Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Big Night

Presumably the last of the flowering plants in Central Park. Photo: JH.
Thursday, New Year’s Eve, 2015. Grey overcast and foggy in the distance, and in the cold 40s with some cold precipitation in the nighttime.

Maybe I never noticed before, which is possible, but I don’t recall Manhattan being as quiet at holiday time as it has been this week. Even yesterday -- where several blocks of Fifth Avenue midtown was closed off midday for the funeral at St. Patrick’s for Joseph Lemm, the NYPD police officer who was killed in Afghanistan last week. I went to Michael’s to have lunch with a niece of mine. The usually busiest (hectic) day of the week was very quiet, and very pleasant.
The scene on Fifth Avenue for the funeral of Joseph Lemm.
Tonight is the Big Night for a lot of us, and the divine Quiet Night for many others who enjoy the pleasure of staying home and watching the melee in Times Square watching the ball drop and maybe reflecting and maybe a drink or two. Or early to bed. We can only hope ... for all of us. Blessed be.

More holiday memories. The other day I got an email from my former wife Sheila with this family photo, taken 50 years ago. The numbers are quietly shocking for this writer.  The photo was new to Sheila also, something she received in the mail from a cousin who found it a family album. It was taken on Christmas 1965 at her grandmother’s house in Newton, Massachusetts just outside of Boston.
Christmas 1965. Harlow Culbertson, Charlie Brown, Hazel Brown, Jane Culbertson, Sheila, and yours truly.
I don’t recall it being taken although I remember the trips to grandmother’s house. Sheila and I had been married a year and at holiday time, our schedule was Grandmother’s house, my mother and father’s house in the western part of Massachusetts, and Sheila’s maiden aunts who lived in Rhode Island. I don’t remember how we did all that traveling, driving from Manhattan, over a period of two or three days, but we did. I’m sure there was a lot of rushing and impatience and stress before we set out on the family voyage. However, we were very young (although we certainly didn’t see ourselves that way), and all that activity was just a lot of activity.

At the bottom left, sitting on the floor, is Sheila’s stepfather Harlow Culbertson; above him, her dear uncle Charlie Brown. On the sofa from left is Sheila’s grandmother Hazel Brown, and to her right, Sheila’s mother Jane Culbertson (who is sitting under a portrait that was painted of her when she was a young mother.

It’s always something of a shock to see yourself when you were what I would now call a “kid.” I see I’ve got a cigarette in hand. Charlie and Grandma were the only two who didn’t smoke. I also see that Sheila is the only one of us who is not smiling – which is unusual because she’s one of those people who has a great smile, and always flashes it for a photo. I recognize that expression on her face, however, because I knew it. It’s serious, but “keeping it to herself.” It says, “it’s not that funny” if someone is laughing.

I actually laughed when I first looked at it because on Sheila’s right, her mother Jane, my wonderful mother-in-law (I called her Mom and she always signed her notes that way), was somehow annoying her beautiful daughter.  These things happen as you probably know from experience. And such is life.

Coincidentally Sheila happened to call me yesterday (she lives in Michigan). I mentioned her expression in the photo and how it amused me. It amused her too, because she’d never seen that expression in a photo of herself before and recognized instantly its message. She didn’t happen to recall the moment a half century later either but agreed it probably had something to do with “Mom.” Mom, incidentally, was not a carefree woman but could give that impression because she had a great sense of humor and always loved a good laugh. She loved her mother and her brothers, also.

On July 20, 1969, Sheila and I happened to be staying with Grandma Brown when astronaut Neil Armstrong first stepped out of  Apollo 11 and onto the surface of the Moon. Watching it on television with us, Grandma remarked at wonder of all for her, now in her 80s.
She had been born and brought up in South Bend, Indiana in the late 19th century (where her father was the mayor of the city – something she recalled always with pride). In her youth and childhood, the world had no electricity or cars or planes or telephones let alone rockets to the moon. The nights were always silent save the sounds of the wind in the trees or perhaps a distant animal, and the only light – if there were any – was from that Moon up there in the heavens, 238,000 miles away. And here she was now more than eight decades later, sitting in her living room on Eliot Memorial Road watching a human being leave his footprint in the moondust.

How miraculous everything seemed to Grandma Brown watching Neil Armstrong. In retrospect, I see that her children (me and Sheila) knew what she was talking about historically but had no idea what she was really seeing from the perspective of her advanced age. It was always a pleasure to be in Grandma’s house.
Just two weeks ago, on December 16th,  the chairmen and committee members for Lighthouse Guild’s Annual POSH Palm Beach Dinner Dance were honored at a holiday tea hosted by Mary and Kane Baker at their home in Palm Beach.

Mark G. Ackermann, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Lighthouse Guild, expressed his gratitude to Arlene Dahl for her leadership, and to the Bakers for their generous hospitality. He also announced that Kim Campbell and Lavinia Baker would be honored at the upcoming Dinner Dance. 

Arlene Dahl and Marc Rosen
2016 will be the 9th year of the annual Lighthouse Guild POSH Palm Beach Dinner Dance which is held at Club Colette. At the dinner, Arlene will be presented with Lighthouse Guild’s Vision Award in recognition of her leadership in Palm Beach, as well as for her longstanding support and advocacy for the vision impaired. A special surprise (shhh!) guest performer will also appear in her honor. 

Among those at the Baker reception: Arlene Dahl and Marc Rosen, Mary, Kane and Tessa Baker, Kim Campbell, Lavinia Baker, John McGreevy, Mark Ackermann, Molly Charland, Frances Scaife, Myrna Daniels, Carla Mann, Nancy Tsai, Catherine Saxton, Cathy Bleznak, Isabelle Leeds, Fern Tailer, Tracy Hritz, and Mona de Sayve.

