The address was 3336 Reservoir Road, N.W., Washington, D.C. It’s a town house, more narrow than it is long. A great piece of property which my mother bought for around $20,000 in the good old days. There were some rip-snorting parties given in that house, some amazing poseurs, some elegant people, some tears, and a great many memories.
The house was brick with a pretty fan window over the front door. Our door was painted black with a large brass door knocker with a lady’s head on it. Some people say it was Athena, others say it was a generic Bacchante with grapes in her hair.
I remember there was a white picket fence in front of the house. It didn’t really add anything except my next door neighbor, Danny Nossiter used to play snow fort or cowboys and Native Americans with me and use the fence as part of the structure of the igloo or fort.
There were a lot of happy Halloweens launched from those steps, one of the best birthday parties I have ever had with scads of neighborhood kids attending. We only had one Christmas in that house, usually we went to the farm for that occasion but one year it snowed so hard we had to make do with a small pink fake tree from Costos on M Street.
On the day we moved in, I remember resolving to be perfectly good all day long, and I succeeded! I am sure that is the last day when I was ever “perfectly good”! I went to second and third grade while we were living there, saw a huge storm which descended on D.C. on Good Friday one year (complete with unearthly green sky) coinciding with the exact time which Jesus was supposed to have died (we children thought it was a miracle). Springs were blissful, summers were hot and humid, falls was filled with hilarity, and winters were cozy and fearless.
The day of The Last Great Cocktail Party was almost unbearable. Mother was certainly “fit to be tied”. Dad kept away from all “the palaver”, my brother practically hid under the bed. I was fascinated, like a moth to a flame. It was going to be The Apotheosis of My Mother and I had a ringside seat! This was going to be her entree into the world above the bourgeois (demimonde wannabe), the ticket into the lower rungs of the upper classes. You don’t need unlimited funds to accomplish this; pluck, imagination, and style would carry the day (according to mom). Would this be a case of her reach exceeding her grasp and would she fall like Icarus from her upward trajectory? Or would she rise to the dizzying heights on gossamer wings? Was it all or nothing?
This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring the Spring Collection for 2015 whose theme is The Last Great Georgetown Cocktail Party. The collection will center around a short story I wrote about the adventures of my mother, her social life, and how she was a wonderful symbol of the heyday of Georgetown. The party will begin on April 24th and celebrate the last collection on my old website. We are giving it a fitting send-off! In the meantime, I will be filling you in on life and manners in the days when ladies wore gloves, furs, and jewels in midday; smoked cigarettes with impunity, had pink gins at lunch, and generally put on the most amusing airs. So come along and be one, too. It’s a blast.