Wednesday, June 3, 2009

T. S. Eliot and Groucho have dinner

On June 3, 1964, T. S. Eliot sent a car to London’s Savoy Hotel to bring Mr. and Mrs. Groucho Marx to dinner. Eliot told Groucho that their friendship had greatly enhanced his credit with the grocer across the street. Eliot was 75, Groucho 73. Both were masters of the wisecrack, coiners of famous epigrams, now measuring out their lives in coffee spoons.

A Book of Ages is full of people meeting who you'd never thought met each other, or perhaps wondered if they had. Freud giving advice to Mahler, having his portrait drawn by Salvador Dali, Salinger meeting Hemingway in Paris, Marilyn Monroe having tea with Isak Dinesen at Carson McCullers's apartment, William F. Buckley Jr. meeting John Kenneth Galbraith for the first time in an elevator on the way to Truman Capote's Black & White Ball. Life is full of crossed paths. You never know who you might meet tomorrow.

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