Chapter Nine - 1974-1975
Manhattan, Providenciales, Coconut Grove, and Manhattan
(Equivalent to 82 pages in a hardcopy book)
Steve Ross, Johnny Galliher, Steve Kaufmann, Mario Buatta, Billy Baldwin,
Arnold Scaasi, Parker Ladd, Valerian Rybar, François Daigre, Stella Reichmann,
Millicent Rogers, Peter Salm,
Al Pacino, Candice Bergen, Tony Hail,
Kenneth J. Lane, Jacques Sarli, François Catroux,
Edward Zajac, Richard Callahan, Billy Gaylord, Anthony Redmile, Andre Dubreuil,
Chris and Helen Carter, Doc Whithey, Ford R. Carter, Nat and Sara Bell,
P. T. Smith, Tad and Pauline Baran, Bengt Soderqvist,
Fritz Luddington, Kip DuPont, Teddy Roosevelt, Jr,
Charlie Keough, Marti Stevens, Tony Clark, Tony Cloughley, Alessandro Albrizzi,
Finbar Dempsey, Dick Stanson, Keith Haag,
Anne Hoffman, Bobby Short, Bill Blass,
Jackson Kelly, Jackie Rogers, Coco Chanel, Paul and Mollie Wilmot,
Woody Kelly, Roberta Flack, Ambassador Young,
Fred Hernon, Allen Cantor, Greg Seeley, Alfie, Ed Coughlin, Pierre Suter,
Sam Welker, Roy Kirkdorffer, Norman Rolnick, David Lund, Jim Pollak,
Howard Hook, Dody, Wim & Dade,
Jean Pierre Marc, Charles Coburn, Curtis and Puddin Dewitz, and
Ron Ferri & Jean Pierre.
Moments from Chapter Nine
Millicent Rodger’s Town House!
Kenneth J. Lane: “It’s a Jewel!”
“I’ve found another island!”
We have a Rock Band!
Driving across America with “Auntie Mame!”
Roberta Flack plays Softly.
“I love you.”
Chris gets mugged!
Providential Providenciales – NOT!
Cruiser Corps in Coconut Grove
From the end of Chapter Eight...
Being in Manhattan reminded me why the San Franciscans have an inferiority complex about New Yorkers. The silly “San Francisco Cruise Ship” I had been on since January of ’73 was certainly beginning to cloy. It was time for me to get my life back on track… time for a new chapter.
January 1, 1974
I’m staying in my long-time favorite - the Algonquin.
Wikipedia - The Algonquin Hotel is an historic, landmark hotel located at 59 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Perhaps its best-known tradition is hosting literary and theatrical notables, most prominently the members of the Algonquin Round Table - a group of journalists, authors, publicists, and actors who gathered daily for years to exchange bon mots over lunch in the main dining room. Some of the core members of the "Vicious Circle" included Franklin P. Adams, Robert Benchley, Heywood Broun, Marc Connelly, Jane Grant, Ruth Hale, George S. Kaufman, Harpo Marx, Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross, Robert E. Sherwood, and Alexander Woollcott (who used to visit my family at our Camp WaAwA in the Adirondacks – he made cartoons in our guest book).
The Oak Room at the Algonquin was long one of New York City's premier cabaret nightclubs. With its oak panels and other decor recalling an earlier time, the heyday of cabaret, The Oak Room was small, intimate, and expensive (at least $100 per person, more if one had dinner). Another tradition is that of keeping a cat that has the run of the hotel.
My buddy, Steve Ross, used to be a regular at The Oak Room.
The room is now gone - part of the Blue Bar and the Breakfast Room. As I often say, never go back to anywhere you love; just love the memory.
After years in the Army, flea-bag hotels in Libya and Cairo, socially-cramped excursions in Malta and Belfast, exasperating excursions in London, and pointless posturing in San Francisco, Manhattan is irresistible!
