Greatest Fictional New Yorkers #24: Mame Dennis
Name: Mame Dennis Burnside
Address: 23 Beekman Place, New York City
Occupation: Center of Known Universe, Bon Vivant
Memorable Quote: “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
On a “bright blue October day” in 1928, young orphan Patrick Dennis arrived with his caretaker Nora Muldoon to the glorious New York City apartment of his only living relative, “Auntie” Mame Dennis. Rather bad timing it was, seeing a jazzy party was underway, complete with bootleg gin and certain counterculture elements mixing with high society types. Nevertheless, Mame scooped Patrick up, declared him her “little love”, and promised to show him the world. With the help of “Uncle” Lindsey Woolsey, the noted publisher, first lady of the American theatre Vera Charles, Japanese houseboy Ito, and the long-suffering Nora, Mame accomplished just that. Only the meddling of Patrick’s Trustee, Dwight Babcock of the Knickerbocker Bank, stood in the way of madcap adventure and enthusiastically free-spirited hijinks; Mame would, as she always did, slyly get her way in the end.
The Great Stock Market Crash and subsequent Great Depression wiped out Mame and all her terribly chic friends, but nothing ever dampened the wildly eccentric spirit of Miss Dennis. At the very end of her luck, Mame met and was wooed by one Beauregard Pickett Jackson Burnside, extraordinarily wealthy Southern oilman. After a remarkable engagement, Mr. and Mrs. Burnside embarked on a world-wide, life-long (for Mr. Burnside) honeymoon. After a period of mourning for her dear departed husband, Mrs. Burnside wrote her devastating memoir with the aid of a secretary/sponge, Agnes Gooch and an editor, poet-at-large Bryan O’Bannion. Mame’s charge, young Patrick Dennis, graduated from St. Boniface Academy and was briefly engaged to Gloria Upson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Upson of Mountebank, CT before marrying Pegeen Ryan.
After an appropriate mourning period, Mame Dennis Burnside married her long-time friend, Lindsey Woolsey. The newlyweds resided at Beekman Place and in India for the remainder of their lives.