Lea Lane

Lea Lane
Florida, USA
August 26
author, Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks, available at Amazon.com and on Kindle
“I’ve discovered the secret of life,” Kay Thompson, the eccentric entertainer and “Eloise” author, once said. “A lot of hard work, a lot of sense of humor, a lot of joy and a lot of tra-la-la!” And that's been my life: As a travel writer for over 30 years, I've been around the block (more like around the world), and I write true stories about interesting people and places. (Check out my travel site, Travels With Lea.) I've lived an unconventional life in conventional trappings. Been a corporate VP, worked with foster kids, acted in an Indie ("Nurse 1"), was on Jeopardy!. I've been managing editor of a travel publication, written for the Times, and authored books. OS is my home, but I also blog on The Huffington Post, and I've contributed (mostly anonymously) to everything from encyclopedias to guidebooks. Married young, divorced late; married late, widowed early, I dated lots in-between -- and survived a scary illness. After being happily, peacefully solo for many years, I'm now happily married again. I founded and still edit www.sololady.com, a lifestyle Website for single women. I'm truly grateful for each precious day, each well-earned wrinkle, my family, my cat. Truth, laughter, friendship, late love. And this blog -- on this wonderful site!

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Editor’s Pick
JULY 30, 2010 7:56AM

Chelsea, I Still Haven't Received My Invitation!

Rate: 59 Flag


the bride, who didn't invite me

Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea. I know your guest list is whittled to only 400 or so lucky souls. I know that you aren't inviting many donors and celebs to your wedding. Not even the current occupant of your former house.

But, I mean, we lived a few minutes away from each other, off Bedford Road! I hung with you when you came to Chappaqua, like a favorite aunt. You confided in me when no one else was talking to you.

Ok, it was only one time, for 10 minutes, about 10 years ago when your family was moving in.

But our connection goes back before that, and you may not know it. Let me explain, if you can take a minute from wedding plans, and see if this may change your mind:

For his second (sincere) apology about Monica Lewinsky, your dad, President Clinton, quoted from the prayerbook my husband Chaim Stern wrote. The media descended on our house. Networks called. The New York Times wrote a profile of Chaim. Your dad sent us a copy of his speech and a gracious note. So that's our first connection.

A year or so later when your parents bought their Dutch Colonial in Chappaqua, Chaim and I were invited to a small "welcome to the neighborhood" potluck dinner party in their honor. The hostess said that Hillary had asked we be included. We were surprised by your mom’s thoughtfulness and by her savvy in remembering that we lived there.

We arrived with a bowl of hot artichoke dip on a cold January night, right before your dad's next-to-the-last State of the Union address. We were warned this was to be a relaxing, neighborly event, and to dress down and act casual. No reporters would be there, no beltway bloviators. Most of the few guests were skeptical Republican neighbors.

Your parents arrived with a small meat casserole and some big Secret Service guys. And you too, Chelsea. You, the first daughter, had blossomed from a curly-haired teen with braces into an attractive young woman.

You confided to us that you were really excited that for the first time you would have your own room, in your own house. (The White House was, after all, a short-term rental.)

Neighbors were swarming around the president and first lady, and you were standing by yourself, smiling that pretty smile. So we talked of politics, your dad, your mom. It was obvious how much you loved them, and how proud you were. 

Your dad, nicely filling a sky-blue sweater, worked the room, dispensing charm and soaking up basic info: "Where's the best deli? Where should I walk Buddy?" (Poor Buddy was soon to be killed by a car on the road we suggested. I'm really sorry. In fact, maybe that's why I was overlooked as a wedding guest!)

The chat Chaim and I had with the president focused on things local, and we all went along with it as naturally as possible, considering we were chatting about septic tanks with the most powerful man in the world.

And then there was your mom. Would she be the cold witch portrayed in the media or the warm woman people who had met her raved about? Turned out she laughed that big laugh, and seemed to listen when we talked, and even the skeptics and die-hard Republicans found her appealing.

Nobody wanted to be uncool and ask for a photo-op, but when one neighbor slyly brought out a camera and asked for a photo, the rest of our cameras came out, like mushrooms after a rainstorm.