People stride with purpose, drive with determination, share emotion, and use the right fork! Above all, they have brains, bullshit, imagination, and organization! I am at home.
This first week in town, I went shopping at Barney’s with Johnny Galliher, lunched with Horst, dined with Steve Kaufmann - a humorous, gin-playing-and-drinking queen-about-town, whose decorations include a Rouault, and judges his well-being by how full his fridge is. Steve’s money comes from the foremost department store in Pittsburgh that was owned in the early 20th century by his father, Edgar J. Kaufmann, patron of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Fallingwater.’ (After its completion, Time magazine cited the house as Wright's "most beautiful job." It is listed among the Smithsonian's List of 28 places "to visit before you die.")
I went to the theatre with Mario Buatta - a very funny, charming, and bright pal. At this time, Mario was the darling of the interior design world. Not quite in the Billy Baldwin league, but a real “comer.”
Wikipedia - Mario Buatta is an American interior decorator. Born on Staten Island, New York in 1935, he attended Cooper Union and Parson School of Design. He has designed interiors for clients Mariah Carey, Henry Ford II, Malcolm Forbes, Barbara Walters, Nelson Doubleday, Mr. and Mrs. S.I. Newhouse, Charlotte Ford, and Billy Joel. He oversaw the interior of the Blair House, Washington DC. and is known as the "Prince of Chintz" based partially on his use of lush floral prints.
At a party that week in his apartment on Central Park South, Arnold Scaasi caught me in his left arm, a Tiffany bowl of cocaine in the other, and headed for the lift. I didn’t want to know what was on his mind, and broke up the tango in a hurry.
Scaasi (Issacs spelled backward) is a grand couturier to New York’s richest and chicest ladies, and has a Picasso that is larger than his enormous, picture window that looks north over the Park.
First Lady, Barbara Bush.
He also has a very charming long-term boyfriend, Parker Ladd.
Wikipedia - Arnold Isaacs, known as Arnold Scaasi, was a Canadian fashion designer who has created gowns for First Ladies Mamie Eisenhower, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush, in addition to such notable personalities as Joan Crawford, Ivana Trump, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, Lauren Bacall, Diahann Carroll, Elizabeth Taylor, Catherine Deneuve, Brooke Astor, Arlene Francis, and Mary Tyler Moore.
I also lunched with Valerian Rybar at his Sutton Place apartment. I met Valerian and his (S&M and business) partner, Francois Daigre, through John Galliher in Europe. Valerian is an evil-looking man with an almost green complexion, but a brilliant mind and a bizarre sense of humor.
One of the design elements in Sutton Place is stainless steel. There are also many strange, almost off-putting, leather sculptures of gagged, men’s heads. In his bathroom is a stainless steel “massage table” with leather straps that can be hooked into the floor. The table also raises and falls by hydraulics… you figure it out!
New York Magazine
Then: Sutton Place
In 1972, the interior designer Valerian Rybar was the mastermind behind the world’s most glamorous homes. His Sutton Place apartment was no exception.
By Jeff McKay Published Jun 11, 2013
Valerian Rybar was considered the “world’s most expensive decorator” in 1972. His clients were the ritziest in town: Samuel and Mitzi Newhouse, Guy and Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, Elizabeth Arden, the Plaza Athénée Hotel. And while Rybar doled out some serious fabulousness to his clients, he most certainly didn’t skimp when it came to his own Sutton Place home. His luxurious six-room lair was done up in just three colors—coral, brown, and silver—proving that Rybar had a way of making even the simplest palettes thrilling. The living-room walls were lined with coral velvet; the dining room was plastered with 400 brown books—all fake, but bound, with titles relating to various chapters of his life (one of them, called “International Boredom,” was alleged to allude to Rybar’s seven-year marriage to Irish brewing heiress Aileen Guinness). The “books” ran floor-to-ceiling in the dining room and gallery.
