One day in 1956, Senator Saltonstall asked Brad Morse to get him some information from the Department of the Navy. Morse called Llewelyn Evans, the Navy‘s general counsel, and Evans put him in touch with a young lawyer on his staff. Morse later told Morin, “this guy was the brightest kid I ever talked to in the services. He had all the answers, came over to my office, told me exactly what I needed to know. And I was so impressed that I said, ‘how would you like to come to work in the Senate?’”
And soon thereafter, with the Senator’s enthusiastic support, Morse hired the Navy lawyer as Saltonstall’s legislative assistant. His name was Charles W. Colson.
Two years later, Morse left Saltonstall’s office to become deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration. Colson then moved up to become Saltonstall’s administrative assistant.
Colson had a mentor in the office — Dan Lynch, a red-headed Irish Catholic who had been Saltonstall’s legal assistant in Boston when he was Governor (even though Salty was an old Boston Yankee, he was beloved for his common touch with the people, many of whom were, at the time, Irish Catholic immigrants). It was shrewd of Saltonstall to bring a few of the Dan Lynches of the world into his circle. Dan Lynch had gone to Boston Latin with what was called the “Boston Latin School Mafia,” which included a man named Dick McGuire. They were all Democrats except Lynch, who was a “black sheep” in the neighborhood. At that time, Republicans were in control of the Senate, so Saltonstall was a very powerful Senator. Consequently, any time the Democrats wanted anything, they would go through McGuire to Lynch, and he would frequently go to bat for them with his boss.
During this time, Morse, Colson and Morin began to discuss the idea of starting a law firm. Morse had grandiose ideas about opening offices in Boston and Washington and New York, and looking ahead to Atlanta and Denver and Los Angeles and Chicago. The three of them were sitting over Scotch in one of the hotels up on The Hill, talking about the future. Morin said, “Brad, there are such things as bar associations in these states. And you know, it’s a little difficult to have – it’s not like an accounting firm.” Morse looked at Morin and said, “Carlos, details, just details.” Morse’s futuristic vision of a national law firms was indeed prescient.
Their nascent plans soon took an unexpected turn.
On September 10, 1960, the congresswoman from Morse’s district, Edith Nourse Rogers, died of pneumonia less than a week after the primary elections. She had won a special election to Congress after her husband’s death in 1925 and was the first woman elected to Congress from New England. Her death left the Republicans with no candidate on the ballot, which had already been printed for the general election. It was incumbent on the Republican State Committee to select a replacement candidate who would have to run on stickers against the Democrat, William C. Madden.
With Saltonstall’s blessing, Colson went to Massachusetts to meet with the state committee. They had already selected a short list of people, and Morse wasn’t on it; but Colson told the state committee, “There’s only one person that can win this election, and that’s Brad Morse, the senator’s administrative assistant.” Through sheer force of his personality, knowledge and powers of persuasion, Colson made a compelling case and the state committee bought it. The chairman of the committee at the time, Ralph Crossman, exuberant that they had a candidate that Colson assured them could win, said “We’ve got to get stickers printed right away!”
Colson’s reply: “I’ve already done that.”
With a good deal of strategic assistance from Colson, Morse beat Madden by over 20,000 votes with 54%.
At the same time that Morse was campaigning for the House seat, Colson was also running Saltonstall’s re-election race against Thomas J. O’Connor, the Democrat Mayor of Springfield. That year, John Kennedy was on the national ticket running against Nixon, and although O’Connor wouldn’t have been much competition under normal circumstances, the Kennedy aura and the burgeoning Irish Catholic vote in Massachusetts were troublesome to the Saltonstall camp. In fact, the Republican high command in Massachusetts wanted Saltonstall not to run at all – they didn’t want him to end his career with a humiliating defeat. Despite this, Colson talked his boss into running, but told him, “stay out of Massachusetts, I’ll run your campaign.”
One of the first things Colson did was to create a bumper sticker that was an exact copy of the Massachusetts number plate, which read “SALTY IN 60.” With Foster Furcolo as the Democrat Governor (himself having lost narrowly to Salty in 1956), the Registry of Motor Vehicles began threatening to ban the sticker for “public safety” reasons. But this was what Colson was counting on, a Democratic administration playing politics in a shameful manner like this. They caught on, one supposes, and abandoned the plan.
