This is the second part of my post about True Prepped and The Original Preppy Handbook...
Lisa Birnbach, True Prep, and part of my wife's world intersected in October, 2010 when Lisa gave a well attended lecture at the Manhattan club my wife is a member of:
From this point in 2010 I move back in time to the 1980 Preppy Handbook. As in my previous post, I have some topics that struck a chord with me.
First off, there's L.L.Bean. I visited the store in 1966 when I was in camp in NH and I chose a Maine fishing trip as a two day excursion. On the way to Boothbay Harbor we stopped at L.L.Bean which I had never heard of until that trip and I can still remember clearly how the store looked back then. This was long, long before L.L.Bean became the huge mail order and retail presence it is today. In those earlier days they had catalogs, but they simply weren't that well known. I found out when camp was over that my father not only knew of the store but he had a pair of the well known boots the store was best known for.
Public display of affection--I wasn't familiar with the phrase until my best friend at college mentioned it in a humorous way when we were walking down a street one day and noticed a couple kissing ahead of us. The Preppy Handbook had a brief discussion of PDA which I thought was quite clever:
The section of the book devoted to night life mentions the RISD Tap Room along with other bars in Providence I was aware of or had even been to. The Grad Center Bar was the only bar of the group listed I had never been to while a student. Naturally, with the drinking age at 21 the situation is quite different from my art school days when Rhode Island's drinking age was 18. RISD still has the Tap Room but as far as I know only non-alcoholic beverages are available in contrast to the '70s when alcohol was served.
Summer camps: as mentioned above, I went to a summer camp in NH and that camp was where I learned to canoe and improve my swimming abilities. I was introduced to mountain hiking and ocean fishing, as well. In addition, I improved my art skills due to the camp director's uncle who ran the art department.
In the Preppy Handbook several camps are mentioned including "Buck's Rock." In an interesting small world connection I have known all of the various owners of the camp since 1979 and at various times during that stretch of time have placed ads in The New York Times Magazine for the camp.
Vehicles--when the Preppy Handbook was published I owned a Ford Pinto, but a few years later bought an '84 VW Rabbit (GTI). I was fascinated to see the Rabbit re-introduced a couple of years ago by VW--probably a smart move on their part.
The section of the book about weddings had some relevance for me. The section speaks about getting your wedding announcement in The New York Times and in a recent post responding to the editor's open call about being single I discussed my own experience.
The illustration from the Preppy Handbook showing wedding gifts had some pieces that look a lot like some wedding presents we received, too, particularly the various pieces of china, the wine glasses, and the lamp:
As a result of getting married another entry in the Preppy Handbook became a store I visited and bought some clothing at over the years: Murray's in Nantucket. While my parents had been to island in their earlier years I first set foot on the island in July, 1987, six months after getting married. By contrast, my wife had been on the island every summer of her life (and because of that personal connection has seen the place become overbuilt and overcrowded--just ask OSer Steve Axelrod who lives there 365 days a year.)
This post wraps up my brief look at prep, The Official Preppy Handbook, and True Prep.
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