24 July 1986
Hey, there, Udo!–
I am flattered that Anne enjoys my letters. If her enthusiasm continues unabated, I will be happy to send Monarchist Party campaign posters that she can put in the front windows (like one of those cards for the iceman) or slip into Norman Mailer’s mailslot or tack up on telephone poles. They are simple and inoffensive displays, showing The Queen squashing a donkey under one foot and an elephant under the other, and reading (as I mentioned before): “Send In The Crown.”
Our membership has now grown from six, nationwide, to eight. It’s never too late to jump on the bandwagon.
I never knew that Yeffe liked my letters, too. In fact, I don’t remember ever writing any. Once I telephoned to 11 Bank Street and the phone was answered by someone who sounded as if he was drugged out or drunk or suffered from brain damage. At first I thought I had a wrong number. When I asked for you, he laughed. When I asked if I had the right number, he laughed louder. When I said I would like to leave a message for you, he almost collapsed in hysterics. In the background I could hear sounds like a longshoremen’s ball. Then somebody else came to the phone and took up the laughing assignment. I took a chance and left my name. Sometime later I think you told me you did get the message, but you were mysteriously vague about who was there at the time. I decided that the house was being burglarized and you didn’t want to have it mentioend in the fashionable salons I was habituating. Can’t say that I blame you. Who wants Ben Russo nudging Lou Jacot and yelling, “Did you hear about ol’ Udo?” I don’t blame you at all.
RETIREMENT: One of the significant differences between you and me with respect to retirement — in additiont o my having been born into the wrong social class in the wrong century and in the wrong place — is that you long ago started doing the kind of work you enjoy and you still enjoy it. Unfortuantely, most people have the kind of employment history that I have: they worked at something they didn’t care about one way or the other; or they detested it completely; but stayed for the benefits. You enjoy what you do, and have doubts about retirement, so why retire? I realize that I made a bad mistake turning down the chairmanship of General motors, but I can’t dwell on it. We have to build on our mistakes. As soon as I entered retirement and began to do nothing at all with great spontaneity, I knew I had at last found my real calling. A little late, but just as welcome. My advice to you is, keep the Bunsen burning until gas costs too much.
(76. Really sore losers can attend the King George III night festitivities tonight at the Fox and Goose at 12th and R streets. Live music, English food and libations possible toasts to the Good King, and maybe even black armbands will help set the tone for mourners.)
FURTHER TO MONARCHISM: At left you see an item clipped from The Sacramento Bbee, which ran a supplement on the 4th of July: “76 Things To Do To Celebrate The Glorious Fourth.” The 76 angle was of course tied to 1776, when all this democracy foolishness started. This, as you can see, was the concluding activity, for those they call “sore losers.” Little did they know that we monarchists are keenly alert to others of the same sensible persuasion who might live in the vicinity. We were too late for these moving ceremonies at the Fox & Goose this year. But…tomorrow, THE WORLD!
THE BIG APPLE: Alas. Although Mary and I are natives of Big Town, we cannot face it ever again. The closest we came was a few years ago when we visited some of her sisters and their husbands and families in Manhasset. When we landed at Kennedy, beads of perspiration formed on our foreheads. Would we have to go near the city proper? Incredible good fortune! No need to go the Airlines Terminal Building (or whatever it’s called now). We took an airport transport bus to Port Washington or Manhasset or someplace close by. We turned our faces resolutely from the “impressive” skyline and never looked back. A near thing. I can sense that you–and possibly Anne-are hooked on the mystique of Gotham. While it is true that you can’t find a delicatessen open out here at 2:00 in the morning, we take a back seat to noplace when it comes to axe murders, drug busts, arson or vehicular homicide. We are in the 20th century, too, even if we do wear bib overalls and track mud into the house when we are called from the fields for eats. But as long as you have a charge account at Zabar’s, why abandon a lifestyle you love? As the motorist said when he drove by the highway patrolman at 105 miles an hour, “We pass this way but once.”
LADY IRIS MOUNTBATTEN & ALL THAT: Incredible that you should mention her. I read her name in some book of English history and wondered who she was. I thought she was Lord Louis’ wife, but she wasn’t. Information about her was devlish hard to come by. None at all available to me, at any rate. Now it turns out you knew all about her, except her offense–whatever it was. Positively amazing. Also nothing short of wonderful that Yeffe’s paintings will be give a full wing of the Southwest Indian Museum. You didn’t say where it is. Santa Fe? We would very much like to see it when we go there again. (If it is in Santa Fe, I don’t think John Herzog knows about it, or he would have gone there and mentioned it in his informative letters.)
IN CONCLUSION: We must now sit down to afternoon tea and spectate a polo match on the telly. It’s wondderful being an aristocrat-in-training. Most bracing. We never even give delicatessen hours a thought.
Regards to Anne & Thomas the Etonian,
Fred C. (for “Chubber”) Dobbs