Don’t be jealous but I bought a $20 floor lamp at my favorite junk store and set it up behind the armchair that I usually sit in when I watch TV. Since the arrival of the lamp, my morning routine is this:
- get up
- push button on coffeemaker
- let dog out
- morning ablutions
- empty dishwasher
- let dog back in
- pour coffee
- sit and read for 45 – 60 minutes
- begin workday
Oh the grand pleasure. My reading really drops off in winter – I do my best and most out on the deck when the weather is warm. But now, that luxurious hour in the morning! I started to reread Lady Bird’s White House Diary.
Lyndon walked slowly past the President’s body in the East Room… At one end was a Catholic image, I don’t know quite what it was. It wasn’t just a cross, but more elaborate. That was the first time in those three days that I was reminded, caught up in the thought, that the Catholic faith has a pattern for everything – a pattern for life, and a pattern for death.
She is quite a charming diarist and her style is reflective of a time when having an education went hand in hand with having a rich vocabulary. She describes an antsy toddler JFK Jr in the funeral limo as being “peripatetic” and in the very early pages uses the phrase “short shrift” in exactly the right way. People don’t say that anymore, do they? I f they do, I suspect they don’t know what it actually means.
We went into her sitting room (or perhaps it should be called a dressing room) – one of the most exquisite rooms I have ever seen, with closet doors covered with bright and beautiful trompe l’oeils – little pictures of Profiles In Courage, Caroline at two, a yacht at Hyannis Port – all the things that mean something to her – a stamp or trademark that will not be repeated by anybody for a long time. For me, so much work will have to come first that I expect the room will be turned into an office rather than a dressing room, and it will get short shrift, at least these first few months.
I would have told you that I read every word that was every written about Jackie BKO but I never saw anything about her remarkable dressing room. I wonder did someone memorialize the dressing room decor in a photo before it was painted over? There are details like that unseen elsewhere, just interesting glimpses that caught her eye as she put her pen to paper at the end of a day filled with grand historical events.
UPDATE: Squeeeee! Here it is.
“Jackie Kennedy once described her White House dressing room as “the only place I can really relax, read and write.” She felt it’s decor truly reflected her personality and aesthetic–elegant, romantic, familiar and soothing–and she filled it with family photos and french antiques, pale blue raw silk fabrics and leopard prints.” Ultimate Jackie