Mrs. Hicks' Party
It was going to be such a grand party. There were long wooden tables filled with trays of chicken salad sandwiches, and green-frosted victory cake. The five bars had been well stocked for the expected throng of Louise Day Hicks supporters, Dozens of South Boston girls, wearing Kelly green cocktail dresses and Kelly green shoes, were all set for an evening of singing, dancing, and celebrating. Even the artificial stars set in the ceiling over the Boston City Club's tiny dance floor were twinkling.
But as one of the Faithful, said leaving the Club shortly after Mrs. Hick's 10 p.m. concession speech, "The world is rotten; rotten right to the middle of the core. It's really rotten." The last few hears haven't been good ones for the people who supported Louise Day Hicks; first the Establishment got the Commonwealth to overturn the Neighborhood School idea with the racial imbalance law; and last night it spoiled the victory party by getting Kevin White elected Mayor. "The Establishment--you know, the bankers and the reporters," said a lady in a frilly blue party dress, "that's what licked her."
But don't you worry, you'll hear from Louise again," said another woman. A member of the Red Emeralds Motorcycle Club, who had been twisting to Bye Bye Blackbird, stopped to concur: "Yah, I feel kind of victorious anyway; she nearly did split up that Establishment."
Despite the confidence of the Faithful, it looks like the Establishment has ended the political career of Mrs. Louise Day Hicks, and ruined forever the threat of Boston's Populists to become the controlling force in the city's politics.
Some observers of Boston politics had wondered if the great exodus to the suburbs had not left Boston entirely in the hands of the Populists, the traditionalists, and those who still maintain a defensive immigrant mentality. The election of Kevin White, a somewhat sophisticated and cosmopolitan politician, as Mayor and the election of John L.Saltonstall '38, a true Boston Brahmin, and of Thomas Atkins, a Negro, to the Boston City Council indicates otherwise. And other observers had wondered if Mrs. Hicks' old-fashioned "house party and hand-shake" campaign style, and her emotional appeals to parochialism and selfishness would be as effective now as in the past. Yesterday's results indicate otherwise.
Of course, Mrs. Hicks will be with us for a long time. But her organization is falling apart, she is tired and probably glad the ordeal is over (the only speech she's made in the last three years that was delivered in a relaxed tone of voice was last night's concession).
When Mrs. Hicks arrived at the City Club podium to concede gaciously to Kevin White a fan yelled out, "This is your best hour, Louise, your best hour." Actually you might say the same about the people of Boston.