His preference for silver was perhaps the most compelling. He used stainless steel on the fireplace, coffee tables, sinks, closets, cabinets, bathtub, walls, and even the floor. Rybar had it etched to look, “as precious as a Fabergé box.” (Rybar lived here with his partner, Jean-Francois Daigre, until his death in 1990 at age 71.)
New York, New York! Yes, I am at home; now I need one. “Johnny, get me a realtor.”
Stella Reichmann arrives and takes me to 9 East 68th Street, just off Central Park on the Upper East Side – such a chic location!
Now this is a house!
It had been Millicent Rogers’ home, and after her death in 1953, the home of her son, Peter Salm.
Tony Hail would have said, “Ain’t no pile of shit.”
Glass-backed, wrought-iron doors led to a small marble-floored lobby.
Mahogany doors stood left and right. Up a couple of steps, a lift was on the left.
We went up to the third floor – apartment 3a.
Turning right, we entered through 12-foot high, mahogany, double doors into a foyer; beyond was the drawing room that spanned the entire building; three, tall windows opened to the street; two more flanked a fireplace on the right end wall.
You had to have a good imagination!
Opposite, some 35 feet away, built-in bookcases covered the wall. It was a spectacular space - better than Grosvenor Square or Montague Place.
Stella shows me the rest. I hardly noticed the two bedrooms, two baths, and kitchen.
I notice a door from the left side of the living room going back into a nondescript room. The door was deliberately concealed – no handle, no moldings, hidden hinges. I also notice that the window hardware on the left street window is Louis XVI while the hardware on the two other windows is Louis XV… the left third of the living room must have been a separate dining room, and the concealed door must have been to the kitchen.
Stella says that I could move the kitchen from where it is, across the hall to where it had probably been originally. So I could make the kitchen into a guest room; the bath was already ensuite.
Stella was explaining that she cooks fish in her dishwasher… , I said, I’ll take it at $900 a month – they were asking $1000.
She made an exception and gave me a key, and left to go to her office at Walter Oertle Associates; I went to see John.
“Come with me, I’ve found something special.”
As we pulled up, John said, “Oh, I’ve been here a lot. Peter Salm lives here on the piano nobile. It was his mother’s house – Millicent Rogers. It’s one of the great houses on the Upper East Side.”
[The piano nobile is the floor above the ground floor (the first floor in Europe, the second floor in America) and is the grandest floor of a fine house, with the highest ceilings, etc.]
“Who’s Millicent Rogers?” I asked.
He explained but Wikipedia does it better:
Wikipedia - Millicent Rogers (1902-1953): Mary Millicent Abigail Rogers, better known as Millicent Rogers, was a socialite, fashion icon, and art collector. She was the granddaughter of Standard Oil tycoon Henry Huttleston Rogers, and an heiress to his wealth. Rogers is notable for having been an early supporter and enthusiast of Southwestern-style art and jewelry, and is often credited for its reaching a national and international audience. Later in life, she became an activist, and was among the first celebrities to champion the cause of Native American civil rights. She is still credited today as an influence on major fashion designers.
I showed him the flat and explained how I was going to move the kitchen.
“You’re right about the dining room, and I’ll bet there’s a fireplace behind that bookcase. You know, this room is very much like Jacques Sarli’s in his apartment on Avenue Gabriel in Paris. He spent a million dollars with François Catroux who covered the walls with Travertine marble!
"Yes, this can be great!" he purred.
The next day, January 6, I invited my pal, Kenny Lane, to lunch on Madison Avenue so I could show him the apartment.
Kenny was a star. He had pulled himself up by his bootstraps from a Detroit, athletic-shoe designer to one of the most influential designers and socialites in the world. I met Kenny at one of John Galliher’s regular dinners, and we became really good buddies.
Kenny walked into the room and said, “Yes, if you want to make it in New York, you can do it all here.”
He should know…
Wikipedia - Kenneth J. Lane - Born in Detroit, Michigan on 22 April 1932, Lane is an alumnus of the University of Michigan and the Rhode Island School of Design.
