Schulenberg’s Page: Drawing on ’36 in ’76

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Watching the Ford/Carter Presidential Debate at my neighbor, Jerry Young's.

October, 1976: Can it really have been over 40 years ago? 40 years before 1976 would have been 1936! And what was going on in 1936?

In that year my parents built a house on a hill in Los Angeles.

My father was the corporate counsel and executive of the largest transportation company west of the Mississippi River and my mother had been his executive secretary. I can honestly say that my father had an affair with his secretary and any relationship problems they might have had they must have resolved during their working situation.

Except for me being at that time a supposedly spoiled only child our home life was pretty tranquil. I had no complaints but that didn’t stop me!

In England, King Edward VIII abdicated for “the woman (he) loved,” a divorcée named Wallis Warfield Simpson and President Roosevelt was re-elected for a second term, the biggest landslide since the election of 1820! It consolidated The New Deal a program devoted to promoting economic recovery and Wall Street reforms during the Great Depression through federal activism.

Germany — after hosting the Olympics and Hitler’s aryan “supermen” being defeated by America’s Jesse Owens (the African American grandson of a slave who won four gold medals) — formed an alliance with Japan and Italy.

We know how that ended.

I really have to wonder about the swiftness of Germany’s three-year recovery with Hitler’s 1933 election after the post WWI economic disaster of the Weimar Republic! Even with the Nazi juggling of bookkeeping figures, because of that recovery I can understand why Hitler had gained so much public support and also how the Germans later paid such a grim price for that very support.

So 1936 was quite an important year leading to much more important events!

The German unconditional surrender to the Allies.

But in October, 1976 President Gerald Ford had won the Republican presidential nomination and would in November be defeated by Jimmy Carter.

Carter had been the Governor of Georgia and a Washington outsider but was the first Deep South candidate to win the presidency since The Civil War. And Ford’s loss was the first loss of an incumbent president since Herbert Hoover’s loss to Roosevelt in 1932!

As for me, I was still running around while juggling all the projects I was suddenly undertaking.

I stopped in at the DANCERS’ space on Sixth Avenue and then dashed back to Midtown to P.J. Clarke for a lunch meeting with Mimi Judson.

Sixth Avenue at West 4th Street, Greenwich Village.

Mimi had some design ideas she thought I should try. I was thinking that if she’d sell it at the 801 boutique I’d design it. I did feel encouraged though.

I couldn’t tell if the meeting was useful or not but it was — interesting.

And I left them to get going on my next deadline.

I stopped in at the DANCERS location where GOOD MORNING, AMERICA was filming a feature on the company and Joanne Woodward’s involvement. I also wanted to drop off some photos I’d taken.

The next day I had drinks with Mary and introduced her to Susan Rush who was in town away from the Bay Area and her beautiful pre-1906 earthquake Berkeley home.

To show Susan how complicated and busy my fabric jewelry project had become I showed her a page of my contacts.

I only recently realized that the helpful woman working with editor Jade Hobson at the VOGUE fabric library (and giving me fabric for a fashion shoot) was Vera Wang, who later became a very successful couturière herself!

And somewhere on Seventh Avenue I saw this graffiti:

NB: Mollie Parnis was one of the early female designers whose name was not simply affiliated with a department store. She was very successful and designed clothing for several First Ladies becoming a close friend of Lady Bird Johnson!

And somewhere else I saw this:

So there was useful information everywhere!

My neighbor, Jerry Young, invited me to come for drinks and to watch the Ford/Carter Presidential Debate.

I recall President Ford making a very uninformed comment about Communism in Eastern Europe and the next day how the White House attempted to explain what he “really meant”!

In any event, he still lost the election in November!

And another neighbor and friend, Ellen Bilgore, invited me over for drinks to meet her friend, Sally Hallows. Ellen had been helpful and supportive giving me names and phone numbers of people in the garment industry.

Friends were so kind and helpful; I really appreciated it.

The next evening I went to Ruskay’s on the West Side and there was Bulle Ogier, a French actress/screenwriter I’d met in Paris. I think she’d been represented by Lola Mouloudji, but she was part of the scene at Saint Germain-des Près when I lived there. She married director/producer Barbet Schroeder who was also a regular!

Paris and Manhattan were both kind of like a village regarding to young people starting a career in the arts! Somehow the population got winnowed down and people got to know each other.

Or to know of each other!

I wonder if it’s still like that in this 21st century!

Has the internet been a factor and has it helped?

Or hindered?

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