Mrs. Didion Didn't Say She'd Buy the Flowers Herself

Joan always kept orchid plants, and liked to linger in the greenhouse of a grower in Malibu, Amado Vazquez, who would name a pink-and-white-striped orchid Phal. Joan Didion Dunne. When everything looked as she wished, Joan, John and I went to get dressed and then gathered in her study. Wearing a rose-print batiste dress (one of a matching pair she’d bought for Quintana and herself in the children’s department at Bonwit’s), Joan lit a Pall Mall. “We’re ready for the party,” she said, adding that she was always nervous before dinner was served. Hired help arrived to tend bar and set up the buffet, and I remember Joan and I discussing what we might wear under the filmy see-through clothes that were becoming popular in L.A.

— Oh my. $2.99, for iPad, Kindle single, whatever, that kind of thing!