In 1966, Fae Brodie, then Fae Lee Rubin–-owner of Party-Go-Round—received a telephone call asking if she stocked white satin, heart-shaped wedding cake boxes. The next day, the caller came to the shop to purchase one and later called in an order for 750 of the boxes. When Mrs. Rubin requested a deposit or purchase order, the caller assured her that the father of the bride, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, would pay the bill promptly.
While work on the gold monogram stamping for the box tops progressed, the White House requested decorative materials for the wedding such as gold metallic cord, narrow gold foil paper, and personalized napkins. Then, one day, the White House housekeeper called to ask if Mrs. Rubin would assist with the wedding plans. How could she say no?
Mrs. Rubin later wrote, “As I drove onto the White House grounds, my eyes filled with tears. I was overwhelmed by the unique experience I was about to encounter.” Her tasks included helping cut 750 pieces of groom’s cake, wrapping each piece in gold foil and placing them into the satin cake boxes, which were then tied with gold cord. By the time the wedding was over, she’d been working at the White House off and on for two weeks. Mrs. Rubin went on to help plan the wedding of Lynda Baines Johnson to Chuck Robb the next year.
Mrs. Rubin’s Party-Go-Round started as a small part of the Jewish-owned Jacobs Paper Co. at 5609 Georgia Avenue, NW. After realizing that party supplies would sell well with paper supplies and cards, Mrs. Rubin expanded into the party planning business. One day, after ordering invitations for her daughter’s Sweet 16 party, a customer asked if Mrs. Rubin could decorate the party room. Despite having no experience, she agreed. Just two weeks after the party, another mother hired her to decorate her daughter’s Sweet 16 party.
Business took off–more invitation catalogs, more paper stock and more party decorations. With the expansion, Mrs. Rubin relocated to downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. In her busiest year, she had an event every weekend except two. In addition to the White House weddings, Mrs. Rubin helped with the Naval Academy Ring Dance and parties for General Omar and Kitty Bradley.
With the death of her husband in 1978, Mrs. Rubin decided to put party planning aside and focus on the shop, which then carried a full offering of party and holiday decorations from New Year’s Eve kits and Halloween costumes to custom-print cards. Eleven years later, she retired and sold the shop. A Takoma Park couple has owned the business since.
This year, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, in conjunction with the Jewish Food Experience, is featuring DC’s rich Jewish food history as its Objects of the Month. For information on DC’s Jewish history–including programs, exhibitions and publications–visit jhsgw.org.
Top photo: President Johnson escorting daughter Luci from the White House to her wedding, 1966