Schulenberg’s Page: Days of Thanks and Dance

Featured image

November, 1976: Thanksgiving at David (DPC) Columbia’s house in Connecticut had been relaxing and fun with constant conversation about everything from politics to UFOs! But now it was back to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan!

In early December I learned that, without warning, Mimi Russell Judson had decided to close the 801 Madison boutique that I’d been a part of.

I met Sharon Lamoreaux downtown for lunch and to give her the news.

Mimi had had the idea of opening a boutique to showcase so-called up-and-coming designers and we were a part of it from the beginning with the fabric jewelry and additional accessories I’d thought up. Mimi was the daughter of Lady Sarah Consuelo Vanderbilt Spencer-Churchill and her given name was Consuelo after her maternal great grandmother, Consuelo Vanderbilt, who through a spectacularly publicized arranged marriage became the Duchess of Marlborough. Her uncle was, of course, the then current Duke of Marlborough.

With this background and these credentials I’d thought we might at least have a significant client/customer base.

I’d known a bit about Lady Sarah Churchill since at least 1967 when she and her husband Guy Burgos had owned and operated The Churchill (art) Gallery.

I’d met Burgos during the miserably rainy summer I mistakenly spent with friends at Fire Island in 1967.

Inset: Guy Burgos with Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill.

At that time the skullduggery was that Burgos had left Lady Sarah to be with a young man named Philip Farran.

There was also the news that Sarah Churchill’s house, Content, in Jamaica’s Montego Bay had been invaded and she herself had been attacked by the rampaging invaders. I never mentioned or asked Mimi about any of that!

Our involvement with Mimi had at times been problematic and quarrelsome with Mimi telling me that I should be paying her for business advice and my telling her that if I were to pay for business advice she would not be the first or even second person I would think of! And evidently it was now a moot point!

She still owed me some money and the return of unsold merchandise, which she finally had her husband bring to me in a shopping bag.

We, however, had a deadline thanks to our sales rep Laura Kruger for a line of madras fabric jewelry to accompany a Ralph Lauren promotion at Lord & Taylor where our jewelry was featured in the display windows and an illustrated ad in The New Yorker!

I met Barbara Preminger at Serendipity III and we talked about taking photos of her.

Barbara’s mother-in-law had been the glamorous Gypsy Rose Lee and I was thinking it was appropriate to give Barbara some of the same Hollywood treatment! She told me she’d been imagining herself being in the back seat of a Rolls Royce while being driven somewhere by her chauffeur.

Barbara Preminger.

But the next day I still had shopping for supplies on my list!

I was meeting Beth Rudin downtown at One Fifth Avenue and we were going off to the studio that was the headquarters for Dennis Wayne’s Dancers.

There wasn’t much going on so we stayed downtown and just had coffee.

A few days later, however, it was busier at the studio and after a rehearsal I took a break with dancer Nancy Thuesen and Dennis Wayne.

If the dance company had a première danseuse it was Nancy! She was an amazing athletic performer!

Nancy Thuesen and James Dunne. Photograph by John Van Lund, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Archives.

As we were hanging out, we talked about the upcoming Palm Beach trip and the evening’s gala.

My mind was racing with ideas. And fantasies!

After all, it was Palm Beach!

Recent Posts