I’ve told you secrets of the ultra wealthy in Southampton in a previous post. I had many experiences with what we now all call The One Percent.
Well, when I was around twelve years old and my mother was newly single, many of her prominent NYC friends made it their mission to set her up on dates with well-heeled bachelors. One of her Jewish friends set her up with a wealthy fella and my mother had one nice evening meal with him. He invited both of us to his home one weekend, which seemed like a polite thing to do when your new date has a young child. Meet the kid, be a human, etc.
My memories of this day are perhaps a bit exaggerated, but I’m going to pull up photos to explain what happened next. I did not take photos that day, but I think this is pretty close to reality.
Firstly, he had a weekend home on the beach on Long Island. The front hall was a modern glass entry that housed a smaller version of a Bavarian castle, sort of like this one:
He explained that he had literally paid to have a Bavarian castle transported stone-by-stone and rebuilt as part of his modern home on the beach. So the exterior surrounding the castle was more like this.
He was a big fan of German culture. We’re now in a room that looks old as heck, but then there’s a glass wall that looks out to the beach.
Museum meets modern living.
Married to this:
This dude was super house proud. He gave us a grand tour and all the while commenting on my blonde hair. It was noticeable comments, even though I was accustomed to being fussed over for my extreme cuteness, this was noticeably odd. We were soon surprised to learn his preteen son was hanging out in the kitchen with a friend that day. We saw them during the tour but they barely spoke to us. The dude again made a fuss about his son’s blonde friend, and although I don’t recall him making a specific derogatory remark against his own son, it was clear to me that his darker hue was not favorable. I wonder if he felt sorry for my mother that she wasn’t blonder herself.
I guess he was trying to be nice to me, and knowing that girls love animals, he was very excited to show me his game room. At this point I fortunately suspected we were not going in there to play checkers, but the sheer scope of the room blew me away. These photos will give you a sense of what I witnessed, although they look small compared to my memory. And I think I did mention that day that certain of his kills were of an endangered species, although I’m not sure if that was strictly true back in the ’80s. I think he was upset that I was upset, but I’m not sure. I just know that I can recall the feeling of revulsion I experienced that day quite keenly.
My mother whispered something to me about how having money can’t buy good taste but we continued to smile and nod like the polite ladies we were always taught to be. We had lunch in the enormous dining room next to the enormous fireplace. This was not particularly unusual for either of us. We’ve grown up with actual castles and this guy’s new money crassness was annoying to my mother. You can import a castle but it’s rude to tell guests how much it cost you.
Alone in the car later my mother marveled that a Jewish friend should have set her up on a date with a Nazi. That was the day I learned that bad people don’t know that they’re bad.
It’s 2017 now and the USA just elected a certain someone to be their president. I can’t imagine why this particular day from my childhood sprang to mind. Can you?