The Simplicity of Elegance

August 29, 2009

I have been rooting around in my garage all weekend trying to go through and throw out papers …..I have only been meaning to do it for 10 years…..

and you know when you go through old Memorabilia – old letters – old photos – it takes you back….to THAT period….that you forgot about….so I sat enthralled – but sadden by the wisdom of Age….at what I did not do – what I should have said……(sigh)

I would come up from the bowels of the garage to the kitchen to take a breather and watch the Kennedy Funeral – was sooo soo struck by the “wake” –

I learned soo much more about Ted Kennedy – and was truly touched –

Orin Hatch the Republican Senator from Utah – who is the polar opposite from my political views..

.well his rememberances about Teddy were probably the highlight for me…as how Teddy and he – at the end of the day became good friends who truly cared about each other – tho they totally view the world differently …..I truly was touched by Orin’s sense of humor….his wisdom…his weeping through his nose……

.I honestly learned A LOT by watching that wake…..

The closest I came to the Kennedy’s – was Jackie K’s mother…..Mrs Janet Auchincloss – who toured Stockholm with me in 1964 – with the Bohemans – Anders was a classmate – his father was the Ambassador to the US from Sweden ..and WHAT a house the Embassy was… DC

..I just remember that Anders’s family’s country home outside of Stockholm – had geese on a pond – well they all attacked me…nipped my heels to blood –

have been wary of geese ever since then…also I was extremely homesick – and would not eat much – but excuse myself from the dining table to go and throw up …..

also this was the time after visiting the Bohemans when I was alone in a train ….that was taking me to the northern tip of Denmark to catch a ferry to Norway to see an old friend and cook and well I guess you would call her an au paire (sp?)….. Lisa –

as I was sitting in this train… this soldier – dressed in his uniform sat next to me…zipped down his fly…..and started panting and rubbing ever soo gently my leg….

WELL …this was before I knew I was Gay……and the seats on the train were staggered so if you looked across the aisle – all you saw was the back of one seat…..I was SCARED to death…..and I was scared to scream…so I just bunched myself up…and tried to get closer to the window – pretending I was reading the Herald Tribune that was shaking in my hands…..

well he obviously Thank God realized he was getting nowhere – so got up at the next stop and pretended to get off – though I saw through my fogged up window – his getting back on the next car…which made me STILLL SCARED!!!!

well Jackie’s half bro and sisters Janet and Jamie Auchincloss – I met at many a debutante party later –

which reminds me of Mrs Shippens Dancing School – that I went through and most everyone else at St Albans had to….from 4th Grade through the 12…and then in college you would come back to go to girls Debutante parties and other soirees that Mrs Shippens had a firm hand on…

Mrs Shippens was this old – (well for a kid back then) – matron – overweight – glasses – (before contacs had been invented) – with a sparkley sensible floor length dress –

dancing school was usually on a Saturday night – in the 4th and 5th grade it was in a Wonderful old town house – in Georgetown – on the 3rd floor – VERY High ceilings

– but she only had a pianist…

in the 6th grade – she had to move….to an old paint store in a totally different area…where you could smell the fumes …it was like a joke to us – we moved from a palace to a one level ex-paint store..we all felt she was outta money….

..but at that time she threw in an alcoholic violinist ….who always had the saddest of eyes…and he put a handkerchief between his chin and the violin which made him look more pathetic…..will never forget Bobby Lanahan – a brown eyed beauty (F Scott Fitzgerald’s granddaughter) arriving – then leaving through the back door to meet a leathered man on a motorcyle…n she would disappear into the night on that Harley……I was good friends with her brother – Timbo – whom everyone at STA thought was weird as he would eat ants…but he had the best of Bday parties that his mom Scotty Fitzgerald Lanahan would throw in their LARGE house in Georgetown that had secret passage ways….

Timbo years later supposedly committed sucide……

as supposedly did Charlie Norton – whose father was like Assistant Secretary of the Navy ….and who for one of Charlie’s bdays had “The Sequoia”– a really old wooden ship/boat fueled up and at our classes disposal for a cruise up the Potomac – with all the Naval Officers running it … – I think JFK retired it when he came to office…. Charlie and I use to throw water bombs off the top of their Elegant Georgetown Townhouse…onto the traffic below.,..and needlessly to say we got severely reprimanded as there were some close accidents……..

