Lea Lane has a wonderful story about Dear Abby which she posted yesterday. I left a comment on Lea's about having a classmate at art school who was a nephew of Dear Abby and Ann Landers. In addition, I left a second comment which mentioned how my wife sat across the table from Dear Abby in the late '70s at an elegant dinner and had a conversation with her.
A correction is in order regarding the dinner story: it was actually Dear Abby's sister, Ann Landers, my wife sat across the table from and I have her personal account below. Ann Landers' real name was Esther Pauline and Dear Abby's was Pauline Esther.
Many of you will remember my post about the Salon holiday party in December, 2011. It was my wife who attended and shot the photos that were used in the post including this photo of our fellow OSers and Kerry:
Cranky Cuss, Greg Correll, Nikki Stern, and Kerry Lauerman
So, here's another addition from my wife to my OS blog and, as mentioned above, it's her story about dinner with Ann Landers at an elegant fundraiser in Manhattan that is today's post.
File photo of Ann Landers from Wikipedia:
"In the late 1970's, when I moved to New York City, many of my parents' friends still lived there, and a few were helpful in introducing me to people my age and inviting me to events and parties, a number of which were fundraisers.
On one occasion, I was given a ticket to a benefit at the Waldorf-Astoria, most likely because the woman who originally bought it didn't want to go and figured I'd be a good substitute.
Low and behold I found myself directly opposite the woman known by then as "Ann Landers." Such is New York, where at least on one occasion you find yourself rubbing elbows with someone who's famous.
What I remember about the conversation is how for much of the evening Ann Landers complained that unlike most of the people at this event, she grew up without any advantages, chief of which was a summer home. She made this point repeatedly to me. I had a sense she felt I was also in this "summer home" class and yet I was a safe person to whom she could confide about this lack in her life, compared to other guests.
There was no reason, by the way, to bring such a topic up. I certainly didn't introduce it, nor did summer homes (or lack thereof) have anything to do with the evening's festivities or the reason for the fundraiser.
The event wound down, all those at our table started walking towards the exit. As we did, I saw she was going around to many of the other tables, by then mostly empty, and taking the little "party favors" -- consisting, as usual, of a small perfume sample -- which had been left behind by other guests.
She saw I was watching her, and made a comment like, "well, why not", since after all they'd only be thrown out or the hotel staff would take them.
I never saw her again, but that encounter sticks out in my mind not only because it was a "celebrity close up" but one which you could say was hardly flattering, especially since in this particular case, she made her reputation on offering a level of maturity and insight to those in difficult personal situations.
When I told the story to the woman who had given me the ticket, an old friend, by then, of my mother's and a fixture on Manhattan's social whirl, my "aunt" replied, "Oh, yes, Eppie," in tired, ironic tones, rolling her eyes. (Eppie was Ann Lander's nickname, obviously). They were both middle aged, divorced, and clearly in competition for the few single men of means in their age group."
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