Lane was a member of the New York art staff on Vogue, before going on to design footwear for Delman Shoes between 1956–58 and for the New York branch of Christian Dior from 1958 to 1963.
Lane was one of the subjects of Andy Warhol's Screen Tests (where, in a film taken in 1966, he represented "high fashion"). Through Warhol he met Nicola Weymouth, an English socialite who became his wife in 1974. They divorced in 1977.
Lane started designing jewelry and launched his business in 1963 whilst producing bejeweled footwear for Dior and Arnold Scaasi. He first came to public attention after Jo Hughes, a fashion industry insider, showed some of his designs to Wallis, the Duchess of Windsor, who bought several pieces and recommended him to her friends.
His talent at copying high end jewelry from a quick glimpse proved popular, his clients proudly wearing the faux pieces. Jacqueline Kennedy was among those who commissioned fake jewels from Lane in order to enable her to wear them more freely while keeping the valuable originals in a safe.
As a person, Lane was not simply a good-looking, young, jewelry designer, but with his elegance and wit, he was "the perfect extra man" for parties.
In addition to his American establishment, Lane had boutiques in London and Paris.
He has created designs for Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Vreeland, and Audrey Hepburn, among many other high-profile clients.
More recently in 2011, Britney Spears and Nicole Richie have been seen wearing Lane jewelry. The Duchess of Windsor was rumoured to have been buried wearing one of his belts. Barbara Bush wore one of his three-strand faux pearl necklaces to her husband's inaugural ball.
Lane also established a presence as a vendor of jewelry on the cable television home-shopping network QVC. His twice-a-month, four-hour appearances in 1997 took in $1.5 million each.
As Tony would say, “Ain’t no pile of shit.”
That evening, I had dinner with Edward Zajac and his partner, Richard Callahan.
As you know, my life has always been full of ‘designing men’ of great taste and talent – Tony Hail, Billy Baldwin, Mario Buatta, Arnold Scassi, Billy Gaylord, Anthony Redmile, Andre Dubreuil, Valerian Rybar, and especially John Galliher.
I, too, am wont to move furniture around in the hotel rooms I stay in, and repaint houses until I get them just so.
The team of Zajac & Callahan was my latest find.
The Peak of Chic: “Zajac and Callahan, as the design duo was better known, became design-world darlings in the late 1960s, when their work appeared almost constantly on the covers of American shelter magazines.
What made their work so popular at that time was the designers' enthusiasm for zesty color and bold patterns. In fact, it was not uncommon to see five or six different patterns used within one Zajac and Callahan-decorated room. But rather than mixing color and pattern in random fashion, Zajac and Callahan concocted their pattern-laden decor with planning and forethought, something which resulted in rooms that were cohesive in spite of their variety and robustness.”
Edward was the more garrulous of the pair. We spent a lot of time together critiquing almost everything and became close buddies. I told him I wanted to move to Manhattan and had made an offer on 9 East 68th Street.
“Oh, I’ve been there a lot. Peter Salm lives there. What a magnificent house! And the tree-lined street is so pretty.”
“If my offer is accepted, would you like to help me do it up?” He didn’t have to answer.
Two days later, January 8, Stella called, my bid had been accepted! We met at the house, I signed the lease, paid the deposit and rent, met Stuart, the ‘super’ (resident caretaker and general factotum), and got the rest of the keys, and the gossip… did I know that Al Pacino lived on the fifth floor, and Candice Bergen on the top?
Stella left… “Don’t forget to try the dishwasher/fish poaching technique!”
I stood for a moment… there I was in a chic, 1600 sq. ft., 2 beds, 2 baths, apartment in a beautiful, prewar, limestone, landmark mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan between Fifth and Madison Avenues, on a tree-lined street just steps to Central Park, and it was mine. Natch, I winked.
I turned to Stuart. “We’ll get started tomorrow. Do you have a big claw hammer and a crowbar?”