O’Connor began to make a big thing about debating Saltonstall. When the press asked Colson if the Senator would debate, Colson said, “The senator is too busy in Washington representing the people of this commonwealth to engage in debates with this young fellow.” He said, “if the man wants to debate, I’ll debate him on the steps of his own city hall.” O’Connor reluctantly agreed.
Unknown to O’Connor or the press corps, Colson had been the captain of the debating team at Brown. A debate occurred on the steps of Springfield City Hall, and Colson annihilated O’Connor. He revealed O’Connor to be totally unknowledgeable about the federal government and foreign policy. And at the end of the day, Saltonstall beat O’Connor by 330,000 votes while JFK beat Nixon by 550,000 – an amazing victory under the circumstances. Saltonstall was re-elected and at the beginning of 1961, according to his agreement, Colson then left the Senator’s office to join Morin in the fledgling firm of Colson & Morin.
Morin was no spectator to politics himself. In that same campaign year, Morin was raising money for his law school friend Ed Brooke’s campaign for Secretary of State. Two years later, he chaired the finance committee for Brooke’s campaign for Attorney General, which Brooke won. He also chaired the campaign for conservative Republican John McCarthy, who was facing off against the Yankee liberal Republican George Cabot Lodge in the primary race for the U. S. Senate seat that had been vacated by John F. Kennedy in 1960 and was being “kept warm” by Kennedy family friend Benjamin Smith until younger brother Teddy could reach the constitutional age for senator. McCarthy lost his race, and Lodge went on to lose to the 29 year old Edward M. Kennedy, who had beat Speaker John McCormack’s nephew, Edward J. McCormack, in the Democratic primary.
Initially, the firm of Colson & Morin was comprised of a small two-room office in Boston, and in Washington, they had a reception area and two small offices in the new VFW Building on Maryland Avenue. They had a secretary in each office, both of whom they frequently had to pay out of their own pockets. But due in large measure to Colson’s prodigious business development skills, things would quickly improve.
 This type of “thinking” by Massachusetts Republican leaders would portend the beginning of a long and relentless slide into virtual obscurity.
 It was during this nasty primary campaign that McCormack, himself the scion of a powerful political family, sniped to Kennedy, “If your name was simply Edward Moore instead of Edward Moore Kennedy, your candidacy would be a joke.”
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In the course of his scrambling, this time on the Charles River golf course, Morin made the acquaintance of Jay Lennon, the secretary and treasurer of Federated Fund of New England, a small mutual fund company based in Weathersfield, Connecticut that was owned by Lennon’s father, James E. Lennon. Lennon was a tall, handsome Irishman, a fabulous salesman with great charm and an even greater tenor voice. Lennon and Morin hit it off well, and soon Morin counted Federated Fund of New England as a corporate client – although at the time, he didn’t know a thing about mutual funds, relatively obscure investments that were regulated by the Investment Company Act of 1940. By 1955, the company had a modest $1.3 million under management and hadn’t grown much since its inception.
In that year, Jack Donahue and Richard Fisher, two young mutual fund salesmen from Pittsburgh, approached Lennon with the idea of buying into the company and growing it aggressively. Both were experienced fund salesmen for national leader King Merritt & Company. (Donahue had an uncanny nose for talent and character, and coaxed his high school friend Fisher away from his position as a Cadillac salesman to join him at King Merritt.) But they were chaffing at the bit to own their own management company.
In the course of their extensive negotiations with the Lennons, Donahue and Fisher were impressed with Lennon’s counsel – who only a short time earlier had admitted that he didn’t know what a mutual fund was, but nonetheless closed the transaction with expertise and class. Donahue and Fisher were joined by King Meritt sales manager Robert Word and his associate, Paul Warren. Another high school classmate, Tom Donnelly, became their legal advisor.
Given Donahue’s eye for talent, once the transaction was closed, he asked Morin to prepare the new company’s SEC registration statement. Thus began a personal and professional relationship that would expand, deepen and thrive until the day of Morin’s death.
The first Federated Investors registration statement, dated March 31, 1956, reflected net assets of $1,181,638, barely more than the $1 million minimum necessary for registration, and expenses for legal services in the amount of $300.
Federated’s early days were tenuous. Problems managing a national sales force that was paid commissions, frequently on income that did not materialize, left Federated dangerously undercapitalized. As broker-dealers in the securities business, they were required to maintain a certain ratio of debt to capital (underwriting debt could not exceed capital by more than 20 times). In the early days, they had difficulty maintaining the ratio. At one point, in order to meet its obligations and maintain the ratio, the executives stopped taking salaries and instead “borrowed” money from the company and gave promissory notes back, so that the notes would show up as assets instead of expenses. After a while, the notes payable to the corporation from its officers were the only “assets” the corporation had – that was its “capital.” Some SEC auditors reviewing their filings took issue with this, and Federated asked Morin to deal with the problem. Morin turned to his old law school companion, Brad Morse.
Morse had returned to his hometown of Lowell after graduating from law school. After serving as a private practice lawyer, business executive, law clerk to Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, and professor at Boston University School of Law, he won a seat on the Lowell City Council in 1952. In 1953, he was invited by Massachusetts Sen. Leverett Saltonstall to join the staff of the Armed Services Committee (which Saltonstall chaired). He was Saltonstall’s executive secretary and chief assistant in 1955, when Morin called.
Morin explained the problem. Morse called Sinclair Armstrong, who was then the SEC chairman, and asked that he see Morin. At that meeting, Morin laid out the issue, and Armstrong and his people listened politely, but in the end, they explained that he needed to go to the regional administrator – where he should have gone in the first place.
While this problem simmered, another fire was smoldering to life. From its earliest days, Federated was involved in a program of selling investment plans to enlisted soldiers on military bases around the country (as Donahue had done in his very first experiences in the business). They had worked out an automatic payroll deduction plan where any enlisted man could have $20 a month taken from his pay and invested in this mutual fund program. Some of the Army brass didn’t like it and began creating political problems through the Pentagon, and Federated asked Morin to help them with that problem as well.
It was time for Morin to visit his old Army boss, General Hickey. He took the Federated people down to Atlanta to get some “advice” from the General. In the course of the meeting, Hickey told Morin’s clients about his childhood missions on Roxbury Hill, and informed them that his battlefield companions, Denny Delaney and Phil Kendrick, just happened to be regional commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and regional administrator of the SEC, respectively.
Would General Hickey be so kind as to arrange a meeting with Regional Administrator Kendrick? Hickey picked up the phone, called Kendrick and asked him to see Chuck Morin.
Morin was very soon sitting in front of Kendrick. The first thing he asked Morin was, “how well do you know Tom Hickey?” Morin spent fifteen minutes recounting their years in the war together.
Kendrick said, “Why didn’t you come to see me in the first place instead of going to see those guys in Washington?”
Morin said, “You know about that?” And Kendrick assured him that he had heard all about the Washington meeting.
Morin explained the whole problem with Federated’s “capital” consisting of promissory notes from its officers. Kendrick look at Morin and said, “I’ll tell you what – I’m going to ask you a question and if the answer is ‘yes,’ you’re alright, and I want you to give me an honest answer.”
Kendrick asked, “Are those notes good? Are they going to be repaid?”
Morin swallowed and said “yes.”
Kendrick said, “Fine, now get out of here. But not until we finish talking about Tom Hickey.”
And Morin stayed with Kendrick for another hour or so, swapping tales about their adventures with Gen. Tom Hickey, the child and the man.
So Morin’s meeting with his old General solved two problems at once. But there would be more skirmishes with the SEC down the line.
 New Horizons – The Story of Federated Investors, Jeffrey Rodengen (Write Stuff Enterprises, 2006), p. 18.
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In 1951, as his law practice was beginning to bloom and Betty was pregnant with their first child, Charlie received a telephone call from an old Harvard classmate, Doug Pernie. Pernie worked for the CIA, was aware of Morin’s stint in the South Pacific and wanted Charlie to run the Philippine desk of the Central Intelligence Agency. Never one to say no to his country, he moved his then-pregnant wife to Alexandria, Virginia and became a “G-man.” The principal mission at the time was to rid the Philippines of the growing threat of communism, embodied in the burgeoning rebel movement of Hukbong Magpapalaya ng Bayan (“the Huks”). The Huks were gaining power under the increasingly corrupt administration of President Elpidio Quirino, and the United States considered it in their best interests to quash this rebellion and install a new President who was friendly to American interests.
