Back in 1993, a lifetime ago, our world was different. We were different. Whatever future we had in mind, I think we didn’t imagine the one in which we find ourselves.
It had been a hard year. Licking our collective and individual wounds, Garry and I wobbled tentatively into summer. Our first long vacation at the Vineyard in mid-June was splendid. The weather was perfection without a single rainy day to mar its beauty. Garry darkened into his best-ever deep brown sun tan while I turned slightly freckled beige with a hint of hot pink.
After our second long vacation in July had come and gone, and we had spent too much money, ate, drank, and made excessively merry and were reconciled with having finished our last long stay on the Vineyard, President Clinton and his family chose Martha’s Vineyard for their August holiday. Guess who was selected to cover the story for Channel 7?
Garry might have gotten a swelled head over this apparently plum assignment. Except Garry knew that the real reason he and that particular crew were chosen. They had their own accommodations in Oak Bluffs. A place to stay for which Channel 7 wouldn’t have to pay, saving Channel 7 megabucks in housing costs for the 11 days of the Clinton family visit. Regardless, chasing the First Family around the Vineyard trumped following the muggers, child molesters, murderers, arsonists, and other scum-of-the-earth newsmakers. The hours might be long and the material lean, but the setting was lovely and the story was filled with rounds of golf, sailing, and celebrity stuff.
After 12 days of on duty, Garry finally got a couple of days off. I came down for the weekend and we hit the “hot spots.” Such as they were., little knowing that the next night would be much better.
When word came around there would be a party for the press on Thursday evening to which family and friends were invited, Garry first announced he’d rather stay at the house and catch some rays. I explained, carefully, that this was not an option, after which he decided a presidential party sounded like a great idea.
A party hosted by The President of the United States is not any old party. You don’t 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 were loaded into buses and taken, under heavy security, to the actual location. We got on the first bus, which was fortunate. The later buses never left the parking lot. If you weren’t on the first bus, you didn’t go to the party. No, I don’t know why.
We hoped to get a glimpse of the First Family. We got a lot more than a glimpse. Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea were all there for the entire shindig. They stayed for three hours and gave everyone the opportunity to actually talk with them. They were gracious, smiling, friendly and human. Wow. Real people!
We got pictures — Marilyn and Garry with the President all taken by a White House photographer and later delivered with White House insignia 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 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)