Monday, March 22, 2021

My Claim to Fame

In Courage Without Grace, Josie reads palms at parties, but she doesn't meet anyone famous. In reality, one of the most memorable experiences I had in Washington, DC was reading palms at a party hosted by Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn. Mr. Bradlee was the executive editor of the Washington Post at the time, and his socialite wife knew everyone who was anyone in the capital. I remember being awed by their beautiful home (so many books!) and by their kindness to me. I was also impressed with the famous faces I saw. 

I don't remember how any of the palm-readings went, but I do remember meeting Carl Bernstein. I know it was him and not Bob Woodward because he told me Dustin Hoffman played him in All the President's Men, not Robert Redford. I was all of 25, so I'll admit I was disappointed it wasn't Robert Redford! I had made it a habit to ask for reference letters when my time was up, and I still have what Mr. Bradlee wrote, on his letterhead. 

"Jeannie Oliver was great on Saturday night, February 10, 1990. Reading palms. I suspect she is great every night--reading palms and making..." what?! It's been  years, and I still haven't figured out what that last word is! What do you think it says?

Later in 1990, Anita Womack wrote an article about me in The Washington Post Magazine entitled "Giving Her a Hand." Here are highlights: 

"Coffee? Tea? Or how about a peek into your future? Meet Jeannie Oliver, teatime palm reader at the park Hyatt Hotel. She sweeps into the hotel lounge Wednesdays and Thursdays at 3 and begins asking customers if they want their palms read.

John Herrmann, a senior cataloguer at the Library of Congress, has had his palm read several times and says he learns something new about himself every time. What's more, he recently took a vocational test and says Oliver's findings mirror the results. "It's cheaper than a vocational test and certainly a lot more fun," he says. It can, of course, get much more expensive; Oliver's full sessions are $60 an hour. 

How does the daughter of Baptist missionaries end up in a business like this? By having her palm read, as Oliver did about two years ago. 'It made me feel so good about myself, and I said, I'd like to do this for other people.'"

Click here for the ebook version of   Courage Without Grace It's still on pre-order at only $2.99! Grab your kindle/ereader copy today! And not to worry, I'll keep you posted on the paperback edition.

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