Matty, Showtune, alluded to a discussion we had to take Baby Jesse "...up to West Palm Beach". NO ONE admits to going to WEST Palm Beach, a Mecca of white trash. Still, it's is a "blue" county so I will not bad-mouth it. Without being a snob, I have to maintain that there is only Palm Beach and nothing else. It is an anachronism like my beloved Newport, and a stroll up Worth Avenue or across the lawn from the beach to The Flagler Home will transport you to a world long gone.
When I lived in New York I had connections that allowed me to travel free as long as I brought the Continental queen with me. We would fly down to Palm Beach on off-season weekends and always stay at The Breakers, a wondrous monument to wealth and glory built over a hundred years ago by The Keenans. Glorious, perhaps super-glorious is the only way to describe the place. It demanded full dress for every activity whether breakfast, croquet, or tea; you actually HAD to change five or six times a day just to keep up with everyone else. The main lobby set the stage and stage it was, with everyone acting a period play.
The L'escalier restaurant sang hymns to the past;I don't know why they came to know us, but the hostess of the room always greeted me by name. I guess the frequency and our flamboyance might be a good enough reason. But, one day the elevator opened to my floor and I found a beautiful box on a table in the hall which, when opened, revealed a striking Pucci day dress. After a second of contemplation about trying it on, I called down and reported the fact (no, not that it didn't fit).
Within minutes a knock came at the door and a bellman nervously asked for the box. He said "Please call the desk". I did and the concierge practically wept with joy at the finding of this box and said, "Mrs. Keenan couldn't remember where she left it. She wants to invite you to be a guest judge at the employee talent contest tomorrow with her and Mrs. von Blankity-Blank." "Is this one of THE Keenans?", I asked. "Yes, she lives here with her daughter who's dress you found."
By the time I had arrived for breakfast in my morning outfit, THE WORD was out that I was a judge. The very gracious hostess whispered, "Hospitality...vote for hospitality." By the time I arrived to the pool in my swim outfit of a striped jacket over my one piece swim suit, the well-known chair boy whispered, "Hotel services...vote for hotel services." While making my stroll in my white, linen suit across the croquet field to the Flagler House, a grounds keeper menacingly said, "Maintenance...vote for maintenance."
Mrs. Keenan was a kooky lady who was just a hoot and we judges took our seats. It was amusing to hear the names of the judges called out. "The judges are Mrs. von Blankity-Blank, Mrs. Hammersmiggen, you ALL know our Mrs. Keenan, and....." (A pause.) "...and frequent guest, Mr. duB." All applauded, and the show began (the usual nonsense teams dream up) but the prize was a very real thing for them. In the end I nobly cast the deciding vote for the department which meant the least to me, Maintenance. They had made lobster outfits with giant claws and lip-synced "Rock Lobster". I had to hand it to them.
After that, Mrs. Keenan made sure that we were allowed up to the extremely private top floor which was as boring as London on a Sunday, but made me feel good. All I could think of was what IF I had tried the dress on and ripped it Edith Massey-like. All this glory would have slipped as fast as those seams would have.
Honesty is the best policy, especially if you can't fit into it anyway and don't have shoes to match.