Untold Story),”Thacher was trying to throw this emotionally churning student a life raft, but Howard Sr. was either too selfish or distraught to respond. He removed his son from Thacher anyway (on Christmas day, 1922).”
Had Howard jr. stayed on in Thacher, things might have been different. He would have been more equipped in handling problems and commitments. He would not have been the “avoider” that he was. But that one act of loneliness on Howard Sr.’s part , his obstinacy in getting his son out of school even before he was supposed to, his seemingly selfish desires to quell his sadness ,forever doomed his son into a troubled life of madness In the end it was Howard jr.who suffered through it all,dying of neclect like a beggar on the streets despite his billions. He would never be able to find love, though he courted and bedded so many beautiful women. His failures would haunt him and eclipse his triumphs.
Sherman Day Thacher was a man of vision and he was the first to really see the future for Howard Hughes jr. Unluckily for Howard jr., Sherman Day Thacher’s predictions all came true.