Under the leadership of the staunch anti-communist psywar specialist, Colonel Edward Lansdale, the C.I.A. recruited Ramon Magsaysay, Quirino’s Defense Secretary, to run for President. Morin and fellow agents Elger Ellis and Joseph Smith devised Magsaysay’s campaign plan, which was funded by the C.I.A. and American corporate interests in the Philippines. Morin’s participation was from C.I.A. offices in Washington, so it would be unlikely that he was involved in some of the more bizarre efforts of Lansdale’s campaign. Rather, Morin was involved with the more conventional political campaign strategies employed in electing the popular Magsaysay, including such things as writing and recording campaign jingles which were then relentlessly played through car-mounted loudspeakers as the vehicles moved through the countryside. “The CIA ran Magsaysay’s campaign as if the agency were the Republican or Democratic National Committee and he were its man for the White House.”
Besides the jingles (which he could still sing in his 80’s) Morin spoke little of the details of this part of his life. Whatever his involvement, the CIA’s mission was accomplished, Magsaysay was elected President, and in 1953, Morin brought his wife, now the mother of two children, back to Boston where he resumed his legal career.
By the mid 1950’s, Morin was back to building his law practice in Boston, struggling like many other lawyers in the city after the war. One of his clients at the time was Francis D. Burke, a young law school graduate who was beginning a real estate development business. Frank knew that, like himself, Charlie was scrambling to pay his bills, but nevertheless he observed that Charlie always “looked like he had a million dollars in his pocket and was on his way to pick up a second million.”
 “The U.S. and the Philippines: In Our Image,” PBS series produced by Andrew Pearson and Eric Neudel, 1989.
 Philippines Center for Investigative Journalism, “With a Little Help From Our (U.S.) Friends,” 2004. (http://www.pcij.org/imag/2004Elections/Campaign/consultants2.html)
 According to one account, “In an area thought to be harboring a team of Huk guerrillas, Lansdale’s ambushers snatched a peasant one night, punctured his neck with two holes, vampire-fashion, hung the body by the ankles to drain it of blood, then put the corpse back on the trail. When the peasants found the toothmarked bloodless corpse, the entire Huk unit moved away. The novelty of these games amused Lansdale, who slyly passed them on as combat anecdotes, enchanting his CIA superiors…. Lansdale’s experiments were given top priority.” The Marcos Dynasty, Sterling Seagrave (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 145.
 Waltzing With a Dictator: The Marcoses and the Making of American Policy, Raymond Bonner (New York: Times Books, 1987)
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Tags: charles morin, CIA, Edward Lansdale, Hukbong Magpapalaya, Huks, Ramon Magsaysay
After graduating cum laude in June of 1948, Morin was sworn in to the Massachusetts Bar on October 14th and joined his father and brothers at Morin & Morin, housed in a small office located at 44 School Street in the shadow of the Old City Hall. As Morin later recounted, “it was a family firm, and in those days, you took what came in the door. You became an expert in a hurry. So I tried cases in the tax court and got to be a good tax lawyer, maybe one of the best in the city of Boston.”
At the outset of his practice, he was lecturing on estate and gift taxation at B.U. One of his students was William Schwartz, who became Dean of the law school some thirty years later when Charles’ youngest son was enrolled there. Morin regarded Schwartz as “the smartest lawyer I ever met,” and confided to his son that Schwartz “had been gracious enough to wait until the class was over to tell me where I made my mistakes.”
When the law school was moved from Ashburton Place to the main campus on Commonwealth Avenue, Morin stopped lecturing and “got serious about the practice of law.”
According to Morin, his specialty was “anything that came in the door,” and he meant it literally. In one instance, he was hired by a Portuguese potato farmer from Fall River to defend him against a prosecution by the I.R.S. for tax evasion. At their initial meeting, Morin had driven to the farmer’s home, and upon reaching the front door, observed that the door was nailed shut. The farmer tapped on the window and motioned him to the back door into the kitchen, where the farmer explained that in the Portuguese community the only people who come to the front door are salesmen and tax collectors.
So the story went, in cleaning out the ash bin at the bottom of his chimney, the farmer had discovered a tin box containing a large sum of cash. He had dutifully reported the cash as income on his tax return (a fact that earned him Morin’s immediate respect, almost reverence). In response, the Service sought to audit him for prior years under the theory that this “sudden windfall” was an attempt to avoid taxes on prior years’ income.
At the trial, Morin employed the “cash hoard” defense, in which the taxpayer must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that he did, indeed, discover a cash hoard. With his client on the witness stand, he produced the dusty old ash bin from a paper bag (creating, with intent, a thick gray cloud of dust in the courtroom) and sought to have the farmer identify it so that it would be admitted into evidence.
