Monica’s Graceful Farewell

  • The National Post
  • |
  • October 14, 1998

by Karen Feld

Washington, DC. . . Attention is once again focused on the posh Watergate–made famous by the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters. This time, Monica Lewinsky’s neighbors at Watergate South, part of the tony condominium complex overlooking the Potomac, were surprised to find in their mail slots Tuesday morning a personally signed letter printed in script on blue stationery. It was addressed “Dear Residents of Watergate South.” In her letter Monica apologized for “the inconveniences of the past nine months” and thanked them for their “kind words.”

“I thought it was a nice gesture,” says surprised Watergate South resident Buzz Blair. “I think the letter was genuine and I’m not going to throw it away since she wrote her own name,” adds Blair, who is no stranger to politicians and their antics. After all, he owns Washington D.C.’s Prime Rib, the popular downtown watering hole. Blair adds, “I wouldn’t sell the letter — if things get that bad I don’t belong in the Watergate.”

“It will be dull around here without her,” says longtime Watergate resident Jane Ikard, who has been amused by the comings and goings of not only Monica but also members of the press corps who literally have camped out in front of the building for the past nine months. “There was a lot of chaos with her here,” she adds.

“Thought provoking, but not surprising,” says one D.C. socialite who lives in the building. “Monica was like a prisoner in her own apartment; she was like a trapped animal. . . no wonder she wants to get out.”

When asked for reaction, the manager of Watergate South replied: “We’re not permitted to have this conversation.”

VIP Watergate South residents who received Monica’s farewell letter include former Senate Leader Bob Dole and his wife Elizabeth; Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and husband, Martin; former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger; former Senators Howard Baker and Nancy Kassebaum; and opera star Placido Domingo. Sen. John Warner has recently moved out so missed the special communication. Others in the Watergate complex, once the home of Richard Nixon’s loyal secretary Rosemary Woods, include candyman Forrest Mars and Anna Chenault.

“Monica’s signed letter is very collectible,” says Greg Peebles, Curator of the Washington, D.C., branch of The Gallery of History. “It’s a historical document and I suspect it will go for a lot — several hundred dollars at least — but the only way you can put a price on it is when one sells at auction.” Monica distributed some 250 personally signed copies to her neighbors.

But Warren Wigutow, rare book buyer for well-known Second Story Books in the nations capital, has a different opinion: “At the moment I’d place it in the Beanie Baby category rather than anything serious.”

Where will this infamous young woman find serenity if that’s what she really wants? “You know I can’t tell you that,” says Monica’s spokeswoman, Judy Smith.

There’s speculation that she may move to a distant and undisclosed place, perhaps to Paris for the fashion and fine wine or to Australia to see her friend, Dr. Chris Burn. Perhaps she’ll hide out with her newly wed mom in New York while the duo collaborate putting the final touches on Monica’s memoirs. Or she may spend her days with Aunt Debra Finerman in Warrenton, Va. or with her dad in Los Angeles.

As for Monica’s Watergate digs, the Bob Doles are considering buying their former next door neighbor’s apartment to extend their own space. Perhaps they’ll keep her signed farewell letter as one additional reminder of Bill Clinton’s legacy.

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