A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

My Photo
Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Party

Tonight was the annual Christmas party for the Armoury Quadrangle Civic Association. For some reason, it's held at the Kimball Towers, a condominium complex which is not technically within AQCA's geographic boundaries. Well, I guess the reason is that it's a gorgeous space, and longtime AQCA members Robert and Robert, who do most of the work for the event, live in the building.

Kimball Towers was built in 1911 as the Hotel Kimball. Springfield before WWI was still in its glory days, and this hotel was jim-dandy, hoity-toity, for the plutes. Mahogany floors, marble walls--the works. If George Washington hadn't been dead, he would've stayed here. Everybody who was anybody did. The hotel had its own Syracuse china with the Kimball coat of arms, which was everywhere evident on walls and furniture as well.

In 1937, the Hotel Kimball became the first Sheraton Hotel. In the '80s, it became an apartment complex, and in 1985 went condo. The magnificent lobby was retained. Some of the first-floor space was turned into units of eye-popping grandeur. Robert and Robert have a palatial space, lipstick pink, lined with mirrors and dripping with crystal. A spiral staircase descends into a spacious though cozily lit den overflowing with objets d'art. A hallway led until recently to the office and showroom of their antiques business. On the other side, French doors open from a loggia onto a walled garden, complete with fountains, statuary, gazebo and palm tree.

Robert and Robert are famous for their private parties, but this wasn't one of them. AQCA partygoers were confined to the public meeting room. Robert L. dressed as Santa, while his partner, in a yard-long Santa cap, passed out programs and kept an eye on supplies. Refreshments, provided by the management of nearby 122 Chestnut, seemed to taste better served in silver punch bowls and on elegant platters. Both the mulled cider and the sherbet punch were flanked by croquembouches.

We ate; we drank; we toasted the holidays. We sang Christmas carols. The kids got wrapped presents, distributed by Santa. I went home with a fistful of candy canes. It wasn't PC, but so what. The party felt almost like historical re-creation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmmm... croquembouches. Some day I would like to try that.

10:49 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home