The tax court judge, Marian Herron, loudly objected. “I’m not taking that filthy old thing back to Washington with me!” she yelled.
Morin was insistent. “Your honor, you have no choice, it’s evidence!”
Judge Herron threatened Morin with contempt of court. Morin’s reply: “If you refuse to accept this into evidence, you cannot find me in as much contempt as I will have for this court!”
The judge relented, as she was compelled to do. At the end of the session, as Morin was leaving the courthouse via a back hallway, Judge Herron entered the corridor from her chambers, dusty paper bag in hand.
“Mr. Morin,” the federal tax court judge said to him as they walked along, “has anyone ever told you you look like Clark Gable?”
Months following the trial, Judge Herron ruled in his client’s favor.
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Upon returning to Boston, Charles sought admission to Harvard Law School. Dean Warren Seavey, who Morin described as “particularly pompous,” was unimpressed with his meager captain’s rank and academic mediocrity and suggested that he repeat his senior year and strive for improvement. But that didn’t appeal to Morin, who knew perfectly well the reason for his mediocre grades and, unlike many of his contemporaries, did not look upon admission to Harvard Law School as the sine qua non of accomplishment.
Morin instead entered Boston University Law School under the GI Bill. There he joined a class that included other future luminaries: Edward Hennessey (Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court); F. Bradford Morse (Massachusetts Congressman and United Nations Ambassador), and Edward W. Brooke, the first African American to be elected to statewide office in Massachusetts (Attorney General) and the first African American in the country to be elected to the United States Senate. Also in his class was Robert Kent, a brilliant man who had also been in Morin’s Harvard class, although they hadn’t met. Kent later became a revered professor of Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure at Boston University and Cornell.
Morin and roommate Morse worked and played hard. They excelled academically, covering the three-year curriculum in two, with a week off between semesters. They were admitted to the Law Review where they served in various editorial roles, and passed the bar exam before they graduated. All the while, they threw nightly beer parties in their apartment. Years later Morin would advise his youngest son, Peter, who was about to enter B. U. Law, to go out for “one beer” at the end of every study night. After his first semester, Peter asked his father if it was true that he and his friends had limited themselves to one beer. “Well, maybe two,” his father allowed.
When not in class, Morin and his pals spent time eye-witnessing the practice of law: the school was then located at Pemberton Square in the shadow of the Commonwealth’s trial and appellate courts. The classmates often took front row seats in the courtrooms to watch the best trial and appellate lawyers perform before judge or jury. Another day they hustled across the street to the gallery of the House Chamber to watch Thomas P. O’Neill become the first Democrat Speaker of the Massachusetts House. Although Morin worked in the Republican trenches, he and O’Neil would become good friends, and they would do each other many favors over the next fifty years (for a short while, Morin employed Tip’s eldest son, Tommy). Many years from that day, after both had toiled from opposite sides of the aisle in Washington, O’Neill saluted Morin on his 70th birthday with a letter saying, “Old pal, may you live as long as you want…”
Morin spent some of his law school time honing his golf game at Charles River Country Club, where his father was a member. He used this time shrewdly, insinuating himself into games with Federal Circuit Judge Calvin Magruder or Harvard Law School Dean Erwin Griswold, both pre-eminent legal minds in the country. During a round with Griswold one day, Griswold confided that his wife, Harriet had suffered a disabling stroke several years earlier.
“In the first year of her illness,” he told Charles, “her medical expenses exceeded my total gross income. I mentioned this over lunch one day to Randolph Paul [then the General Counsel of the U. S. Treasury Department-ed.]. Paul was astonished, and soon the tax deduction for medical expenses became law. Ironically, because of the one percent deductible feature [referring to the provision that only expenses exceeding one percent of adjusted gross income could be deducted-ed.], my own increase in earning power and the stablization of Harriet’s condition, I never was able to benefit from the deduction — not one dollar! And I hope you never will suffer the same fate.”
As it turned out, many years later, Morin’s wife, Betty, would have a stroke, and in light of the stratospheric costs of medical care in this day, Griswold’s wishes for Morin’s good fortune were not realized. Ironically, Mrs. Griswold would go on to outlive her husband, who died in 1994 at the age of 90.
Golf became a vehicle for Morin to expand his social circle and clientele at the same time. It was at Charles River during the 1940’s that Morin first met Charlie Shriner, one of three sons of the French Shriner Shoe family. From inception, they were kindred spirits, and they became fast friends for decades until Shriner’s untimely death in 1980. Morin served as counsel to the French Shriner Shoe Company, and their respective youngest sons have remained fast friends through their adulthood as well.
