This year there was a half page of love notes in the “Washington Post”. You probably don’t know how important a “love note” was and is, because people only express their feelings electronically or using someone else’s words in a card. But starting in the 80’s, on Valentines Day, people would write love notes to their beloveds and post them on a special page in the Wash Post. Over the years, the number of notes posted on Valentine’s Day grew, until there was an entire section (4 or 5 pages),of the paper dedicated to them. But, and I think unfortunately, as a consequence of the popularity of electronic communication, yesterday, it had dwindled to half a page.
There was a time when I loved that holiday, and then, things happened and it was no longer on my top ten, until sometimes in the 70’s when we started to have a girlfriend lunch with Michael Berman. When it started there were about five of us. Just a small group of political friends wanting to celebrate a holiday that commemorates Love and Relationships.
The luncheon continued to grow. None of us remember how fast, or how it happened but first we were five and then we were 120. You might think that the number of people make the celebration less important, but not true. It is a great leveler. The most important women in Washington, media, politics, PR, lobbying, are all there. (Even Hillary stopped by.) It is the one time a year that women friends have a chance to get together socially and don’t worry about business. Or it is an opportunity to do business with friends. Or it is just a time to catch up. Since I am not part of that conversation anymore, it is just a great way to bond with people who I have known for years and years, and never get to see anymore.
What a great many people do not understand is that Michael is more than a lobbyist and strategic communication expert, as well the person who hosts the best party in Washington. Many of my closest female friends, who have not ever been there, think it is the most important ticket in the city. He is a very generous, incredibly smart guy, who mentors, not only young women, but Senior government people looking to take the next step in their lives. We have been good friends for more than thirty years. I am no longer an important Washington character, but I get my invite every year. The women who go to the luncheon all think they have a special place in his life, and they do, because he has made such a difference for them in their careers. Of course, his wife says, “All of you can stand in line, I married him.” And she is a truly wonderful addition to his life and, of course, the luncheon.
It’s a special day for me. It is a lovely expression of love in a town where connections, not love, is the key to success. Last year I was traveling and couldn’t make it and I was upset beyond words. I love to go because it is a reminder of who I was, and what I have become. Both of which are just fine. Michael has always been a friend, a mentor and a gift. He liked the “love note” David posted in the paper, never get too old to be important or meaningful. They are both a wonderful expression of love. We’re just sayin’… Iris