Chaim had brought a disposable, and I posed with the president, with his arm around me. And we smiled and stood there ... and stood there, for what seemed like a full minute, and for some reason Chaim couldn't get the camera to work and frankly I didn't think it was that weird to have Bill Clinton close to me. He was known for just that!

Finally the President of the United States of America took his hand from my shoulder and said, "Rabbi, can I help you with that?" And he walked over to Chaim and moved the lever on the camera, walked back and put his arm right back where it had been



I'm laughing because the president just fixed Chaim's disposable camera


Our connection with your family wasn't entirely over. A bit later, your mom invited us to attend her announcement to run for the Senate -- and you were by her side -- but we were traveling. In fact, maybe you guys figured I wouldn't be around, and that's why I'm not invited.

I did meet your mom again at a political event, and she remembered me, by name. And I asked about you. And she beamed.

The next September, since they lived a few blocks away from the temple, Chaim invited your folks to the High Holy Days services, and though they couldn't come, Hillary wrote a personal note. The next year, when Bill was retired to country squire and Hill was a Senator, both did show up, he in a skullcap, surprising the late-service congregants and staying to schmooze.

The Clinton effect lingered just a bit more. Due to the connection with Bill's apology, when my husband died, "Monica Lewinsky" appeared in the first paragraph of his Times obituary. (Maybe that's why I'm not invited!)

Chelsea, you were a lovely young woman when I talked with you, and seem even lovelier now. Can't you find a space somewhere for me, just for old times sake? I'll stand if necessary, and leave before dinner. And you don't have to invite my new husband. Just sayin'.

In any case, have a wonderful wedding. And don't be afraid to friend me on facebook.












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Lea, this is wonderful. You *so* deserve that invitation. Hopefully it's on the way..._r
Lea, they were trying to keep the costs below 20 million.
My invitation is late also. We'll probably get them at the last minute, so if you'd like, we can jet in together.
you're a card, lea. very funny.
Lea...I hadn't told you I'm to be there? I'll chronicle and report, (nya nya nya) maturely.
You are unbelievable, Lea! You know everyone. I was kind of hoping you had a more dramatic tale about Bill. That is the real reason you didn't get invited, now isn't it? Come on 'fess up.
Ah, nice stories, wonderful memories.
Lea, I'll make a careful photocopy of my invitation and hand it to you just outside of the security checkpoint tomorrow!

That's a wonderful recollection of times with the Clinton's you have presented!
Lea, I'm so happy to see this. You described well my own musings before I met Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, and wondering if they would be as the media portrayed. I found Hillary Clinton to be one of the warmest, funniest, engaging people I have ever met, and Bill magnetic and gracious. Chelsea had a comfortable congeniality. Above all, Hillary was strikingly beautiful; the camera truly does her no favors and does not capture that radiant beauty. There's a reason why the Clintons are the Clintons. I wish Chelsea only the best with the wedding festivities, and ultimately, the marriage, and will rely on my Rhineback friends to give a full update with details.
What a great read, Lea!!
You sure have rubbed some famous elbows, darling.

I say CRASH IT! Watch Wedding Crashers to get appropriate inspiration.
I'm with D'Art: you were meant to be there!
Awwww . . . that's so cool! The lack of invitation is probably not a snub, just an oversight.
This piece really humanized the clintons for me in an odd way, the idea of Bill Clinton walking over and giving your husband a hand with the disposable camera has a warm feel to it. Rated with a big awwww!
Charming, knowing and funny! I'm betting it's the Buddy factor that is kicking in here, keeping you from your invite. (r)
Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. Great post! Of course, none of this should surprise me as you have been everywhere, done everything, and met everyone (except Cindy Lauper). Your wonderful writing makes the experience all the more enjoyable. Framing this as a letter to Chelsea is brilliant. I knew about the prayer book from a previous post, but everything else is news to me. When are you going to write an extended memoir of your life? Thank you for this post. (Great photo too!)
Thanks everyone, for your understanding, and good wishes. It will take me a while, but I'll get over it. Or as Duane suggests, I might crash and post. (Just kidding, powers that be.)

