Wednesday, September 12, 2012

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

from Personal History by Katharine Graham:

Why was I the guest of honor? Who knows? Truman and I were good friends, but we were on a less intimate basis than he was with Babe or Marella, probably the two most famous beauties in the world. In discussing who was more beautiful, Truman once said, “If they were both in Tiffany’s window, Marella would be more expensive.” He was also great friends with Slim Keith and Pamela Hayward and Lee Radziwill. In the end, however, when he had fallen out with so many of his friends, he never turned on me as he did on most of them. I think he felt protective of me. Truman knew I didn’t lead the glamorous kind of life that many of his friends did; he may have given the party for me primarily so that I could see it all up close, just once. I also think I was appropriate for the occasion because I really was a sort of middle-aged debutante—even a Cinderella, as far as that kind of life was concerned. I didn’t most of these people or their world, and they didn’t know me. He felt he needed a reason for the party, a guest of honor, and I was from a different world, and not in competition with his more glamorous friends. One of Truman’s biographers, Gerald Clarke, conjectured: “She was arguably the most powerful woman in the country, but still largely unknown outside Washington. Putting her in the spotlight was also his ultimate act as Pygmalion. It would symbolize her emergence from her dead husband’s shadow; she would become her own woman before the entire world.”

No comments:

Post a Comment