The Rainbow Comes and Goes is an email conversation between Gloria Vanderbilt, then age 91, and her son, Anderson Cooper, because he, “found there was still much I didn't know...that she hadn't passed on.” In these pages are two people who found each other and themselves, and, reading them, we find ourselves too.
Gloria Vanderbilt is the great granddaughter of Civil War General Judson Kilpatrick. Her Uncle Alfred went down with the Lusitania. Her Aunt Thelma was a mistress of Edward, Prince of Wales, before Wallis Simpson appeared. Her ancestral grandfather, Cornelius, when he died in 1877, was worth what today would be two billion dollars.
When her father died in 1927, Gloria inherited 50 percent of a 5 million dollar trust fund (upwards of 34 million dollars today). When she was ten, she was the center of The Trial of the Century – a fight between her mother (who really wanted that trust fund) and her aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney who founded the Whitney museum. And that's just for starters. In her 92 years, she has seen and done more than most of us and everyone we know combined, and she's still going strong.
They seem so different. Anderson had two loving parents, but Gloria had neither. Anderson admits, “I am always planning, preparing myself for what comes next and what may come after that and after that.” Gloria was born into chaos, was raised in it and finds herself perfectly at home in it. Anderson reports the facts while Gloria paints and sculpts. Through their emails, however, they find how they are alike.
Gloria says it best: “We share sensitivity, tempered by poise and the reserve to reveal only what we wish to communicate.” Their reminiscences, their painful revelations make for fascinating reading, but perhaps the best takeaway is one of Gloria's favorite quotes: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”
To learn more about this and other books, visit the Boulder City Library at 701 Adams Boulevard, 293-1281, www.bouldercitylibrary.org