And Jonathan take notes, and Kathy, do tell.
Didn't send her a graduation card or even a fiver, did you? No wonder she didn't invite you after all it's all about the bling.
Maybe you'll get an invite to the "evening do." This is a lovely window into your life; enjoyed it.
That picture is a keeper!
"And you don't have to invite my new husband. Just sayin'." ha!
I wish you were going too. You'd take the best pictures!
Holly, go for it! Even if you don't see them it's a great story about what might have been. Just be prepared for crowd control problems.
Crashing is the newest trend, Lea. Especially among the nouveau riche, haute société. I'd say, "Go for it, and take your husband with you. Great post, enjoyed it muchly. ~R~
I accidently bumped into Bill with a tray full of angel food cake at a catered event on Martha's Vineyard. Not nearly as exciting as your meet-ups!
You really DO make a compelling case for an invite! And it is always fascinating to hear about your zelig experiences.
I haven't received my invitation either! And Bill and Hillary have called my house many times. OK, it was robo-calls for local candidates, but still, they dialed my number! OK, some machine dialed it for them, but still.

Lea, this story will come in handy next time I play "6 Degrees."
Lea-You didn't get your invite, either, huh?
Funny stuff!
My parents live right down the road from the wedding and it is crazy. There are paps hiding in the woods by their home, they can not go into town without being stoped by reporters. I visited this past weekend and while I was eating in town I looked out the window and someone was filming me. Traffic is a nightmare, there are news vans parked in the road, taking up the parkinglots, reporters standing in the middle of the street. Its a nightmare. My parents did get an invitation for a Clinton Lunch, they only have to pay 10,000 dollars to get close to Bill.
Funny! You should go anyway, like the couple who crashed the state dinner and got famous for doing so.

My brush with Clinton involved wandering into his office in Hot Springs, before anyone outside of Arkansas knew who he was, and getting directions to the ladies room.
Oh yeah, Lea? That's your connection to the Clinton family? Bill quoted your late husband's prayerbook when apologizing for the Lewinsky scandal and fixed your late husband's camera almost a decade ago?

Well, just last month Gennifer Flowers told me that she liked my hair, and I had a long involved conversation with her ex-husband about the best model of BB gun for shooting rats from on top the roof.

So there.
ROFL...now *that* Lea is what I call groveling with grace!
Maybe you'll get that invitation....poor girl she's got a lot on her mind.
ha! hilarious. I love your twist on reminiscing about your connections to the Clintons. And they sound just as I imagine them to be.

Maybe you should have sent the wedding gift earlier?
Lea, hope they get a change to see this and send your invite, toot sweet. Nice re-cap of some high profile parts of your life! I enjoyed it. R
This is almost as inspiring as my close relationship to Millard Fillmore and his family.
what a great story! they really should have invited you after all this...
Lea you are so funny!
Thanks for making me smile.
What a great story and very well told.
Lea, can I hang with you?

Have you thought about putting on some dowdy makeup, a grey wig, add about $2 million of jewelry with an honor guard, and pass yourself off as Elizabeth II? They'd never deny the Queen an entrance.

A quick aside about the groom's father. He represented the Iowa congressional district south of mine. In his initial campaign for the seat, Ed's TV ads consisted of people trying to pronounce "Mezvinsky."
Yeah, my invite must have gotten lost in the mail. The Clintons don't know it, but I've been pretty close to them a few times, just recently, during Hillary's campaign, Chelsea was like only a few blocks from me at IUS --- I tried to wave at her as I passed the campus, but the big guy with the Secret Service waved back at me....with a gun. How rude.

My other brush with greatest, well, lets just say that in 1996, Bill's top gun campaign manager and press guy yelled at me for answering his phone call incorrectly. But that wasn't Bill, so I still like the Clintons.

Even though I didn't get an invite.....pout...I'd been good.....:( ~grin~

Great piece.
If it makes you feel better Lea, she hasn't invited me, either. And with all the checks I wrote in the 90's... Sigh. Maybe it's because I supported Obama in 2008...

