It’s early afternoon, and you’re sliding out of your tennis outfit in what Virginia calls the Playhouse (the Pool Pavilion). You think back to a few moments ago on the Robinsons' tennis court and silently reprimand yourself for forgetting to practice your backhand more. Charlie (referring, of course, to Charlie Chaplin), was much better than you remembered. Shrugging, you slip on your lunch attire (your swimsuit lay next to you ready for use this afternoon) and head out for a delicious luncheon overlooking the tennis court.
This scenario might sound like a complete fantasy, but it read like a typical day for Virginia and Harry Robinson’s friends. The spirit of play was alive and well in the Robinson household, as seen in the four photos above. Indeed, the Robinsons were famous for hosting the crème de la crème of Hollywood (and even English royalty) in their home and gardens for tennis matches, ping pong tournaments, fabulous lunches, card games, afternoons in the pool, tea, and more.
Today, we honor the Robinsons by incorporating fun and games into our programs and events at the Gardens. During the Children’s Science Fair, the kids enjoy rounds of cornhole, turns with the hula hoop, and games of ping pong on the Great Lawn. Even the Friends have been known to host badminton games at the Gardens. No doubt Harry and Virginia would have joined in on all of this merriment if they had been around to see it.
It is likely that this love of play and fun helped make Virginia such a magnetic force that she became known as the First Lady of Beverly Hills. So as you continue through 2020, try to channel Mrs. Robinson’s joie de vivre by putting down that worrying news article and picking up your favorite game. At the very least, you’ll have some fun!
Post by Natalie Gordon
Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member and Membership Chair