Wednesday, September 12, 2012

the last book I ever read (Katharine Graham's Personal History, excerpt thirteen)

from Personal History by Katharine Graham:

One of the first of our trips when we were both alone was in 1966, to my mother’s favorite spa, Saratoga Springs. While we were there, Truman Capote phoned me to say he was going to give a ball to cheer me up—what he said would be “the nicest party, darling, you ever went to.” My initial response was, “I’m fine. It’s really nice of you, but I don’t need cheering up.” But Truman went right on talking of his plans, paying no attention to me. He explained that he’d always loved the Grand Ballroom at the Plaza, and also the Ascot scene in My Fair Lady, for which his friend Cecil Beaton dressed everyone in black and white. He had decided to have everyone at his ball dress in black and white, too, and wear masks, which they would remove at midnight. I was to be the guest of honor.

I was puzzled by the whole idea and not sure if Truman was serious, so I didn’t think about it much, but when Polly and I joined Truman for lunch at “21” soon afterwards, I realized that this party was more about him than about me. I think he was tired from having written In Cold Blood and needed to be doing something to re-energize himself. I was a prop.

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