But she did grow up very well, didn't she?
Chelsea, I wish you joy in married life and ... well, privacy when things don't go perfectly. =o)
Clevah. I am sure Chelsea feels awful you were left off the list.
Please adopt me. Or if you can't, come to DC and have high tea at some overpriced hotel. I'm a good listener and I don't take other people's scones unless they give me permission.
It's not quite fiction--it's awesome!
Lea, there's still tomorrow. Don't give up hope. Just don't mention the dog thing again. Some things are better left on the DL.
Lea, haven't you learned anything from recent White House events? Just show up and LOOK like you are supposed to be there. Since you lived in their neighborhood, I'm sure you know the right names to drop, so drop 'em. I'll meet you on the tarmac at the nearest private jetport. We'll fly in together. I'll show you how it's done!

Just think about it. You are now in the company of President Obama. He didn't get invited either. Another president you have something in common with.

But that's okay. They did save a little on the cake. It was rumored to be about $11,000. Two more people would just be to many for that small of a cake.

I didn't agree with President Clinton on a bunch of things (except Monica, I thought she was kind of cute) but the one thing Bill and Hill did do was raise their daughter right (make that left). I don't know how any of the "White House Kids" can turn out normal, I don't care who their parents are, but she seems okay.

And now that I've said that, in 5 years we will see her on Dr Phil's show talking about her love affair at 15 with a Secret Service agent.
O. M. G. There is NO WAY my piece should be mentioned in the same breath with yours! I knew most of this, but you put it all together brilliantly... ab fab hilarious. So, what are we wearing to the wedding?
I'm sure it was an oversight. You should just show up. With a nice gift -- like a puppy. How could they turn you away if you had one of those?
I've always liked Chelsea, she's like the only thing her parents did right! Sniff, sniff! And now we're giving her away!

(R)ated for classy schmaltz with an edge!
Lea, she read your "purse" post and is a little afraid to invite you to her w*e*d*d*i*n*g. (In fact, after she read your "purse" post, I'm surprised she's still going ahead with it.)
some people just can't get over not being on the 'a' list anymore. others never were but like to pretend.

wipe your tears and distribute 'info' emails to any malls about to open in whichita falls, new gas stations needing a ribbon cutter etc. somebody wants your charisma and glamor, almost certainly.

and besides it wasn't that good, champers 3rd rate, brides maids homely and f.o.b. would not shut up... i left early.
what terrific memories!
Don't sweat it, Lea, I didn't get an invitation either. Come to think of it...you overlooked me too! :)
I have just read hat the wedding will cost about three million dollars and the government will spend another two million on secret service security. People are losing their jobs, their homes, and lots of people are going hungry in the USA. If nothing else this flagrant display of wealth strikes me as extremely bad taste.
Jan, point taken but a good deal of that $$ will find pockets in the coats of caterers, wait staff, parking attendants, hotel staff, restaurants, gardeners, florists, hairdressers, dressmakers and etc... so it's not all bad.
My friend in Harlem who lives just down the street and around the corner from Bill Clinton's 125th Street office didn't get an invite, either. Some nerve!

Rated. Love this.
That the money spent on this insanely lavish display of aristocratic wealth goes to the workers supplying the goodies frames the good ol' USA as a nation of peasants and monetary royalty and as someone who was raised on the admirable hypocrisy of the American revolution and the founding fathers I find the whole business rather insulting. I am not badly informed or dumb enough to not be aware of the long lie of democracy that has infected American ideals from its inception but I still find it painful.
Lea, I popped in today just to find a story on Chelsea. You didn't disappoint. I love this young lady and I wish her so much. She made it through 8 years in The White House and then the subsequent decade appearing unscathed, beautiful, intelligent, and with that lovely smile.
WHO could not love her? I wish her all the best in her marriage and life.
RATED :-) (Greg)
I am sure this was just an unfortunate oversight.
You're a trip. And I am green with envy.
Yeah, where's mine, Chelsea???
very funny!
Very late, but LOVE this, Lea! Haven't read the other comments yet, but I'm sure everyone echoes my sentiments -- you are one amazing woman who has lived an amazing life! When is the memoir coming out already? :)
Thank you post it at first . this is a good and great story.he is my example model.by the way lea ,do you interest in shopping ?do you have any good experience with shopping online,i love shopping ,and i love replica handbags how about you ?