July 4, 2011

Washington, DC. Winter, 1970

Just my luck. My one trip to the White House had to be during the Nixon Administration. I was working at Brentano’s bookstore in the Mall at Short Hills and was told I had a call “from the White House.” Sure. Which of my friends was pulling a prank? No joke, as it happened. I was somehow selected (because I was editor of the Seton Hall University newspaper) to represent Catholic college students (imagine!) at a March of Dimes tea with First Daughter Tricia Nixon (right.) Between us, an actress named Kathy Garver, then popular as Cissy on a show I’d never seen called Family Affair. (Later I learned she’d played a slave child in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments! Wish I’d known that at the time.) I remember hunting around for any likely souvenir I could pocket, finally finding some matchbooks embossed with “The President’s House.” Tricia, we were told, was “under the weather” but would join us for photos...in that turquoise dress with those snaps! And look at the hair on those girls, every strand glued into place. Garver’s looks like a challah! I also remember staying in a budget hotel between the White House and Georgetown whose demimonde reputation was confirmed when the management woke me at midnight to ask if I was planning to stay the entire night. Our nation’s capital.

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine anyone more suited (and necktied) to represent America's Catholic Youth at a March of Dimes Tea at the White House with TV's primetime daughter "Cissy" and First Daughter Tricia Nixon. And Sandy makes three for tea! The moment you mentioned DeMille, I recognized her bright eyes as those of the little slave girl who sets Moses adrift in a reed basket and watches from the bulrushes. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/mqrg/images/03118_03-ic.jpg