"To make people laugh is terribly exciting. To make people forget their problems. ever for a second, is a rich feeling; one becomes, somehow, a warm and mellowing part of their lives."
A IS FOR ALDERNEY
"We bought a hideaway stone cottage-one of three in a row; the walls are almost thicker than the rooms are big. Everything there needs slipcovers or upholstery, but we like it as it is, a jumble of bits and pieces, terribly comfy. A roaring fireplace, chintz-covered armchairs, a secondhand kitchen table painted white.
"When I was expecting our baby, I stayed in Alderney for seven months. I kept a diary, cooked roasts and stews on the old-fashioned stove, waxed the woodwork, shopped-and was spoiled by the islanders.
"I cherish every hour there. In my wallet I carry a color snapshot of the cottage and stare at it like a fool when I yearn to steal away and can't. Alderney is my paradise. When there is rain in England, you can count on the sun in Alderney. Spring arrives two weeks earlier, with windblown meadows of maroon and yellow tulips, blue irises, daffodils dancing on the hills."
"Black velvet arouses memories of a party dress I wore in a movie, The Americanization of Emily. A sheath slim as a pencil, sleeveless, with a deep-V neckline, it's the style I now love best. I've had it copied in clear warm colors and white (I wear white both winter and summer). Whenever I put on one of the copies, I remember the original in black velvet, and wonder if it's the black magic that has brought me such loony luck."
C IS FOR CANDLELIGHT, CARNET DE BAL and CLOVES
"Carnet de Bal is a musky fragrance, not too sweet or sophisticated. I tire easily of scents, but never of Carnet de Bal. And I like Y, the new perfume created by French designer Yves St. Laurent."
"Cloves are an exotic spice-in a cooky or a mug of mulled holiday wine. One friend gave me a lemon studded with cloves, and I keep it by my bathtub. Lemony cloves-the smell is very refreshing !"
D IS FOR DISNEY, DOUBLE BASS, TUE DICTIONARY GAME
"Disney is dynamic but gentle, and his work is his life, day and night. He can laugh at himself, too. Only a handful of people know his teasing sense of humor. One day, Mike Nichols, the director of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (a searching movie about a problem marriage), double-dared me to glue a wacky sticker-'Mary Poppins Is a Junkie'-on my station wagon. Well, I did, and Disney saw it. 'Will you please tell Mr. Nichols,' he said, chuck-
"I ache to play the double bass. After I learned to strum a dozen guitar chords for The Sound of Music, I realized that any instrument I cuddled gave me a mothering feeling. The sound hit me in the stomach like a child. Woodwinds, by contrast, appeal to the mind. But a cello throbs with heart and warmth, and imagine what deep power rumbles in a double bass!"
"I'm not madly keen on games, but the Dictionary Game taught me unusual words, and now it's a favorite. Generally I revel in good talk at parties, where I learn about other people's jobs, what their lives are like, etc. The more parties I go to, though, the less I like them. The best parties for me include no more than six guests-and lively conversations long into the night."
E IS FOR EMMA and EARLY MORNING
"She's a million light years ahead of her mother. Emma's memory always floors me. 'Mummy, isn't that like so-and-so?' she asks, recalling an incident of ages ago. Like her father, who is a designer, she loves to draw-strange, spindly sketches of whatever she sees. Last year Tony took her to the Prado Museum in Madrid. After she studied the huge halls lined with masterpieces, Emma pointed at the tourists and tugged Tony's arm. 'Daddy,' she asked, 'why is everybody coming to see your paintings?' No daughter could pay her father a greater compliment.
"Emma loves to sing, and most of all enjoys a sing-along when we're riding in the car. Home on the Range, Baa Baa Black Sheep, and Happy Birthday to Me lead Emma's hit parade at the moment.
"When she isn't singing or sketching, she's busy pulling at her knee socks. Keeping them up is her greatest concern."
"Early mornings in California sparkle. From our house in the canyon we see the street lights of Los Angeles, which are still on at sunrise. The mists are frosty and spangled pink with morning sun."
F IS FOR FLOWERS
"My first year in New York, I was appearing on Broadway in The Boy Friend. We were paid on Fridays, and by Wednesday of each week I was broke and miserably homesick. So I'd borrow 35r~ to buy a bunch of lilacs, which helped me through Thursday to payday.
"Bluebells evoke England, too, with memories of my father's home in the heart of the Surrey countryside. When the wind blows, the fields of bluebells shimmer like indigo butterflies."
G IS FOR GEORGIAN GOBLETS
H IS FOR HEIRLOOMS
"Nine months Later, it was my birthday, and we were strolling along Fifth Avenue. We sauntered into Georg Jensen's, where I had spotted the topaz, and there, gleaming like a dark moon, it lay on a
"Another pendant I treasure was given me by the New York company of My Fair Lady. A plain round medallion of pearls and diamonds, it's on a long, thin chain.
"The brooch Tony gave me in lieu of an engagement ring is a tiny gold laurel wreath. When we were married, Tony designed our wedding bands to match."