While he and Morse shared an apartment on Joy Street, Morse dragged Charlie along one night to a beer party at an apartment on Pinckney Street rented by his acquaintance, Elizabeth Donnelly, and several of her fellow Smith College alumnae. Charlie told his sons fifty years later, “It was love at first sight.”
“Betty” Donnelly was a Worcester girl, the daughter of James Corcoran Donnelly, a Superior Court judge. And she was quite the hell-raiser herself. She came from a strict Catholic family, ridden by an overbearing mother against whom she rebelled. Her move to Boston following graduation marked her full emancipation from the grasp of her mother, which he relished, as demonstrated by at least one Notice to Quit for “repeated disturbances and annoyances to the other tenants.”
Between her exquisite looks and her joie de vivre, Charles knew he’d found his soulmate. He would tell his friends over fifty years later, “The moment I saw her I knew we were destined to be together.” And so, in the midst of his law studies and golf, Charlie squired Betty around town in his Ford two-seater, over to the South End to the jazz jam sessions at Southland Restaurant, or out to Seiler’s Ten Acres in Framingham, to take in the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, and whoever else on the jazz circuit was rolling through town.
He also took her to Sunday dinners at his parents’ new home in the Chestnut Hill section of Brookline. During these dinners, Betty didn’t always impress her future in-laws. For one thing, she was not much of a dessert fan. At her very first introductory dinner with George and Margaret, after their maid/cook “Reeva” delivered dinner to the table, Betty was dismayed to see her plate occupied by two small potatoes, a smattering of green beans, and one tiny slice of pot roast. What had Charlie not prepared her for? After dispatching this snack, she thought to ask for seconds, but demurred. She soon discovered why the meals were so meager.
After the light repast had been cleared, Reeva placed a strawberry shortcake the size of a hatbox in front of George. George raised the cake knife and looked at her. “Elizabeth?”
“Oh, no thank you,” she said. “I’m not much of a dessert person.”
An awkward silence followed as Reeva slunk from the dining room.
Charlie’s father had an enormous sweet tooth. Reeva’s prize creation was her strawberry shortcake. They had asked her to make it especially for Betty’s first visit.
She had managed to insult her host and his cook in one sentence.
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Tags: boston university, bradford morse, charles morin, elizabeth donnelly, erwin griswold
After graduating from Harvard in 1943 with three C’s and a D, Morin joined the Army, O.C.S. He was sent to Fort Sill in May of that year, and in July he joined the 42nd Division at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. Two months later, he was transferred to the 10th Corps, Artillery to serve as an aide to General Thomas Hickey, and they shipped out to New Guinea, then Leyte (Philippines) from July, 1944 to January, 1945. He followed Hickey to the 31st Division and served in Morotai and Mindanao until his discharge in June, 1946. During all of their time together, Colonel Hickey became like a father to Morin. He had grown up in the Roxbury section of Boston, where as a youth he’d led “charges” to drive the British off Roxbury Hill. His two childhood lieutenants in those exercises, Denny Delaney and Phil Kendrick, would be asked by Hickey to help Morin out years later.
Buried deep in Morin’s personal papers was an old manila folder full of documents from the Philippine days. Copies of American and Japanese psychological warfare fliers, propaganda from the Department of Defense press office, a field map of Mindanao with troop movements marked in black, carbon copies of the official documents that marked the surrender of the Japanese, Morin’s enlistment and muster orders. A card designating Morin’s berth # on the ship carrying them home (“Gen Hickey’s Qtrs,” noted in pencil).
And an envelope with his name and Arlington, VA address, set out in a meticulous cursive hand. Inside the envelope were several letters from a young Filipino woman, written on lined yellow paper, and a photograph.
The photo depicted the woman standing outside of a doorless hutch, presumably somewhere in the Leyte countryside. Charles sat on the stoop of the doorway, looking somewhat sad – like he didn’t want to be photographed. A tall, shirtless
American soldier grinned from the doorway, next to a small Filipino male.
The letters were lengthy and newsy, written with perfect English grammar in that precise script. The young lady expressed her effusive admiration and affection for Charles and his fellow soldiers, and her gratitude “for all you have done for my brother and I.” Was it simply that the US troops had rescued them from the clutches of Communism? Or something else? Had Charles and his companion done something for these two siblings? How did they become acquainted? The mysteries endure.