This year’s Dinner Dance Chairmen are Kane and Mary Baker, Mario Nievera and Travis Howe. Junior Chairs are Bettina Anderson and Wyatt Koch. The POSH Palm Beach co-chairs are Iris Apfel, Kim Campbell, Jackie Weld Drake, Katherine Ford, Michele Kessler, Carla Mann, Talbott Maxey, Grace Meigher, Margo MacNabb Nederlander, Kit Pannill, Nancy Paul, Catherine Saxton, Frances Scaife, Jennie Scaife and Norma Tiefel.

Junior Committee members are Lilly Leas, Sean Ferreira, Alexis Posada, Robert Riva, Fritz and Judy van der Grift, Samantha Curry, Camila Helander, Tyler Sargent, Nick Sargent, Nicole Kirchhoff, Erik and Julia Lembcke, Lourdes de Guardiola, Michael Morrissey, Kirsten Smith, Chris Leavitt, Dr. Tara Dennis, Kristina Olsen and Amanda Boalt.
Kim Campbell, Mark Ackermann, and Lavina Baker.
Also: a Dinner Dance kickoff-cocktail reception, hosted by The Silver Fund on Worth Avenue, will take place Wednesday, January 13, 2016. The reception will include informal modeling by members of the POSH Junior Committee wearing select POSH Sale items, and guests will have the opportunity to purchase featured items.    

To capture the growing audience of online shoppers, for the first time, POSH’s gently worn and brand new items donated by socialites, celebrities, designers and fashion retailers, will be sold online. Details about the online sale will be announced at the Annual Tea and the reception at the Silver Fund.
Tracy Hritz and Fern Tailer. Molly Charland and Frannie Scaife.
Nancy Tsai and Fern Tailer. Mary Baker and Tessa Baker.
Catherine Saxton and Arlene Dahl.
Myrna Daniels and Carla Mann. Isabelle Leeds and Carla Mann.
On Thursday, December 10th, Symrise hosted their annual holiday party to inspire the senses and celebrate the season of giving. Held at 1 Hotel in Central Park, Achim Daub, President, Scent & Care, welcomed guests including Kick Kennedy, who recently returned from the Symrise Perfumer's Trek to Madagascar, and HSN’s Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, who is developing a fragrance with Symrise perfumer David Apel.

Symrise dedicated two rooms to some of the natural raw materials the company uses in product development: vanilla and vetiver from Madagascar and Amazon quality dama di noche, or queen of the night, a flower from Brazil. Both rooms featured the company's environmental credentials and sustainability endeavors in the world's most extraordinary jungles and rainforests.
Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, David Apel, and Kick Kennedy. Rhona Stokols and Rick Ochs.
Perfumers from all regions, including two newly appointed Master Perfumers Emilie Copperman and Dirk Braun, attended and along with Carlos Vinals, Pierre Gueros and Eurico Mazzini, they presented the company's work and findings to guests including executives from Bath & Body Works, Batallure, Dana Beauty, Estee Lauder, Revlon, Victoria’s Secret, and Unilever.

Globally, Symrise fragrances are featured in more 15,000 products. With creative perfumers and an award winning environmentally friendly philosophy, Symrise is an influential player in the Scent and Care industry and has created fragrances for brands including Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera and Donna Karan. With the company’s recent acquisition of Pinova Holdings, it catapulted to the world's largest fragrance raw materials producer.
Mona and Didier Maine de Biran, Symrise's Eurico Mazinne, and Nathalie Benareau.
Guests included: Alan Beck, Andreas Steiner, Anne Martin Vachon, HSN’s Kate Heritage, Béatrice Mouleyre, Shay Daub, Benedicte Bron, Chantel Gerena, Christelle Laprade, Dana CEO Didier Maine de Biran, Darryl Do, Denitz Ataman, Doreen Bucher, HTI’s Elizabeth Poleway, Select’s Olivier Rose Van Doorne, DJ Etienne DeYans, BEAUTY FASHION editor Christine Schott Ledes, Gail Boye, Cosmetic World’s George Ledes, Perfumer & Flavorist’s Jeb Allured, John Lando, June Amira, Kari Arienti, Lauren Vellucci, Lisa Negrelli, Lisa Lori, Lyn Leigh, Marcella Berland, The Fashion Group’s Margaret Hayes, Maria Corbiscello, Victoria Secret’s Mark Knitowski, Martha and Gil Lamphere, Mary Ellen Lapansky, Nathalie Benareau, Paige Crist, Pamelia Lall, Patricia Bilodeau, Paola Valdez, R. Couri Hay,  Rhona Stokols, Poshly’s Dorren Bloch and Rich Nightingale, Rahul Sabhnani, Richard Torrenzano, Radio WOR’s Mark Simone, Felicia Taylor, Rick Ochs, Sarra Doudal, Simone Noyes, Sonia Milfort, Sophie Bensamou, Avon’s Spiros Athanaqsopulous, Michael’s Steve Millington, Sue Phillips, Usha Vijay, Victor Rouchou, and Isabelle Vacheret.
Achim Daub, Cynthia Santiago, and Rahul Sabhnani.
Emilie Coppermann, Pierre Gueros, and Isabelle Vacheret. Sue Phillips and Terrence Moorehead.
Andreas Steiner and Spiros Athanasopoulos.
Christelle Laprade and Alan Beck.
Gilbert Lamphere and George Ledes. Beatrice Mouleyre and Mark Knitowski.
Lisa Meola, Paolo Valdez, and Usha Vijay.
Benedicte Bron, David Apel, and Kick Kennedy.
Emilie Coppermann, Dirk Braun, Isabelle Vacheret, Eurico Mazzini, Bill Ruby, Sophie Bensamou, Andreas Steiner, and Ricardo Omori.

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