Whatever Became of Eleanor

June 29, 2012

We attended Mrs Shippens Dancing School – which was originally held in an old paint shop…and you COULD still smell the turpentine …….I later learned it was the creme de la creme who  were allowed to send their children there from Fourth Grade through the 12th……(though my parents were FAR from la creme de la…..)…she eventually moved into a posher building in Georgetown…..

Mrs Shippens was this old ugly white  wrinkled turkey necked broad in a tacky floor length awful colored  dress usually with hideous ruffles on the bottom……….who use to stand in the middle of the room…boys sat in their suits on one side  and the girls sat in their “best”  .. the other …. and when she blew her whistle ..the boys would race across the room to select the most gorgeous girl…..and that would begin our lessons…oh I should preface this by saying Mrs Shippens said to us boys …if we came back next week with our shoes NOT shined…she would make us shine our shoes in the middle of the room before anything started….

well Eleanor and I were not the “P” (popular) ones…and always ended up with each other…she towered over me…was skinny…attractive…with dirty blonde hair that  fell  down to curl up before it hit  her shoulders…..she had this  long  soft blonde downy hair on her arms, her neck and ever under her lip……

She was the granddaughter of our Secretary of State under  President Eisenhower…and the strange thing years later when I moved to Los Angeles in my 20’s…I met his niece…who was 20 years older  than I …

(this was right after the movie “Mrs Robinson”)

….with whom I had a brief affair..

.SHE was the MOST Elegant woman (and had  the most stunning  jewelry)   I have ever met in my life…….her style…her meticulous taste…(she had been a Vogue model years before)…..she had been married 3 times…and actually was when I met her and living in the East…..her second husband was a wealthy Spaniard…..and they had the largest sailing  yacht in the Mediterranean called the “Weatherbird” with a crew of 6…… which they eventually  sold to the actor Peter Ustinov…..she was like the Duchess of Windsor but MORE attractive…..

when we started dancing school  in 4th Grade…all we had was a piano player…by the 12th Grade…we had a  pianist – a Black bass player and the saddest Italian  violinist…who always played with a white handkerchief between his chin and his violin…something I never understood as I never saw any violinist at the National Symphony performing in such a way…as I was sure chins don’t sweat…I put it down to his having lost his Casablanca lover…and when forced to play “their” song…he must have wept..

The last time I saw Eleanor…was when I went  back to DC for the grand holiday/debutante  events….which were often  held at the Sulgrave Club….which was quite wonderful…a Downton Abbey type feeling…with long sweeping down staircases..lined with Gilt framed portraits of long past prominent members ….that led up to a  many  crystal chandelier lit be-mirrored ballroom…all the women in opera gloves and long gowns…men in their tuxes…

Eleanor had lost all of her downy hair…was quite beautiful…..she actually looked like Jodie Foster…..still towered over me…..but we were like brother and sister for all the years we had  endured….


One Response to “Whatever Became of Eleanor”

  1. Jonathan Agronsky said

    Love your nostalgic blast from de past, Robbie. Sounds like U wuz a dangerous dude when jung:)

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