Society Dreams: Hugh D. Auchincloss III

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Looking south along Fifth Avenue towards the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: JH.

Friday, March 1, 2024. Partly sunny, partly cloudy and temps in the high 30s/low40s yesterday in New York; but not uncomfortably cold. Warmer temps predicted for the weekend.

Dreams in the family. It wasn’t a specific intention when Lauren Lawrence started her Society Dreams column on the NYSD that it follow a family. Her first one, a dream of Lee Radziwill, came from a conversation she and I had about Lee who was a neighbor of Lauren and an Assouline author as well. As it happened, she had consulted Lauren about her dream. It was specifically about her stepfather’s farm in Newport, Rhode Island where she spent summers as a child and as a teenage girl. Her dream, which was vivid as well as joyous, also occurred shortly before the end of her life.

Lee’s beloved childhood house, Hammersmith Farm in Newport, Rhode Island.

It reminded Lauren of another dream that Lee and Jackie’s stepbrother Hugh Auchincloss — known as Hughdie to his friends — had told Lauren. It was a fascinating recurring dream that Jackie had in her youth and as a young woman, which Lauren recounted on last week’s Diary.

Hugh Auchincloss grew up with Jackie and Lee after their mother divorced their father and married Hugh’s father, also Hugh Auchincloss Sr. Young Hughdie was just a couple of years older than Jackie. So they easily became good friends in their youth, and spent a lot of time growing up in each other’s company.

The blended family on Christmas Day, c. 1950. Pictured l. to r.: Lee, Jackie, Janet, Nina, Hugh, Jamie and Tommy.

In the meantime Lauren has been keeping up with FEUD: Capote Vs. The Swans and they’re getting to the part in the story where Gore Vidal is at war with Truman. And next week, I’ve learned, Lauren is going to run one of Gore’s dreams. Evidently Gore, aside from his verbal wars, was a pleasure in a conversation and a pleasure to know, full of observations and opinions. He also had a relationship to the Auchincloss influence – his mother was briefly married into the family.    

SOCIETY DREAMS by Lauren Lawrence

The Dream: I often dream of losing my datebook, or of looking for it and not being able to find it.

Hughdie dancing with his step-sister Jacqueline Kennedy at her daughter Caroline’s wedding in 1986.

The Interpretation: Dreams of loss primarily reflect the sense that something has been taken away from the dreamer. Digging deeper, the lost object is often tied to intentional forgetting due to its symbolic value: In that a datebook records days and hours of appointments, it symbolizes the passage of time — and specifically memory. As such, the lost datebook may represent certain dates in the past, painful memories that need to be stricken from the emotional record. Other dates may represent future engagements that one wishes to avoid.

Importantly, every object lost in a dream is based on the importance placed on the object lost. In this view, the lost datebook may reveal the sadness of no longer being able to connect with those who have died.

In another view, the lost datebook is a symbolic sacrifice wherein the dreamer trades pages of his past in order to ward off some dreaded loss in the future — keeping one’s final rendezvous with destiny, perhaps.

On the one hand, one understands a willfulness to lose track of time as a way of transcending time altogether. On the other hand, looking for the datebook establishes the dreamer’s conscientious concern about meeting obligations.

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