I met Johnny G at Bloomingdale’s. I bought some linens and rented a bed for delivery on the 12th. I was still at the Algonquin.
Early morning, January 9, Stuart came up with the tools. I handed him my suit jacket, and he watched as I attacked the bookcased wall. The shelves and backing fell away from the wall onto the floor in one piece. I aimed the hammer at the center of the wall, a couple of feet above the floor, and the concrete blocks crumbled into the hidden fireplace!
Now I had a 35-foot drawing room with twin fireplaces! THAT was a room!
Stuart and I huddled in his office. I laid out my plans for moving the kitchen, and called Con Edison and the phone company. Stuart called a plumber, an electrician, and a carpenter; they would come tomorrow to have a look.
The next two weeks went by in a blur.
o Jan 10 - Tomorrow came; the trucks arrived.
o The power was now in my name and
o “Ma Bell” installed four phones.
o I call:
o Mom; gave her the news and the phone number. She wasn’t surprised.
o Mrs. Sibley and told her I would not be able to renew my lease which was up in a couple of weeks.
o Zajac – let’s dine. You pick the place. We went to Pearl’s. In the taxi, Edward said you’ll like Pearl’s, it’s Chinese. I usually don’t like the bright lights and kitsch of Chinese restaurants, but, this was his dinner. Turned out Pearl’s is an oasis of calm – gray-flannel walls, soft table-lights, and the best lemon-chicken in the world. Take your friends who hate Chinese kitsch – they’ll love it!
o Jan 12 - Bed is delivered.
o I check out of the Algonquin and
o move into 9E68th.
o Jan 14 - George Martin, the plumber, starts.
o Jan 15 – The hall floor is up. There is eight feet of dead space between my floor and the ceiling of the piano nobile below, amazing!
o Jan 16 – Floor is back down.
o Kitchen counters and cupboards installed.
o Drinks w/Zajac, dinner at JG’s
o Jan 17 – Kitchen finished! o Jan 18 – JG lunch to celebrate phase one completion.
The rush is over and I relax in my new surroundings until…
The phone rings; it’s my brother, Chris. He shouts,
“I’ve found another island, this time you must come!
“The island of Providenciales (Provo) is part of the Turks and Caicos Islands, an independent Crown colony in the Caribbean. The island has an area of 38 sq. mi. Inexpensive land is available at a dollar down, a dollar a month! There are no taxes, few laws, and the U.S. Dollar is the official currency.
“There are only a few roads, fewer vehicles, some telephones, and an electric generating plant. There are some very nice Scandinavians and a few American’s who have built rustic homes there.
“The developer, Provident, Ltd., has shuttle flights from Florida for its real estate buying program two times a week in a DC-3. The only hotel is the Third Turtle Inn built in 1967. “Doc” Whithey, from Michigan, lives on his motor yacht that’s moored at the Inn.
“The western half is mostly barren wilderness, home to the island's best natural attraction, Chalk Sound, a 3-mile-long bay.
“The water is turquoise and studded with countless mushroom-like tiny islets, and there are saline lakes that attract breeding and migrant waterfowl.
“The greatest asset is the world class diving: miles and miles of coral reefs are close to shore, and the island is close to a migration route for humpback whales.
“I think we should sell HIWE and buy a few lots and build, say, six condominiums. I know I could sell them to friends here in Marco and Naples.
“I think the potential is enormous. I want to know what you think. Please come to Marco and we’ll go down from here.”
... long pause...
Wow; my world is spinning again!
I say, “OK. I’ll see you in a week.”
Chris is a stockbroker in Naples, but lives on Marco Island, a half-hour’s drive away - for the better schools.
As you know, Mother has had a third-floor, walk-up condo at the Ambassador Club in Naples since 1968.
Chris at the Ambassador Club
On January 24th, I fly to Naples, stay with Mom, and drive to Chris’s place the next day.
