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Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Reagan’

Get The Flame-Thrower! Two People Need Six Hours to Clear Out Ten Years' Worth Of Crap?

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2010 at 4:06 pm
Storage Unit

Image by Penningtron via Flickr

Exhausted!

We started this morning at 9:30 and simply gave up in weary surrender at 2:30, running to KFC for a little disgusting junk-food solace.

So much crap. Two career journos who like to read: photos, negatives, framed artwork, furniture and cookware he kept when he moved into my small apartment 10 years ago.

I did find some very dear treasures, from the cat hand puppet of my childhood to a photo of me in January 1994 on Ko Phi Phi, a remote island off of Southern Thailand to my sketchbook from 1998 with my watercolors of Melbourne and New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula. Then there were the engagement photos of me and my ex-husband and even the seating chart for our wedding dinner.  Former beaux cropped up in numerous photos.

Some of it was sad and painful — lots of cards from and photos of the woman who was my closest friend for a decade, who dropped me forever after she married. I found tons of art supplies: pastels, sketchbooks, my colored pencils and watercolors. I loved seeing my paintings from Mexico — where I took an afternoon art class in Spanish in Coyoacan, a suburb of Mexico City. Serendipity turned up some materials that exactly fit my current needs, from a book on handling arthritis pain to a labor study from a week-long journalism fellowship in September 2001; I was on a suburban Maryland college campus on 9/11.

We also, eerily, found a color postcard of the World Trade Center — the day my partner was to move from his Brooklyn apartment into mine was 9/11. Instead, he edited photos for his newspaper job from his apartment and I spent the day in Maryland wondering if he was alive or dead.

My sweetie found a ton of memorabilia — like the color photo of him with Larry Hagman dressed as Santa Claus with Nancy Reagan, in a typically red suit, laughing behind the three of them. Or him posing with George H.W. Bush and Barbara. (White House annual holiday party, open to all members of the White House Press Corps.) A deeply mushy note from an ex? Torn to bits. Ouch!

He’s a Buddhist, but boy do we have a lot of crap. We barely got through half of it today so next Saturday is devoted to finishing the job. Out forever will go the four-foot high stereo speakers as we try to compress everything left into a much smaller, cheaper space. It makes me crazy to spend good money to store…junk. It’s not junk, but what is it? Memories. Stuff, for now, we’re not ready to toss entirely.

I’d flame it all, but I treasure my mother’s typewritten letters, photos and negatives and slides dating back decades and, yes, my bloody clips. His life, like mine, has been filled with adventure, sports, travel and some historic news photos, by him and by others. I adore the 1959 black and white photo he found of his Dad — a Baptist minister long-dead who I never met — complete with those wavy 1950s photo edges. In it, he’s wearing three pairs of eye-glasses at once.

I’d never pictured his Dad being goofy and playful so this is a new image, and one worth framing.

Next week…who knows?

Brooke Astor Story Continues — Juror In Marshall Trial Alleges Threat From Fellow Juror; Astor's Country Estate Unsold At $10.5 M

In Crime on February 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 21:  Anthony Marshall (C),...

Anthony Marshall, Astor's son. Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The trial of Anthony Marshall, only son of philanthropist Brooke Astor, who died in August 2007, is under question after a juror on the case has said she was frightened into her decision.

The 19-week trial, which produced 18,000 pages of documents and pulled into the courtroom such social luminaries as Annette de la Renta, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Walters and Henry Kissinger, left Marshall, age 85, convicted of defrauding his mother and sentenced in December 2009 to up to three years in prison.

Meryl Gordon, a colleague of mine, covered the drama for Vanity Fair; she is the author of an Astor biography.

Wrote The New York Times:

That evil pours forth in “Mrs. Astor Regrets,” Meryl Gordon’s painstakingly detailed narrative of the events leading to the indictment of Anthony Marshall. Gordon seems to have left no diary unread, no servant unsolicited, no socialite unturned. Her stamina is remarkable. Within the first few pages, she quotes Nancy Reagan, Barbara Walters, both Nancy and Henry Kissinger, Louis Auchincloss, Philippe de Montebello, Vartan Gregorian and Annette de la Renta. If the tabloids are your morning cup of tea, this is your book. Gordon takes us into a world of refined sensibilities: “We had a rule that on walks you could not talk about any subject, only people,” Henry Kissinger says, describing the fun of Christmas holidays at the de la Rentas’ luxurious home in the Dominican Republic. “You could not say a good word about anybody. Brooke lived up to it.”

Astor’s country estate, a 10-bedroom stone mansion built in 1927, remains on the market, priced at $10.5 million, but not an easy property to show in a down market as all her belongings have been removed for sale at auction.

The 64-acre property is considered one of the best parcels left in Westchester county, 25 miles north of Manhattan. It is not, by far, the most expensive on our local market these days — with competing properties priced at $$20,000,000 or more.

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