Under the Black Flag

A Farewell to Balls

I recently sat down with a friend of more than 50 years, Reinaldo Herrera, and was filmed by Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, also an old friend, while lunching and discussing the past.  The Herrera house is a grand one, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and Graydon’s idea was to film two people who had experienced what life was like back during the 50’s and early 60’s, when manners mattered more than money, and how elegant and graceful life was for—to put it bluntly—the haves, like my friend and myself.  Well, I never enjoyed a luncheon more, however nostalgic and at times sad it was to recollect friends no longer with us and parties that now, through the mists of time, resemble what pleasant dreams are made of.  Basically, we talked about how wonderful it was to live in a world where manners were paramount.  Yes, it was still quite snobby, and an upper-class twit took precedence over an intellectual at a lady’s lunch, but, as I said on camera, to be 20 years old and playing polo in Paris in June, with the stands full of well-dressed ladies and blazered gentlemen, beats tailgating with fat slobs at a pro-football game somewhere in America on a Sunday afternoon.  By a very long mile.  The editor of Vanity Fair egged us on, and the shoot, I am told, was very successful.  I will let you know when it comes out, because in my not so humble opinion, it’s worth it.  Worth...

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