Thursday, September 14, 2017

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part CXXVII

Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

March 1968. I was invited to a party.

The host was Mario di Genova di Salle and the guests were mostly European — Italians living in New York.

There were some conversations about the Vietnam War and the recent Tet Offensive, which after months was still continuing.  We'd been led to believe that we and the South Vietnamese were making progress in the war but the North Vietnamese had an "army" of roughly half a million fighters and during the offensive had rampaged through South Vietnam!

There were shocking casualties on both sides and Walter Cronkite, who was considered the News conscience of the nation and the most trusted of media personalities, had visited Vietnam and on television announced that we were, in fact, not winning the war. This was the opposite of what President Johnson and General Westmoreland were claiming!

Some Americans were publicly demanding to know why we were even in the war!  At the party it was suggested that the answer lay in the general's own name: "West-more land."
With Pakistan lady, Fabio Cicogna, Patricia Pierangeli, June Teller; March10, 1968.
Patrizia Pierangeli, the younger sister of my friend, the actress Marisa Pavan, was visiting New York. Marisa's twin was the movie star, Pier Angeli.

Hollywood had decided that name was easier to remember than her full name, Anna-Maria Pierangeli.
Pier Angeli and twin sister, Marisa Pavan.
Anna-Maria had had a highly publicized romance with James Dean until, due to her mother's persuasive influence, she ended it.

Mrs. Pierangeli had herself once told me how much she disliked Dean saying that he was rude and even verbally abusive to her!  "Pier" married the singer Vic Damone and Mrs. Pierangeli also told me that during the wedding ceremony Dean was just outside the church revving his motorcycle's engine so loudly that it ruined the whole affair!
James Dean and Pier Angeli.
Cesare di Montezemolo was a charmingly rakish man who once tried to persuade me to go after a young Agnelli cousin because "she's very rich!"
These men always reminded me of ancient Roman Emperors' portrait busts.
The next day I visited my new friend Annie Rieger and met her friend Libby.
There was much excitement about Senator Eugene McCarthy's anti-war campaign for the presidency.  A lot of young volunteers had cleaned themselves up, cut their hair and instead of burning their draft cards volunteered for what McCarthy called his Clean for Gene Children's Crusade. President Johnson's escalation of the war had made him even more unpopular than he had been!
I met Bobby Waddell for lunch at Tortilla Flat.  She was very thrilled that McCarthy was doing so well in the New Hampshire Primary Election that was happening even as we were having lunch.  At the end, McCarthy would come shockingly close to defeating the sitting President Johnson.
Discothèques were hotter than ever!  They were a way to burn off political frustration while having a good time and showing off some of the wilder clothing that was everywhere with satins, velvets, scarves, tribal costumes and necklaces for everyone! UNISEX!
Salvation was one of the more popular clubs.
That McCarthy had done so well added to the raucous mood!
Anticipation was rising!  The Democratic Convention later in Chicago would be a real contest between the Vietnam War supporters and the newly invigorated anti-war crowd thanks to McCarthy's surprising New Hampshire challenge!
Young voters were doing everything they could think of to get ready!
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