I IS FOR INDOOR-OUTDOOR ROOM
"The house is fairly new-only four or five years old-modern and snuggled into a canyon in Beverly Hills. We bought it last year, but I'm furnishing it slowly. The living room is still bare, except for a pile of silk pillows, a grand piano and a primitive Polish wood carving on the mantel. I prefer old things and special nubby textures, and I like to scout them myself, but that old devil, time (that is, the lack of it) keeps getting in my way."
J IS FOR JOHN
"I've seen John only three times in the past ten years, and I long to hear his giggle, which is the most wonderful throaty chuckle in the world, completely infectious. When I hear him giggling, I giggle too, and we're helpless. He laughs so hard he has to lean against a wall, and very often he'll sink on his knees in a heap.
"Years pass, yet when John and I see each other it seems as though we were together only yesterday."
K IS FOR KATE
L IS FOR LYRICS and A LEMON LUNCH
Love, I hear, makes you sigh a lot.
"Lemons were the theme of the loveliest lunch in New York while I was performing in Camelot. Our host served lemon soup, shad roe with lemon, lemon soufflé and lemon petits fours. Inspired !"
M IS FOR MUSIC and A MERCEDES (I hope)
"Jazz I like: Thelonious Monk, Cannonball Adderley and Art Tatum. The music of Andre Previn cheers me. Rock 'n' roll by the Beatles reaches right down inside.
"My great desire is to own a dove-gray, four-door Mercedes 190. I like sitting high at the steering wheel, the solidity and compactness. So many sports cars give me claustrophobia."
N is for NATURE and NAVAJO RUGS
"The fresh buoyant air on a clear spring day holds such incredible promise. Greening English earth is usually the greenest green, and everything blossoms, including my skin.
"I guess I have an autumnal soul, since I love the fall most of all, its sweet sadness and nostalgia, the tumble of crimson and gold colors in America. I was born in autumn on the first of October; maybe this is why I feel it so deeply."
"If happiness is a warm blanket, then bliss is a Navajo rug. Along La Cienega Boulevard Los Angeles is my favorite shop, The 49 Steps, with fine Navajo throws amid a hodgepodge of hammered silver necklaces, turquoise brooches, African masks. I bought a Navajo rug for Christmas; each month of the year is depicted with fascinating Indian symbols. It hangs on my wall, it's that decorative."
O is for ONCE AND FUTURE KING and a wise old OWL
"Other books I've liked are Henderson, the Rain King by Saul Bellow, and the Pooh stories by A. A. Milne."
"I like the independence of owls, the songs of larks and the magnificence of hawks and eagles. For a long time I watched birds with John, until one day we decided the poor things ought to be left alone to their private lives-just like everybody else."
P is for POTATOES and POEMS
"Two Shakespearean sonnets (the ones beginning 'Weary with toil I haste me to my bed . . .' and 'When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes. . and a poem by Robert Frost which begins, 'She is as in a field a silken tent.' I read them over and over. For me these capture all the mystery of love."
Q is for Q-TIP
R is for RASPBERRIES
S is for SLEEP, SPECTACLES AND STARGAZING
"Spectacles-movie spectacles-make me laugh. Horrendous extravaganzas like El Cid are good bad movies, if you know what I mean."
"Stargazing is my current craze. I bought a telescope while I was filming Hawaii in Honolulu, and our producer gave me a beautiful astronomy book and a map of the heavens. I recognize the constellations now-Orion, the Pleiades, Cassiopeia. Although I'm just an amateur astronomer, starlit nights encompass new dimensions.~~
T is for THEATER
"Musicals I've adored: Gypsy, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls. As for actors, well, I guess my favorite depends on who's my leading man of the moment."
U is for UNUSED STATIONERY
"Bookshops lure me too, and I love to lose myself in them at Christmastime. Watching people reverently handle books pleases me. I'm fussy about choosing just the right book for a friend-I want a book to have a good home."
V is for VERMEER and VLAMINCK
W is for WELLS, WALTON, WHITE and WOOD
"Walton is my married name. My marriage has made me a part of a glorious family, who-if you would like to know more about them-are all described in T. H. White's travel diary, America at Last."
"T. H. White is another beloved W. It was Tim who introduced us to the brisk air of Alderney, and, of course, he's the author I love most. He died too soon, at 57; how lucky I was to know his genius.
"Wood is my passion-darkest mahogany and walnut, venerable with the patina of years. This winter I found an antique mahogany Windsor armchair, constructed without a single nail-only with wooden pegs-and it will be the chair for my (as yet nonexistent) desk, which is the most personal possession.
X is for XXX's
Y is for YACHTING
Z is for ZOE
"We three could chat for centuries, about children and love, audiences and work. When I was a teenager, the theater was just a job. But now, after talking with Svetlana and Zoe. I have another awareness. To make people laugh is terribly exciting. To make people forget their problems. ever for a second, is a rich feeling; one becomes, somehow, a warm and mellowing part of their lives."