I wrote this way back in 1993. It was a lifetime ago. The world was different. We were different. We could never have imagined the world in which we now live.
August 1993 – Going to President Clinton’s Post Press Party … Totally Cool!
Licking our collective and individual wounds from the preceding months, we wobbled tentatively into summer. Our first long vacation at the Vineyard in mid-June was splendid. The weather was glowing perfection without a single rainy day to mar its crystalline beauty. Garry darkened into his best-ever sun tan and I turned slightly beige.
The second long vacation in July came and went. We all spent too much money, ate, drank, and made merry, whoever she may be. Just when all were resolved that we had finished the last of the “long ones” at the Vineyard for the year, President Clinton and family chose to visit Martha’s Vineyard for an August holiday … and guess who would cover the story for Channel 7?
Garry could have gotten a swelled head. After all, Channel 7 had just sent him to Rome, now to Martha’s Vineyard. Pretty nice assignments. Except that Garry knew that the reason he and the rest of the crew were chosen for the Vineyard assignment was that they had a place on the Vineyard, a place to stay for which Channel 7 wouldn’t have to pay. That would save Channel 7 megabucks in housing costs for the 11 days of the Clinton family visit. Some things never change, new owners notwithstanding.
Still, whatever the reason, it was a far better assignment to chase around Martha’s Vineyard after the First Family than to run around Boston after the muggers, child molesters, murderers, arsonists, and other scum-of-the-earth types. The hours might be long and the material lean, but the setting was lovely and the story was happy and fun. No crying mothers mourning their victim children. Just rounds of golf, sailing, and celebrities doing the things celebrities do while on vacation.
And so it went. Notwithstanding occasional fits of ill-temper, miscommunication with Boston, and very little real news with which to work plus an average of three live shots a day (straining Garry’s creative story building efforts to the maximum), the weather held, the equipment didn’t break down (discounting the washing machine in the house) and his stories were well-received.
After 12 days of on duty, Garry finally got a couple of days off. I was down from Boston for the weekend, so we hit the “hot spots.” First night of our off time saw the us, the “celebrity couple,” whooping it up at David’s Island House, dancing and singing with Hugh Taylor and David himself, who played some devilishly fine piano. The evening was so much fun that neither of us imagined that the NEXT night would be even better.
When Jack told us there would be a party for the press Thursday evening to which we could bring family and friends, Garry and Don both said they’d rather stay home, sit on the dock and catch some rays. After a quick look at the expressions on the faces of their respective mates, both men did a quick turnaround and decided the party sounded like a really good idea.
Because this was a party being give by The President of the United States, it wasn’t just any old party to which we could just drive up to the door. We had to gather at the Press Center, the Edgartown Elementary School which had served as \ press headquarters during the President’s visit. From there, we’d be loaded into buses and taken, under heavy security, to the actual party. We got on the first bus to leave, which was good since the later buses never left at all and if you didn’t get on the first bus, you didn’t make it to the party.
We had hoped to get a glimpse of the First Family. What we got was a lot more than a glimpse. Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea all came. They stayed for three hours, giving everyone the opportunity to actually talk with them. They were gracious, smiling, friendly, and most importantly, human. The kind of folks that, were they not the First Family would be welcome as friends.
We got pictures, too … Marilyn and Garry with the President, where for once, I look as good as Garry. Another with Jack, Garry, and the President, taken by the White House photographer (to be delivered with Presidential signature and all).
The food was good — ribs and chicken and collard greens. Mashed potatoes, gravy, corn-on-the-cob, corn bread, and salads. Margaritas. Beer. Wine. Warm blueberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream to top it off. Carly Simon sang “Summertime” and the prez played the saxophone. It was really fine. Super fine. I wished I brought my camera. I hadn’t thought they’d let us bring them, but I was wrong … they did. Oh well.
Real food, real people, and at a palatial home of on a high bluff overlooking the sound. Does it get better than this? I don’t think so.
And that’s the way it was … August, 1993. It wasn’t so long ago … it doesn’t feel so long ago. Yet it was, if not in years, then in the amount that everything has changed.
- Old Hollywood Book Reviews: Jaws – Memories From Martha’s Vineyard (journeysinclassicfilm.com)
- Martha’s Vineyard Photomontage (eyehearttravelblog.com)