Hello-hello, and welcome to a new week.
The column uses summer as a jumping-off point to compare (and contrast, very much so) previous generations with today’s WASPs.
Summering used to go with trust funds and prepping at St. Paul’s and double-barreled names that ended in Roman numerals. These days summer at the beach has become an American right that we hold to be self-evident. We are an intensely WASPirational society. Things that were once associated with the Protestant establishment—vacations; golf and tennis and fly-fishing; boats; schools like Andover, Harvard, and Yale; Lilly Pulitzer shifts and flood pants from L.L.Bean—are now what almost everyone seems to want.
A 1962 Lilly Pulitzer ad.
It was John D. Rockefeller who famously said: “Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.” Below, the Rockefeller’s Seal Harbor cottage, one of several places where family members summered.
Back to Ms. Cheever’s column:
…they were also often raised in a tradition of service—noblesse oblige it was called—that led them to give away lots of their money and to behave in ways that helped those who had less. John D. Rockefeller famously spent more time at the end of his life giving away money than earning it.
Below, Andrew Carnegie’s former summer cottage in the Alleghenies.
More of the column:
He (Rockefeller) was not alone: the Carnegies, the Vanderbilts, and more recently the Roosevelts all established foundations that made the world an extraordinarily better place. When John Jacob Astor IV gave up his seat on a Titanic lifeboat, he was acting out of a tradition of gallantry and service that was rare then and is even rarer now.
Below, John Jacob Astor IV’s country retreat in Rhinebeck.
Ms. Cheever does not gloss over the sins of old school WASPs.
The old-line WASP aristocrats were flawed in spite of their Harvard and Yale degrees and ability to set a spinnaker. They had little sexual tolerance, they thought women shouldn’t have careers, they were anti-Semitic, they named their children after themselves with sometimes hilarious results, and they often drank too much.
Nor does she ignore contemporary philanthropists like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and others, concluding the essay with a hope for future behavior.
Perhaps the old WASPs we are so slavishly imitating deserved to be overthrown, but they had an attitude about the world that it would be nice to adopt when we put on our pastels and belts dotted with whales to head for the beach.
The notion that certain traits have largely disappeared, like gallantry, generosity, courtesy, responsibility (the list could go on and on) has a ring of truth. To read Ms. Cheever’s entire piece, click here.
Thoughts everyone…. overly harsh or sadly accurate?
Flag-inspired nail designs are showing up on the fingers of swimmers, runners and just about any athlete whose hand appears in a TV close-up. That’s partly because, for the first time, Olympians have a place to get theirs nails done.
Salons have been built inside Olympic Village for athletes to take a break from their grueling training regimens, and another in Central London also serves athletes, friends and family. All the treatments are free and include manicures, hair styling and facials.
The online version of the story offers quite a few photos, below, a look at Britain’s Laura Robson last week at Wimbledon.
And archer Aida Roma of Mexico.
French basketball player Emmeline Ndongue shows her colors during a game.
Manicure specialists CND also shared photos from London.
Micheen Thornycroft, a rower from Zimbabwe did a patriotic pedicure.
Another rower, Australia’s Emma McCarthy added a little glitter to her look.
And last week we showed you US swimming sensation Missy Franklin’s red, white and blue manicure.
Until next time, may your manicure remain unchipped!