Benchley Weekend Synopsis
by Eileen Forster Keck

Wonderful, jam-packed, fabulous weekend!!!


Jimmy and I got in on Friday, dropped off our things at the Sheridan (at Copley), and called David (Mr. President, to you ) and met up with him in the lobby. He was easily identified by the natty straw boater he was sporting for the day.

We took a taxi to the BU Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, met up with more Benchley Society members, and saw some wonderful cartoons, letters, photos, telegrams and such to and from Robert Benchley, with a judicious dose of Dorothy Parker added in.

The archivists handed out (ba DUM) the white gloves, so we were able to handle the documents. Benchley was quite a cartoonist, too! I even caught a glimpse of a letter from George Gershwin to Arthur Fiedler in a case, as we were in the Arthur Fiedler room.

They chased us out (politely) after kindly taking a few photos with us, and also posing, and we headed out.

Jimmy and I went back to the hotel and added a few finishing touches to our garb, and we went to Mr. & Mrs. Trumbull's Beacon Hill apartment, where we joined the rooftop festivities, getting very jolly in the process (by the usual methods).

Cocktails were craftily concealed as "lemonade", and our kind host provided us with plastic champagne glasses to contain it.

Next, we cabbed and/or walked over to Fanueil Hall for dinner at Durgin Park. Members included Mr. Kevin Fitzpatrick ('Mr. President' to the Dorothy Parker Society in New York); folks from Whitmore Lake, MI (they run the MI chapter of the RBS: Terry and Tom are tops!); people in from CA, WA, West VA, Illinois, and Canada.

Let's see, the memories are getting a little hazy...ah, yes! Next, we arrived at Jacques' Cabaret, in Bay Village!! The drag queens were marvelous, and they liked my hat (vindication of the best sort).


On Saturday morning, those who weren't too awfully hung or tired (is that a euphemism?) went on a literary walking tour of Boston, meeting first at the lobby of the venerable Parker House hotel...but some of us had our husbands bring us breakfast in bed, instead.

Saturday afternoon there was a choice: Haaavahd Square walking tour, or the track. The Disreputable Ones chose...the track, of course. It's a smooth journey by the "T" (subway); blue line, and then a quick ride in a shuttle bus.

My husband and I broke even (that's pretty good, you must admit), but David (Mr. President) won on every race!!! (He tells us this makes up for last week.)

Then...back to properly put on the dog. When we started gathering at the docks for the cruise the hoi polloi were suitable impressed. It's been a while since that many dinner jackets have been seen in that part of Boston.

This is where our retrostan (Rob) joined in (New Hampshire now attending!). He rushed in, tie in hand, and proceeded to charm every woman within range. Even the VERY crabby bartender, who much prefered lamenting to pouring.

As a group, we captured quite a few good tables below, but most of us meandered topside to see the sunset and take photos, too. Chris Morgan (Vice President of RBS) is a photographer of some note, and he took some beauties.

After docking, we wobbled into the North End, feeling very good indeed, and waited at the bar while the good people at Cafe Pompei readied our downstairs room. Dinner and awards ceremony forthcoming!!

Excellent pasta was perfect. Tortellini in aurora sauce, with mushrooms, and a decent house red, several people had fra diablo and other classics, and I heard no complaints! Well, aside from the incontinent see, it seems that there'd been a water main break and subsequent flood...

After we left, several parties branched off. Leading off in several directions, Rob did us proud, although with tourists in tow, we led him off the drinking path for a bit, as there was some insistance that Paul Revere's house be found (I don't know who lost it).

After the third? stop, where some of us had gelato instead of drinks, we trailed back to our various abodes.


Well. A lovely brunch (foodwise), but a less-than-good OR honest waitstaff...the less said the better, though I'll say this: check scams are not a good idea. Shame. The company certainly was good, though!

Mr. Jimmy and I were kindly invited back to lounge and imbibe at the apartment of friends in the area, and we sipped bellinis, gossiped, changed into proper lounging attire, and had a glorious time.

Next: off to the home of an RBS member who collects wonderful modern art. She opened her home for a tour. It's an impressive collection. She also has a wonderful freckled pup who is one of the friendliest dogs I've ever met.

Last stop on the tour: Mr. Morgan kindly hosted dinner, drinks, Robert Benchley Shorts for all (no, the kind you watch), and included a "trailer" of some Nick and Nora, to whet our appetites for the DVD collection of the Thin Man series....

All in all, one of the best and most fabulous weekends in living memory!