Each month we spotlight a volunteer, staff member, docent, donor, or sponsor of Virginia Robinson Gardens (VRG) — those that have made an impact on the organization. We want to let you know about these wonderful people and corporations that give so much to the Virginia Robinson Gardens and to the community, and what they do that is so impactful.
This month, we spotlight Regina Drucker, a dedicated Friend of Robinson Gardens Board Member and VRG Historian.
We asked her these three questions:
1. How did you first learn about VRG, and what inspired you to become a Friend?
Oh my, where to begin, let me put my Hobo Kelly Glasses on and take a trip down Memory Lane. My first visit was in 1986, when VRG hosted their Black Tie dinner dance: The Party of The August Moon. It was a glorious evening, arriving with a fellow Catholic friend, who was the head usher at Good Shepherd and former CEO of Finance at NBC, his other guests being Don Grady of My Three Sons fame and his then girlfriend, now his wife. I shimmered in a butterfly wing pattern sequin top from The Staircase on Sunset Plaza with a long tapered black skirt. Upon walking under the Wisteria at the Front Door, I was mesmerized by the enchanted nature of the home and then whisked into the gardens which just went on and on so gracefully. We played Chinese Checkers in the Library while sipping cocktails and dinner by the pool which had Swans floating. Then, it was a small affair, intimate in nature, and yet I recall one monkey in the cage.
A few years later, I met Jeanne Anderson at a Bridal Shower she gave at the Four Seasons for a mutual friend who I fixed up, who is still married. In 1997, she asked if I would open our former garden on San Rafael in Pasadena for The Garden Conservancy which was then in its infancy here on the West Coast, or at least in Southern California. In those days, it was an honor system to sell tickets and to take funds at the gate, not like today where tickets are prepaid and garden addresses are private until purchase; so there I was with my niece Carla, sitting at a little table taking cash and then sending it back to the Garden Conservancy. A favorite memory of Jeanne from years past, was the day we each bought Wisteria plants at San Gabriel Nursery; mine is still in my collection in a Chinois Blue and White pot with plate…so beautiful. I remember that day each year the flowers bloom.
In the early 2000s, Jeanne invited me to join VRG, and though reluctant at first, for I can either be a recluse or is it a loose wreck – still figuring that one out – well the rest is history. It is a tranquil, historic setting…and speaking of History, it is my honor to work with Marcella as a Historian at VRG, though no one can replace her prowess on recollection of detail…she wrote the book as they say, and did she ever!
2. What’s your role – How do you contribute to VRG?
I have helped out when needed and possible in whatever is asked, and though from a distance of late due to our present world, it is with History and Hope that others will continue to do the same, for when darkness falls around us, WE should all seek the Light, and none has burned brighter in The City of Angels than Virginia’s Garden of Earthly Delights. As I write articles at times and am Historian with Marcella, it would help others to note how long members can be attached to this enchanted place by reading the attached clipping from 1986, as saved by Joan Selwyn, our First President.
On a side note, my husband Bruce and I hosted the Fellows in 2017, a day memorialized with the haunting piano melody of Alexandre Desplat as played by Lang Lang from the film, The Painted Veil to set the mood while touring the Pavilion San Rafael. Cocktails of Aperol Spritz and L’Orientale flowed in homage to the Chinois Pagoda by the Pool, and Little Flower Candy Company did the catering…it was such a Magical evening with gobs of people lingering in the garden with Crowns upon their heads of flowers…it was named Floralia, after The Goddess of Flora.
3. Can you share a favorite VRG memory with us?
One special gift of VRG which brings a ‘Miracle’ to mind, is how it reaches out to Inner City children who may never get to travel out of Los Angeles in their lifetime, let alone to Europe. VRG brings The Old World of Europe to a Modern City in America. It is with a hope of sparking just one child’s imagination to pursue a Dream of Enlightening the World, for HOPE is all WE have, but for many of these children, it is extinguished or diminished by life’s daily vicissitudes.
I love the gals that I have met at VRG, my Sisters of the Garden, for are we not all acolytes of Beauty? What better Altar to worship Beauty but in a Garden that whisks one away to a world within a world, without the tick tock of time or the dramas of the outside world.
Jeanne, Ann, Linda, Krista, Kerstin & Marcella and so many other Souls who bear REAL smiling faces and PURE hearts have made my life all the more anchored in serenity especially during these turbulent times of a pandemic and political unrest. WE are all children of America, which is an Idea, not a place that can be owned or controlled, with Lady Liberty as the beacon, and though she has been reviled, defiled and denigrated of late, she still bears her Torch welcoming ALL to her safe harbors, and one of those harbors for me is Virginia’s Vision on Elden.
Another place in my heart is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the inspirational and fantastical Zumthor designed Museum which will span across Wilshire. I donated my Costume Collection from Fortuny to Charles James to Balenciaga, which includes the largest collection of Alexander McQueen ensembles outside of the McQueen Studios Archive.
It was gifted to Los Angeles in perpetuity with the thought of those who never saw either of the McQueen exhibitions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City or The Victoria & Albert Museum in London years ago. One can hope of inspiring minds of those lucky to dwell within our fabled City of The Angels in the generations to come. An exhibition at LACMA featuring this collection of Alexander McQueen will open in Spring of 2022, having been postponed from Fall 2021 due to COVID-19. With the new LACMA Museum to be completed in 2024, this exhibition will be held in 2022 in the Resnick Pavilion designed by Renzo Piano. It is my HOPE, that this exhibition will be a shining moment and a joyous event in the City of Angels, when we have all emerged from this current Age of Darkness.
God Bless America and ALL who believe in Virginia Robinson’s Vision on Elden and LACMA, the Treasury of Beauty that belongs to Los Angeles.