We pour over maps and magazines…
Ford R. Carter (no relation) is head of sales for Provident Ltd., the promoters of land sales on Provo. He operates out of an office in Delray Beach, Florida and produces a seasonal newsletter on the people and places of Provo…
Finally, over dinner, Chris explains that Nat Bell, a client of his in Naples, who had been the manager of The Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City, the manager of the Cove Inn in Naples, and the manager of The Beach Club of Naples, would be very interested in working with us on Provo. He thinks a modern marina in the Turks and Caicos would be a terrific idea.
On his last visit, Chris had met P.T. Smith who lives on the island with his wife, Nancy, and their children. He used to work for Deltona Corporation – Florida’s largest builders- and would also like to get involved with whatever project we decide to develop.
The next day, January 26, Chris and I drive to Miami, climb aboard the old DC3, and I take the co-pilot’s seat to take photos…
We approach Provo from the north; it is all scrub – no trees, and a few tracks scraped out of the limestone. In front of us is a large pond with boats moored. Ford Carter, leaning over the pilot and me, shouts out, “That’s the Third Turtle Inn, at Turtle Cove.”
We descend and buzz the Inn…
“What’s that concrete slope on the left?” I ask.
“It’s a catchment basic to catch rain water.”
“And that large motor boat on the right?”
That’s “Doc” Whithey’s. He’s an executive-type and is involved in most of what’s happening here.”
We circle a couple of times; the water really is beautiful, but, boy, the place sure is primitive!
We bump and rumble to a stop in front of a tin-roofed shack; a man standing next to a rusting Jeep is waving his straw hat. Chris waves back, and takes me to meet P. T. Smith.
I throw my Vuitton duffle into the back, and we clamber in… already covered in white, limestone dust. We lurch along the barren track; I was wrong about there being no trees - the tops of tall palms stick out of natural, limestone wells – I guess the onshore wind keeps them from rooting on the “top soil.”
Suddenly, after a rise, the road dips; in front of us is the Third Turtle Inn, Turtle Cove, and the ocean beyond. Stone walls edge the steep slope and bright-pink Bougainvillea cheer the scene.
The Inn’s buildings are rough board-and-batten, with shingled, hip roofs.
“Doc” waves, strides over, nearly shakes my hand off, and says, “We’re dowsing for fresh water; we need another well. Want to try?”
He hands me two, L-shaped rods. I hold them horizontally by the short “L’s” and let the rods swing... they separate and hit me on each shoulder. Nonplussed, I say, “Well, I’m 95% water aren’t I?”
I gave the “dowsers” back and we checked into the Inn.
After a lunch of conch chowder, we piled back in the Jeep and P.T. took us on a tour. Chris explained that he was interested in the southern part of the island. There was a long beach…
and an interesting shallow, inland lake that P.T. thought could be dredged to create a sheltered, inland marina. Hmm, that rings a bell… Nat Bell’s.
It reminded me of the day I found Yomitan airstrip in Okinawa; I didn’t see an airstrip, I saw a grand prix. Now, in my mind, I was looking at a beach full of couples splashing, a string of low-rise, low-key hotel rooms on the crest of the hill, and a Tiki serving Mai Tai’s. Over my shoulder, I saw a turquoise canal accessing a full-service, protected, inland marina with shining yachts and pretty shops. On the hill overlooking the marina was a Caribbean restaurant and a few more low-key, rustic rooms… yes!
Chris found this island, and we were going to found a miraculous resort - I name it Discovery Bay!
The dining room has five tables of eight places, and is almost full. Doc motions us over and introduces us to Tad and Pauline, and Bengt. We learn that Doc is the President and a director of the power generation company that had just been established. Tad is a partner in a Bermuda-based architectural firm that specializes in development projects in the Caribbean, and his wife, Pauline, is a legal secretary. Bengt Soderqvist is the president of the Provo-based survey company responsible for all the platting and surveying on the island. We all got along like a house on fire.
