in Marginalia

Machlin on being mentioned in a column by Walter Winchell

Walter Winchell, considered as the inventor of the gossip column, is seen here broadcasting in front of the White House during an inaugural parade of US President Dwight Eisenhower. (Red Grandy/S&S via Wikipedia)

“In the pre-war days around the Stork, Winchell was the most exciting man in the world to us,” a middle-aged matron who had grown up in Billingsley’s posh playpen commented. “When I first began dating the man I later married, Winchell said we were ‘closerthanthis.’ When we married, he called it ‘a slight case of merger’ and when I became pregnant, he said we were ‘infanticipating.’ When the baby arrived, he noted that we had joined ‘the mom-and-population.’
“When the marriage soured, W. W. told the world we had ‘the Mr. and miseries’ which quickly developed into ‘the apartache’ which led out ‘sharing separate teepees.’ It was only a matter of time until we ‘Renovated’ and disappeared from the columns as if we never existed.
“Strange as it seems, we got a great sense of importance out of being recorded by Winchell in this fashion.”

— From The Gossip Wars, a 1981 book written by Milt Machlin, citing an anonymous socialite about the experience of seeing her name in a column by Walter Winchell, considered as the inventor of the gossip column. [See: Walter Winchell, The Stork Club, The Gossip Wars]

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