.I think Charlie committed suicide – if that is what happened ..due to his being gay….but Timbo WAS NOT gay…well who knows as he was a bit of an odd duck….

Mrs Shippens was like a drill Sargent – BEFORE she started the evening – she would inspect all of the guys shoes – and if they were not SHINED…she called you out into the middle of the floor….where you had to shine your shoes in front of everyone…

the boys sat at one end of the room…the girls on the other…….and when it was time to get ready to dance – Mrs Shippens would drop her handkerchief..which meant GO!!!

and the guys would race across the room to get the hottest girl they could …needless to say …there were many a poor girls that were left as wall flowers – as for some reason there were more boys to girls…and then some of the guys also refused to dance with a “wall flower” …

for some reason Eldie Acheson and I ..well we ended up with each other…I liked Eldie – as she was a no nonsense girl – but she was taller than me – which she did not seem to mind – also – she was the only one that had a tad more hair on her lip and arms than the other boring “HOT” girls……we saw each other as years passed …

I just liked her down to earth essence..

I had a brief affair with whom I guess you would call Eldie’s cousin (?) Nona Ryder Acheson Allen

– Nona’s mother..or was it her aunt (I think) was married to Dean Acheson ( our Secretary of State) – who was Eldie’s grandfather……

Nona was probably the MOST ELEGANT – woman I HAVE EVER met…..she was married 5 times – and mistreated by many of her husbands – except the last Frederick Allen – who died of cancer

one of her husbands – a Mexican….. Maurice – last name escapes me owned the “Weatherbird” the largest yacht – in the Mediterranean at the time – that the English actor Peter Ustinov bought from him

he married Nona because of Dean being the Secretary of State…..but beat her……

my first lover Paul Millard introduced us…

when she landed in Houston – where I and Paul had a kite shop besides owning the one in BH (that David Donnelley so kindly helped us with)

Paul said WATCH – she will be carrying her Fabulous jewelry box….and sure enough she was…..

Her jewelry and antique furniture was just mesmerizing –

she ended up her days in a two bedroom flat in West Hollywood – basically with no money…she hawked ( sp?) the “Acheson” silver – I gave her one Christmas 4 grand to get it back – which she did …….

– but I can tell YOU …she HAD style..And was the most ELEGANT woman I have EVER MET

.. though .she was dying from cancer…. she would still be able to squeeze a few bucks out of her credit cards to throw a wonderful Christmas party…with all of her fabulous furniture ….Pine boughs interwined through her crystal chandelier….some old friend were carolers…..her caretaker passed the horsdoevres..(sp?) …

Going through the old papers in the garage I came across magazines that I found in the boat house at Forest Lodge that Aunt Mimi told me years ago …. I could take –

it was during the year 1934 – when Mom and Aunt Mimi traveled with Madame Diebold (sp?) their chaperone (sp?) to tour Europe…it was the period where Hitler was photographed and popular before he became what he did …I remember Mom and Aunt Mimi talked about how they would see the Nazis marching here and there when they were in Berlin – and they briefly saw Hitler…but this is 1934 – before the world or these two girls had ANY idea…of what would happen..

going through these old mags and musing on my earlier life –

I frankly LOVED getting Dressed – in Tie n Tails – for all of the Coming Out Parties I went to…because I frankly liked HOW women dressed …floor length – silky gowns – and to dance with them ..well I was IN HEAVEN ….as I just love to dance…..

at Forest Lodge – back in Mom’s younger days


– the women in their floor length dresses the men in ties and tails ….though it was in the middle of nowhere – it was just natural for Aunt Mary and Aunt Mimi to carry on the tradition of what they did in St Paul…..and New York …and Florida…..

Eldie came back into my mind due to all of this today… I Googled her…n found someone of the same name on Facebook – also found an article that said she was doing sumpin with Amtrak -one article said she was a lesbian another said she was Hillary’s roommate at college….

whomever she has become …I ALWAYS liked her….as she was a no bullshit girl….

so GET OUT OF YOUR SWEATS n dress for your partner….as the VISUAL …is part of Life’s memories!!!!

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