In between courses, Doc takes us over to another table where Ford Carter introduces us to a tall, bearded man, a young guy about my age, and one Chris’s age (ten years older than I)… and that’s how we met Frederick (Fritz) Luddington the founder of Provident Ltd. and the Third Turtle Inn, Richard C. (Kip) duPont, Jr., and Teddy Roosevelt, IV. (Yes, that duPont family and that Roosevelt family.) It was Kippy’s Lear jet we had seen at the ‘airport.’ I was stunned to think that he’d fly onto an unpaved runway, but, having had a say in its construction, he knew the strip better than anyone.
Fritz says, “We’ve been looking forward to meeting you.” He stands up, tings his wine glass for silence, and the room hushed.
“Welcome to Providenciales. You honor us with your presence, so we honor you with the Coat of Arms. Display it proudly and stay a long time.” He hands Chris a scroll…
Lots of applause and laughter.
Amazing, it was like screenplay evolving - everyone here evidenced intelligence and integrity. Each was not only dedicated to sensitive development, but was already involved in an exciting project; and all were eager for fellow adventurers to join them.
Chris and I couldn’t have found a better environment for fun and future - all I had to do was refine the Balls, Bullshit, Imagination, and Organization of Chris’s sketchy idea and my new vision.
Our first day closed with many “Greenies” – Heineken beers; turns out Provo consumes more Heineken per capita than anywhere else on earth! Good night!
We spent the next two days with Fritz, Ford Carter, and Bengt.
Fritz thought our ideas were sound; ambitious but sound.
Bengt’s team did some surveying, and we platted out what we would need. Our platting was transposed to a giant map Ford carried around, and we listed what Provident lots were involved.
When we were done, the site, outlined in red, below, was considerable.
Chris is a bit shell-shocked as to the extent of my plans but is caught up in the excitement and soon is as enthusiastic as I. Ford says he will hold the lots until we meet on the mainland, and we set a date for February 1 in Marco.
Leaving P.T, behind, Chris and I leave for Miami and Marco on the 29th.
On the first of February, Fritz and Ford come to Marco, we sign for the lots we want and make the first month’s payment.
I stay in Marco to work on details. I envision a sales program being offered abroad that could finance the entire project.
Chris calls Nat Bell who agrees to be the general manager of the resort. P.T. says he will form a construction company to build it.
If Mother puts up the necessary seed money, I agree to
1. Be President and CEO
2. Move to Provo to oversee the start of the project, and
3. Organize the marketing of a sales program of the individual hotel rooms and/or shares in the rental pool income, that would be offered abroad.
[Am I nuts? I had just moved to Nirvana in Manhattan and now I was going to rough it on a primitive island somewhere in the Caribbean!]
In between brainstorming, I help Chris and his wife, Helen, clean out the “Green Flash” that mother had given them after Dad’s death. Helen, is a very bright gal and has a firm political bent. Not surprising - she had once been a buyer for Bergdorf’s in Manhattan, and her father had been the mayor of Hackensack, New Jersey. We hardly knew each other but we were getting along well.
I call Charlie Keough in Saranac Lake and tell him I want to pick up Stinger; could he please arrange for a trailer.
On the 4th, I fly to New York and have dinner with Johnnie G and his Hollywood buddy, Marti Stevens.
Marti Stevens is a singer and actress. She has appeared in television shows such as It Takes a Thief, The Love Boat and Stagecoach West. She appeared in an Australian production of the play Forty Carats and in High Spirits, the musical version of Blithe Spirit, in London's West End in 1964. She also had a starring role in the 1962 film, All Night Long.
She is the daughter of American film studio executive, Nicholas Schenck.
She was also a close friend of actress Marlene Dietrich.
In 1963 she had a surprise visit from a queen. Queen Frederika and Princess Irene of Greece was being chased down the road by protestors and were ringing door bells looking for refuge. Marti Stevens heard the bell ring and came to the door dressed in a bath towel. She let them in and gave them both a scotch.