Charles kept the letters and photo, and never mentioned them to his sons.
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[Ed. note: Thanks to some late-breaking new information from cousin Michele (Morin) Shoemaker, certain corrections and additions have been added to the original text
Charles Morin was the youngest of three sons of George Albert Morin and Margaret Sullivan. George Morin was the son of a French-Canadian immigrant, a taciturn and inscrutable man who spoke little, but by example, taught them discipline, loyalty and probity. For a time, George served as a civil service attorney in the Bureau of Internal Revenue and drafted significant portions of the Tax Code revisions that were adopted in 1934. He subsequently moved to Boston and opened one of the city’s first law practices specializing in federal taxation. His success allowed him to acquire a substantial country estate in Weston, where he raised his three sons, George, Phillip and Charles. During Charles’s childhood, despite his favorable circumstances as a “rich kid,” his closest childhood friendship was not with others of wealth or social status, but with the nearby son of a struggling local handyman – with whom he remained in contact throughout his life, corresponding with him well into his seventies.
Charles was exceptionally precocious. He completed the Weston High School curriculum in three years at the age of 16, also as a skilled football player and concert violinist. He applied and was accepted to Harvard for the following fall, but his mother disapproved of such a young boy going to college. His father took him up to Exeter Academy where he interviewed with “Principal” Lewis Perry. During the interview, Principal Perry informed young Morin that if he came to Exeter he would have to take Latin.
“Why,” the young man asked.
“Because you will not be admitted to Harvard without it,” the elder Perry answered.
To that Charles responded, “I don’t want to take Latin and they accepted me this year without it, why wouldn’t they accept me next year?”
The Headmaster regarded the young man keenly, Morin returning the gaze with a whimsical look.
Principal Perry acknowledged that he didn’t need to take Latin, and the following fall Charles was off for his post-graduate year at Exeter.
There, he excelled at his studies, football and tennis for sports, and classical violin. He graduated from Exeter with Honors and entered Harvard the following fall of 1939.
Harvard brought out the mischief in Charlie Morin, although precisely how it was expressed remains a closed secret. He corresponded with several of his classmates well into their retirement years, but they all declined my invitation to reminisce (or wished they could but were past remembering). They all assured this author, however, that he was a “hell-raiser,” and they said it with marvel and affection. His sons saw plenty of evidence of that truth in the later years.
Morin’s relationships with his siblings are a matter of some mystery. He never spoke of his brothers to his sons. Decades later, a few frayed threads of the discord would emerge. First among them, as Phillip’s wife had told her daughter, mother Margaret assiduously encouraged her sons to compete against each other. This might not have been of too much consequence, but for the fact that the oldest brother, George, contracted Multiple Sclerosis. To provide for his care, their father established three trusts for the sons, with all of the income from each going to George’s medical care until he passed away. While Charles and Phillip certainly had no problem with this, it caused some friction between their wives after George and Margaret had passed. Since they could not fight over money, the object of their disputes turned to the personal property of the Estate, and thus ensued the age-old bickering of in-laws over who got what. Being one of the co-executors (with George), Charles devised an elegant solution: All of the personal property of the Estate was placed in storage, indefinitely. In fact, it was not until the 1990’s that the grandchildren were invited to rummage through the goods. After brother George passed away, his children called Charles, looking to continue the gravy train. Charles shut the door to filial duty for good.
Another source of friction between Phillip and his little brother (whom Phillip called “Peanut”): during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, when the three brothers and their father practiced law together, some latent hostility arose over the claim that Charles had been “poaching” Phillip’s clients. Whether Phillip and Charles ever spoke about it is unknown, but Phillip did tell his wife.
Fortuitously, it would turn out that in 1995, Charles’ youngest son Peter would move to Scituate, Massachusetts, where Phillip raised his family in an old country farmhouse. At the time, Phillip was beginning to fail mentally, and his eldest son, David (a pediatrician) and his wife were caring for him. David would become the doctor to Peter’s two children; David and his younger brother Christopher would join Peter and Charles Jr. for barbecues at Peter’s home, and the family rift would be mended. Neither David nor Christopher had any better insight into the rift between the two brothers.
If Charles Morin held any animosity toward his siblings, he never spoke about it to anyone but his wife. He was inscrutable in that way. Toward the final decade of Charles’ life, Phillip would enter the picture one last time.
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