Marjorie’s Place…

There has been much in the news lately about a little place in Palm Beach called Mar A Lago.

We’ll talk about all the news, but first some background on the “cottage” by the sea in South Florida.

Marjorie Merriweather Post built the place starting in 1924, three years later, it was completed and she and her husband de jour moved in.

Well, not so much as moved in as came and went.

It was a second third fourth who knows home to the couple and their tribe.

Marjorie was born the daughter of C. W. Post and his wife Ella Merriweather and at the age of 27 became the owner of Postum Cereal Company, and was at the time the wealthiest woman in America. Her net worth was roughly $250 million – then.

She built Mar A Lago with her second husband – she would eventually have four – EF Hutton.  You know, the one every one listens to.

She had three children, the most famous being actress Dina Merrill, who married money as well, as in the Colgate Palmolive money.

Honestly, the family that banks together, stays together.

Well, maybe not.

D I V O R C E.

Back to Marge.

Upon her death following a long illness in 1973, Post willed Mar A Lago to the US Government as a “resort for Presidents and foreign dignitaries.”

The US Government didn’t want it, Nixon had his Florida White House in Key Biscayne, Carter could have cared less about Florida, and eventually, after much wrangling, drama, and subterfuge, the place was sold to private citizen Donald Trump.

Funny how that all worked out!

The place was designed by Marion Sims Wyeth and the interior was created by Joseph Urban. It sits on 17 acres between the Atlantic Ocean and the Florida Inter-coastal Waterway, and Lake Worth,  hence the name Mar A Lago, or Sea to Lake.

In the early 1990s, Trump faced financial troubles, and while making a “believe me, it’s gonna be the best deal ever” deal with bankers mentioned he was going to cut the place with a 128 room mansion sitting on it UP into smaller properties.

Palm Beachians nearly rent their sweater sets in angst!

The city council rejected his plan, so he turned the place into a private club and opened it UP to Blacks and Jews, further freaking out Palm Beach.

Seems the Bath and Tennis Club and Everglades Club didn’t cotton to the likes of Blacks, Jews, and “people who call attention to themselves…”

Oh vey!

The Donald hosted concerts with Celine Dion, Billy Joel, welcomed – gasp – beauty pageant contestants as guests, and violated local noise ordinances.

And to top it off, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley spent their honeymoon at Mar A Lago.

Trust me – that union is a whole ‘nother Ricky Lake show!

Now, and I’m sure Marjorie would be thrilled; Mar A Logo is “The Winter White House.”

Many are not.

Many are upset with the cost of the President’s trips to the estate.

FDR – Hyde Park

JFK – Hyannis Port

RMN – San Clemente and Key Biscayne

…but I’ll stop.

While it’s the WWH, it’s also the Mar A Lago Club.  Membership initiation fee is $200,000.  It was $200,000 until 2012 when many Palm Beachians lost serious cash in the Bernie Madoff scandal.  It was dropped to $100,000, but the price went UP when The Donald became The POTUS.

Annual dues are $14,000, and an overnight stay is $2,000 if you’re interested.

There are 500 members and about 40 new ones are admitted each year.

I’m not on the list.

Hey, I’m sure you were curious.

Marjorie Merriweather Post spent over 40 winters in Palm Beach.  Mar A Lago was one of her favorite places – it was her Neverland and she was proud of it.

The place was one of the most elegant and ornate palaces in America and just for kicks, she’d hide behind a screen in the dining room just to hear people gasp aloud at the opulent beauty as they entered.

Hey, a girl’s gotta have a hobby!

Oh, Oliver!

The radio alarm awoke me recently with a blast from my past.

Frankly, I wasn’t ready to go back to 1969, but the radio station and Oliver decided I must.

As I lay there fighting the urge to sleep, these words jolted me awake…”… Gliddy glub gloopy, nibby nabby noopy la, la, la, lo, lo Sabba sibby sabba, nooby abba nabba, le, le, lo, lo
Tooby ooby walla, nooby abba naba…”

…and I wondered, “What were we thinking?”

I mean really, who came UP with that crap?

The song of course, is from the Broadway musical Hair which debuted off-Broadway in 1967 and made the big time in 1968.

The book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot, was a product of the “hippie” counterculture and sexual revolution of the late 1960s.

“Good Morning Starshine” is from the second act of the musical, and is performed by the character Sheila,

Of course, Oliver made it famous.  It wasn’t a one hit wonder, but Oliver’s career was, oh let’s say, a four hit wonder…

William Oliver Swofford was born on February 22, 1945, in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina which is the home of Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, The North Wilkesboro Speedway, and is just past the Tweetise Railroad Amusement Park which my children remember as one of the places I dragged them to back in the day.

Oliver was a recipient of the prestigious Morehead Scholarship and attended UNC Chapel Hill in 1963.

He was a member of two popular music groups — The Virginians and, later, The Good Earth — and was then known as Bill Swofford.

Clean cut, good looking, and with a soaring tenor voice he was perfect for the single and commercial version of the song, Good Morning Starshine.

He brought it to number 3 on the charts, sold a million copies, and won a gold record.

He also performed the song Jean from the movie The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (which is one of my favorite Maggie Smith vehicles.)

He went on to have a modestly successful career.

He eventually turned to business to make a living, selling real estate and running a Pharmaceutical company.

In the mid 90s he developed Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease and was eventually diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He lost the battle with the disease in 2000 just a few days short of his 55th birthday.

But we, if we do at all, remember him for Good Morning Starshine.

The song was immensely popular.

I don’t know why!

It makes no sense.

But, that didn’t stop nearly every other singer from covering it.

Andy Williams, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Hugo Montenegro!!!, Diana Ross and even Bob McGrath of Sesame Street recorded it.

Is it the frivolity of the song that attracts us?

The nonsensical refrain of Gliddy Glub gloopy?

I don’t get it.

But for some reason, I can’t get it out of my head either!

But, hey, it’s Monday, and we all need to wake UP, so here ya go…

Who’s Ya Mama?

Happy Earth Day!

Two, 65, and 91

Happy Birthday to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

She turns 91 today.

She is the second Queen Regnant to have the name Elizabeth.

Great Britain’s longest reigning monarch, she ascended the throne the year I was born, 1952.

She surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria to become the longest lived British monarch in December 2007, and the longest-reigning British monarch on September 9, 2015.

She is also the longest reigning Queen Regnant in history – as in all of history!

Presently, she is also the longest serving head of state.

Take that, boys!

I know in Republican USA, we’re not all that royalty obsessed, but you have to hand it to the old gal!

Happy Birthday Your Majesty!