Gresham’s Salty Tongue

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 78, Autumn 1998 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

At a breakout session, Doug Gresham talked glowingly of Walter Hooper, saying that he defers to Walter’s “definitive” knowledge of the works of C. S. Lewis. Although Gresham downplayed how well Hooper knew Lewis (“Walter didn’t know Jack the man at all”), he backpedaled questions about whether Hooper exaggerated his relationship with Lewis. Gresham said that he isn’t sure that Hooper did exaggerate. Perhaps it was just his publishers. The charitable attitude Gresham exhibited toward Hooper, however, was nowhere to be found when it came to several people now dead. For instance, he said that Lewis’s housekeepers, Leonard and Mollie Miller, were corrupted by greed and always stealing things. He even accused them of feeding alcohol to Warren Lewis so that they could steal from him.

He also identified Sheldon VanAuken as one of the people who came “out of the woodwork” after C. S. Lewis died and exaggerated their relationship with Lewis. Finally, he said that although Warren Lewis “was one of the greatest English gentlemen,” he doesn’t think that he ever saw him sober after C. S. Lewis died — and he had a foul mouth when drunk. According to Gresham, Walter Hooper valiantly tried to protect Warren from himself by going to rescue him from pubs where he would get drunk.

Note: Hooper and Gresham are fellow employees of C. S. Lewis Pte. and do not criticize each other publicly. The Millers, VanAuken, and Warren all made statements that reflect badly on C. S. Lewis Pte.