LAST WEDNESDAY, Protocol Chief Lee Annenberg went to Blair House on an inspection of the presidential guest quarters in preparation for the visit of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
If anything displeased her, she said little about it to Carol Benefield, the manager of Blair House and a protege of Rosalynn Carter's who took over the job last September, according to Benefield.
But on Thursday, Benefield received a call from Annenberg's office at the State Department, telling her that she was being replaced, as of March 20.
Benefield said "no reason was given, it's just a political fact of life." All protocol political appointees, who are schedule C, were asked to submit letters of resignation when the new administration came in. In Benefield's case, the letter was accepted.
Annenberg, wife of former U.S. ambassador to Britain Walter Annenberg, has a reputation for being a perfectionist who runs her own houses with impeccable attention to detail and apparently wants to do things her own way.
Ernest Hemingway wrote what was apparently a love poem to Pamela Churchill over 30 years ago, but she never knew anything about it.
"How very odd, that I didn't know about it until you called," said Pamela Churchill, who is now the wife of elder statesman Averell Harriman. "I never even knew he wrote poetry."
Hemingway wrote the poem in Paris, Dec. 20, 1949. Titled "Black-Ass Poem After Talking to Pamela Churchill," it was published in 1979 in a collection of Hemingway poems.
"We leave them all quite easily
When dislike overcomes our love
Though nothing is done easily
When there's been love.
We leave and go and go to where?
What treasures are entrusted there?
Who knows where treasures treasures are
Who's only seen them from afar?
Who, knowing treasure, does not fear
When he has seen it close and near?
Fear not, Hie on, close up my lad
That all of gladness may be sad."
From "Ernest Hemingway: 88 Pems," (c) 1979 by The Ernest Hemingway Foundation and Nicholas Gerogiannis. Reprinted by permission of Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich Inc.
At the time the poem was written, Mrs. Harriman, who was then divorced from her first husband, Randolph Churchill, said she was living in Switzerland.
"To me it's so strange (the poem) because I only met Hemingway once. It was at the bar of the Ritz hotel in Paris during the war and I was with Charles Collingswood, who was then with CBS, and Bill Walton, who was then a Life correspondent, and Mary Welsh, who eventually became the third or fourth Mrs. Hemingway," Mrs. Harriman said.
Thursday night Halston revealed why he likes cigaretts. "They're like machine guns, they keep people away," he said, pulling his cigarette out of his mouth, and fake-firing it around the room at the post-performance party at the Kennedy Center for Martha Graham . . .
"Baby" Jane Holzer, onetime star of Andy Warhol movies who sat with Halston and Liza Minnelli in the presidential box during the performance, caused quite a stir at the post-performance party, by wearing a see-through jumpsuit without a stitch underneath. The beaded, filmy outfit was made by Halston "years ago" she said.
Small groups of guests stood gaping at Holzer as she flitted between Warhol and friends standing against one wall and Minnelli on the other side of the room.
Finally minerals-heiress Sophie Englehard, who was talking to Warhol, realized that Holzer's outfit was see-through. "Jane, you can see everything," Engelhard screeched. "Let me get you a coat."
"Oh no," Holzer said as she laughed and ran back to Minnelli.
What is Holzer, who was once dubbed "Girl of the Year" by writer Tom Wolfe, doing these days?
"I work," she said.
But what does she do?
"I work, and see Halston. I have to go talk to Liza," she said, rushing off.
Soon another line of people gathered in front of Holzer and gaped.
Catharina Biddle, wife of Livingston, broke through the group, went up to Holzer and said she loved Holzer's outfit. "It is lined, isn't it?" Biddle asked.
"Not exactly," Holzer replied. "But isn't it great?"
Then Baby Jane went back to get Sophie Engelhard to introduce her to Halston.
"I haven't seen you since I was 9 years old," Engelhard told the designer.
"You probably don't remember me, I had buck teeth and long frizzy hair."
Halston said later that he certainly did remember Engelhard.
"When I first opened up shop, my first day of business, Babe Paley came in at 9:30 in the morning and Jane Engelhard was there at 10:30. I thought, 'My God, I needed the business and what could be better -- Jane Engelhard had five daughters.'"
Nancy Reagan may not wear many of his designer clothes, but Halston has nothing but good things to say about the first lady.
"She's terrific; she's got style; it's her whole attitude about clothes -- she cares," he said enthusiastically last week.
The fact she doesn't wear his designs doesn't faze him. "That's not the point; she looks so good." Halston, who is known for his simple designs, protested he could also design complicated dresses, such as Nancy Reagan sometimes wears. "I could design a dress as big as this room if you want one," Halston said, his hand sweeping across the immense Kennedy Center first-tier lobby.