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I broke my resolution last night never to tune into any kind of television news. Watched Sixty Minutes. I was interested in seeing Oprah’s follow-up interview to the pre-2016 election she did with seven Trump supporters and seven Trump detractors in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The big question, of course: Is Trump losing supporters?

If you use this group of people as a bellwether, the answer is no.

The results were exactly what I suspected they'd be: So long as the economy remains strong, Trump remains popular.

Would you vote for Trump again? asked Oprah.

Yeah, my 401(k)'s up 35%, said one of the Trumpistas. My house is up another $31,000, yes.

Of course, this is not a representative group of voters at this point. (It may have been once.)


It underscores what I’ve been thinking all along. My liberal-progressive friends are deluding themselves if they think Trump’s popularity is waning. And people who like Trump are not all Nazis and racists.

If they want to get Trump out, they’ll need to target people who didn’t vote in the last election.


“She’s back!” crowed Ed, my Trump-voting, Tax Bwana colleague. “My favorite liberal firebrand! I wanna hear more stories about all those demonstrations you went to at UC Berkeley!”

“Good times!” I said.

“But tell me the truth,” Ed coaxed. “Trump’s not that bad, right? I mean, sure, he’s a loose cannon! He should learn to shut his mouth. Lay off the Twitter. But his policies…”

“Good to see you, too, Ed,” I said.


In other news, Annie has a birthday coming up so I bought her a present: Mary S. Lovell’s biography of the Mitford sisters, entitled… The Sisters!

This was partly self-serving: It gave me the opportunity to reread the book when I (finally) got bored with Monk episodes in bed last night.

But also, I’m sure Jane’s death was a tremendous emotional blow to Annie. Her sister… Even though Annie had not actually seen Jane since the three of us rendezvoused in New York City back in 2001 to deal with my mother’s ashes.

I believe they did regular phone marathons until Jane became too incapacitated.

Plus Jane was the last link to all those memories, which have now become ephemeral floaters inside Annie’s head, unshared and therefore unanchored by any type of corroborative reality.

Between the loss of her house and Jane's death, this has been a shit time for Annie.

Annie left me a couple of phone messages after I saw her in November. “I’m glad you and Alicia seem to be bonding,” she said in one of them.

But, of course, she was not glad.

"Triangulation” is the name of the game in my mother’s family.


Of the many composite biographies that comprise Mitford industry widgetry, Lovell’s is the one that serves Decca best.

Decca is my favorite Mitford.

I had a slight acquaintance with Benjie Truehaft’s first wife, so I actually met Decca once in the early 70s. Was it a book club? A meeting of the Berkeley Women’s Feminist Health Collective? Some artist get-together? I can’t recall now, and of course, very few of my own memories have any kind of corroborative reality.

The Treuhaft houses was in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, a district of homes built to house the overflow of refugees from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Variants of the basic craftman’s model; a little grander in scale, perhaps, and in those days, comfortable and shabby (though the Bay Area’s rocketing real estate prices have since glammed them up considerably.)

Decca wandered down, teacup in hand, in the midst of our earnest palaver. She was wearing a bathrobe over a long nightgown with lace trimming; a strong waft of alcohol drifted from the teacup. She spoke to us in this booming stentorian voice with the most absolutely amazingly plummy Brit accent! And she was very funny. I remember being absolutely delighted with her! I was not a Mitford fan-girl at the time, so I had absolutely no idea who she was.

Some years later, Decca wrote me a very lovely fan note after I published Birth Tales. Did she stumble across it somehow while she was researching The American Way of Birth? Who knows? At this point, I knew who she was – she was a SF Bay Area celebrity! – but knew nothing about the family.


In a letter to I-forget-who, Decca wrote, What it boils down to is putting one’s feelings on a special plane; most unwise, if you come to think of it. Because the bitter but true fact is that the only person who cares about one’s own feelings is ONE.

Strip away the props, and Decca had the most heartbreaking life. Filled with tragedy.

Esmond Romilly – Winston Churchill’s nephew and Decca’s One True Love – died at the age of 23 when his plane was shot down after a bombing raid over Germany.

Decca had run away with him when they were both 18 to join the Spanish Civil War. A huge to-do in Britain! Peer’s Daughter Elopes With Socialist! read the headlines.

For a year after Romilly was shot down, Decca would awaken in the middle of the night, crying and moaning, But he’ll be so cold! He’ll be so cold…

Romilly and Decca’s first-born daughter had died of measles three years earlier.

Decca went on to meet Bob Treuhaft, a lawyer with a sharp sense of humor. She grew to love him. But I imagine that love was a kind of compromise. Not the unguarded, unquestioning adoration she’d had for Romilly. Of course, yes, yes, yes – that kind of love never lasts. One envisions Romilly in middle age morphing into a kind of leftwing Oswald Mosley, the leader of Britain’s fascist party whom Decca’s sister Diana married.

Decca's sisters were Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, and Deborah. (There was also a brother called Tom.)

Wrote John Betjeman (a self-described "hack" poet, later to become the UK’s Poet Laureate):

The Mitford Girls! The Mitford Girls!
I love them for their sins
The young ones all like ‘Cavalcade,’
The old like ‘Maskelyns’
SOPHISTICATION, blessed dame
Sure they have heard her call
Yes, even gentle Pamela
Most rural of them all.

Ooops! I see I’ve run out of writing time, so I’ll just note briefly that Decca lost another one of her children when her oldest son with Truehaft was hit by a bus at age 12, and that her relationship with Unity – infamous as “Hitler’s girlfriend” – was very close and very complex. So Decca had four cataclysmic losses in her lifetime.

In contrast, I don’t think I’ve had even one.

Decca's drinking, Decca's humor, Decca's resolute avoidance of the emotional, even Decca's staunchly leftwing politics, can all be seen as coping mechanisms.

I never read about Decca without crying for her a little. Such pathos. Although she herself had little use for pathos.

This entry was originally posted at http://mallorys-camera.dreamwidth.org/696953.html. You may leave comments on either Dreamwidth or LiveJournal if you like.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 19th, 2018 10:34 pm (UTC)
Wow that 1st bit with the Trumpster read just like a scene out of "Broadcast News". I have no doubt the people who voted for Trump won't ever change their minds. The best anyone can hope for is they are one and done like the hope and changers that were fulfilling their bucket lists in 2008 or the moderates finally come out and vote.
Feb. 19th, 2018 10:53 pm (UTC)
The latter, I think.

The only hope for ousting Trump -- and I'm all for ousting Trump! -- is to get people who did not vote in the 2016 election to get out there and do their part.
Feb. 20th, 2018 03:42 am (UTC)
I read Love in a Cold Climate when we were all in France together and I remember sitting outside a convenience store in Bonnieux, which was closed because it was lunch time, waiting for Toby and the kids, who had gone off to find a post office to mail Tristan's box to the US, laughing and laughing out loud while reading. It's funny how certain books get attached to the place where you read them. I did all of Mitford's books in a row and I always associate them with that beautiful little town.
Feb. 20th, 2018 01:40 pm (UTC)
It's funny. I can't read Nancy Mitford at all, though I like Evelyn Waugh, the writer to whom Nancy Mitford is most often compared.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )