9 AUGUST 1975, Page 10

New York letter


Geoffrey Bocca

The United States Post Office has just issued a series of four bicentennial stamps called 'Contributors to the Cause.' One depicts a Negro soldier, another a Jewish financier, another a child who, with the voice of the schoolgirl, rallied the ranks, and anodic.] soldier, not ethnically defined, but conven" iently named Peter Francisco, definitely not a WASP. The name of the black is Salem Pow ' and one has to consult a lot of histories before one runs across it. Roy Ottley in his B100 Odyssey, gives him two sentences, and spells him Poore. All worthy Americans, no doubt-. but are they philatelically justifiable? When the United States finds it necesary distort her own history to placate her,f minorities, that is her business. It is quite Or' 1by me if American historians, to please her, urban Chinatowns, discover that the paterna' grandfather of Robert E. Lee was a Chinese laundryman. For all I care, they can announce that Al Capone was not of Italian extraction" all, but was actually born Roger Carruthers la Philadelphia. But the War of Independenc° was a British war just as much as it was an American war, and I feel I am entitled t(), suggest that America quit imposing her racia' and social problems on our history. (But fair's fair. How many readers kllo'Nf what on earth was the Declaration Arbroath, 1320, which the GPO conimemorat; ed on a stamp issued in 1970, in a series.0' 'anniversaries'? Certainly not the EricycloPaedia Britannica.)

Limeys everywhere

The bicentennial has given me the opportuoil.\.. that Can only come once in a lifetime, to Uti ' thertioariest of post-war clichés. My New cabbie said, "You sound like a Britisher".,', confessed the shame. -You limeys °' everywhere," he said. just got out hospital. What do I get? A limey doctor. Yad call it brain-drain. A few years ago, if Jr executive didn't have an English secretary, r wasn't nobody. Now it's English au pair gire'' You English built the Pan Am Building. Fhi'' do you guys get away with it?" I contemplated the question, and said, "Well' first of all, you have to fight the United State5.' in a war. And lose."

Jaeger House

Consumed by desire.for bratwurst and knoedet a colleague and I hastened to the Jaeger House' on Lexington Avenue at 85th Street, 10 Yorkville, the German quarter of Manhattal'. The Jaeger House is a vast, timbered, wooc" panelled Hofbrauhaus-style restaurant, with turbulent history. Before the war, it was favourite rendezvous for Fritz Kuhn's Amert, Bund. Bully-boys in brown shirts sang Horst Wessel, and something about marcluriel

against England. Nazi flags and portraits of Hitler adorned the walls, and heaven help a customer whose German accent was Jiidisch.

After the war, the Jaeger House turned the clock back and became pre-Hitler instead of Pro. Portraits of Frederick the Great replaced those of the Fuehrer. Pink-cheeked, whitehaired old waiters, all looking like S. Z. Cuddles Zakall, wearing red waistcoats, dispensed sauerbraten and foaming steins of beer. A pianist played themes from Cabaret and The Threepenny Opera. Local ladies wore Tyrolean hats. The atmosphere was as gemtitlich as all getout. Which was what my friend and I had in mind. We stopped appalled outside the building. The name had been changed to — Wait for it — the Great Spaghetti Factory. We entered the bar as cautiously as an infantry Patrol. Drinks were served at the bar by a bartender called Ian, who I think was English, but I was in shock too deep to ask. The dark Pannelled walls were still there, and even the Pictures of Frederick the Great, and NeuschWanstein. The takeover had been recent. But the menu served only spaghetti, veal scalloPini, etc. We drank and left. I suppose the nearest equivalent in London to the Jaeger' House, if only for size and woodwork, is Simpson's in the Strand. Imagine Simpson's turned overnight into a spaghetti joint! We Walked to 86th Street and ate at the Bremen House.

A dull life

And talking of Krauts, Bob Haldeman came over strongly in his TV interviews. He ran rings round Mike Wallace, who is supposed to be the toughest interviewer in the world. Life has been dull since Watergate. Time was, if I didn't get my Watergate fix in the papers every morning, I got withdrawal symptoms. It fascinated by its utter sterility. Not once, in the two years of scandal of — almost every dimension, was a single protagonist found in bed with a girl. Or even with a comely lad. So different from us. Miss Beall and Miss Buss.


Sorry, Ms Beall and Ms Buss. The newest decree of Women's Lib is a ban on the words Chairman' or 'Chairwoman'. It is now 'Chairperson'. Can you conceive the day when French politicians may no longer open their Perorations with the ringing, "Fran gal's!' Frangaises!" And substitute, "Personnes fran'Caises!" It loses in translation.

Kennedy dynasty

Many people here believe the Democrats will draft Teddy Kennedy anyway, despite everything (which is a lot). There is one overwhelming reason why I believe Kennedy cannot morally run, but, so far as I know, no one has made it. John Kennedy was elected in 1960 and would certainly have served two terms, to 1968. Bobby Kennedy would have run next, and would be serving as President today. There is no way Teddy could have succeeded Robby. The prospect of twenty-four uninterrupted years of Kennedy rule would be inconceivable to an American electorate. Sixteen years even of almighty Franklin D. Roosevelt would have had voters on the ropes, ready to vote for anybody else. Harold Stassen, Sonny Tufts. Only the deaths of his brothers have made Teddy a candidate. Perhaps he hasn't thought of it in those terms.

One of the residents of Chappaquiddick is Vance Packard, author of Hidden Persuaders

and others. He asked a friend to look in on Bloomingdale's and have some purchases Mailed to him. The salesgirl — sorry, salesperson — said, "How do you spell it? Vance Packard, 1 mean. 1 can spell Chappaquiddick."