We had experienced the election of Richard Nixon earlier in the month after experiencing the most disruptive period of my life. Pundits were comparing the anti-war and political protests to the period before, during and after the US Civil War! It was easy to believe!
Rita Gardner worked with a company called BMA and I had done several jobs with them. Rita was someone who was much bigger than life and with vividly neon-red hair, full makeup replete with false eyelashes, she resembled a musical comedy star on stage rather than an advertising executive. With such a warm personality she became a friend, something not too frequent in that business world.
Nixon had promised to “bring the nation together!” after the assassinations and turbulence of the pre-election period. Rita laughed about Nixon’s promise saying that he probably would — we’d probably all be agreeing about hating him as the president!
She was prescient, sitting in a Victorian platform wicker rocking chair I had found discarded in front of an antique store on 83rd Street near my apartment!
Yorkville was like that then, a small neighborhood with a largely European residential population. On my street, several old women frequently swept the sidewalks while gossiping in Hungarian.
Rita had invited Annie Rieger and me to a party given by her friend Spiro Constantine where, as usual, she was the life of it!
Two days later on the 26th, the South Vietnamese government agreed to join in the Paris Peace Talks. We wondered — could Nixon really end the war?
The next evening, my illustration representative, Pema invited Jean Lagarrigue and Jean Paul Goude to dinner at their apartment. They had been invited by editor Harold Hayes to come from France and be the duo-art directors of Esquire. I’d previously known Goude in Paris and he’d even recommended me to his french representative.
His mother was American and he spoke perfect un-accented English.
He and Lagarrigue at Pema had a sort of drawing duel: Goude drew Lagarrigue and Lagarrigue drew Goude!
Jean Lagarrigue got an extra swipe at Goude!
It was a fun evening and good to be back in touch again with Goude!
It was even better to get Esquire assignments from him and Lagarrigue! Esquire was probably the leading taste-maker in the world of publications!
Goude returned to Paris where he became sensationally recognized for advertising projects, graphic and TV commercial promotions and most visibly, visionary posters and promotions for the Parisian department store, Galeries Lafayette!
He collaborated with Grace Jones, designing record albums and presentations of her and ultimately having a child with her — a son.
He designed and choreographed the Paris celebration for the 200th Anniversary of the French Revolution!
Also returning to Paris, Lagarrigue also had a son with an American woman; the son, Jérôme Lagarrigue, is now a teacher of drawing and painting at Parsons School of Design.
So life continued; Nixon tackling the Vietnam War, the Paris Peace Talks, a possible calming at home — what would happen with the new Republican administration?
Was it asking for too much — after three questionable political assassinations, police/activists’ violent confrontations, Weathermen, Nation of Islam/Malcolm X killing and many more unbelievable events — to hope for a bit of calm, progress in a world at Peace and a benevolent, helpful government leading all of us to a brighter future?
Richard Nixon and his Vice President Spiro Agnew thought they could do it! They said they could and would!
Watching Agnew on television, my rep’s husband Perry Browne said, “THAT’S MY BOY!”