A few days later, the Ice Cream King of Waterville arrived in Medford with his wife, Anne, a new trench coat, and a plan. He rubbed the painting’s packaging and box with petroleum jelly to hide his son’s eyes. He attached a handwritten note. He wore a trench coat, a brimmed hat, and gloves. let’s go.
Three years after this escape, Whitcombe Rummell died suddenly at the age of 63. To his credit, his restaurant will be closed until the evening ice cream rush. His son Bill spent the next 30 years with Emery, rising to regional manager before retiring in South Carolina, where he died in 2015 at the age of 71.
But on this April Fool’s Day in Boston in 1969, a father and son shared an unforgettable moment. That was to load the stolen Picasso into his Chevrolet Impala.
Bill Rummel put on a black cap and sunglasses and drove to Boston, where his father instructed him to park on Huntington Avenue. His father got out of the car and carried the crate a few cars away.
Old Rummel loaded the painting into a taxi, handed the driver a $20 bill, and told him to deliver the package to the museum just down the main street. He returned to his son’s car and threw his coat, hat and gloves into separate bins on the way back to Medford.
The newswire service soon published a photograph of the museum’s notable director, Perry T. Rathbone, posing with a recovered Picasso worth an estimated $75,000, as well as a mysterious handwritten note that read: Spread the memo.
“Please accept this to replace some of the paintings that have been removed from museums nationwide.”