On the 5th, I fly to Rutland. It’s 2 degrees below zero! I taxi to HIWE, get the Jeep started and dine with Tony Clark at Blueberry Hill. The next morning, I drive to Saranac. Charlie has Stinger on a trailer; I hook it to the Jeep and am on my way by 11:30AM. I take the Northway to Albany, I can hardly see for the snow and sleet. Worse, because of the fuel crisis, there is a ban against selling more than $1 of gas to vehicles pulling boats or recreational trailers! I have to keep getting off and looking for local gas stations. I finally call it at night at the Mt. Holly, New Jersey, Holiday Inn at 10:30PM.
The next day, I was on my way at 8:45, and quit at the Howard Johnson at Lumberton, North Carolina at 10:30PM. Almost the same thing the next day – off at 8:35AM; stopped after 599 miles – in a Jeep! – at the Howard Johnson at Melbourne, Florida, about half way down the state.
On the 9th, I pull into Port Laudania at Ft. Lauderdale and leave the boat on its trailer.
The next couple of days I spend with friends in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/Palm Beach area. On the 12th, I take the Jeep back to Ft. Lauderdale to load onto the ship with the boat, and have dinner with Steve Kaufmann, who now has an apartment in Palm Beach. Also there are Tony Cloughley, an architect friend from London, and his boyfriend, Alessandro Albrizzi, who is a chic designer from Venice who lives next door to Tony on Chester Row, across from Johnnie’s in London.
On the 13th, Chris arrives in Provo to meet me, and I fly in on the 14th to take up residency at the Third Turtle Inn! (Forty-three years ago as I write this!)
On the 19th, I shuttle to Grand Turk to meet with Finbar Dempsey, our Turks and Caicos lawyer. Finbar came out from London several years ago and was given the task of writing the laws. Fun job; nice guy. I appraise him of all we are doing and planning. He will write up the Memorandum of Association and the Articles of Association for Discovery Bay Marina Limited and Discovery Bay Development Corporation Limited and get them to Pauline Baran for our meeting planned for February 22. I return to Provo.
I spend the day scuba diving with John Bach off Blue Hills…
and have dinner with the Barans.
The 21st is a red letter day – the first commercial flight arrives from Miami – Mackey Airlines in a Beech 99!
Wikipedia - Mackey Airlines, Inc., also known later as Mackey International Airlines, was a United States airline which primarily served Florida and The Bahamas. Mackey Airlines was founded by former stunt pilot and United States Air Force Colonel Joseph C. Mackey on September 30, 1946. Flights flew primarily out of its Fort Lauderdale base and from West Palm Beach and Miami. Mackey served the Bahamas as well as Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.
Chris arrives on the 22nd; we have a Board Meeting and sign the documents Finbar prepared; Coopers & Lybrand, Grand Turk, are appointed Auditors.
February 25th is an even redder day – we broke ground in the marina! Champagne all around! It was a great excuse for a party and the Third Turtle Inn rocked!
The next day, the boat from Ft. Lauderdale arrived, I hooked up the trailer to the Jeep and “moored” Stinger on the shore within sight of Doc’s yacht. Chris returns to Florida.
On Friday, the first of March, Chris and Helen arrive with Chris’s friend, Dick Stanson. Dick is an old friend of Chris who lives in Akron, Ohio, and is a potential investor. Helen takes one look at the marina site and says, “You can’t have hotel rooms overlooking a working marina!” (I paid no attention.)
On Monday, Joe, a local native selected by P.T., and I start on the Tiki – we call it Le Pavillon en Plage. Joe gets a dollar an hour.
Well, “started” is moot – Joe has never seen a normal, cross-cut saw, and doesn’t realize that the teeth have to be facing the wood. He is sawing it back and forth upside down!
After showing him the trick, I learn about Palmetto from Joe. There are several varieties but only one is suitable for roofing. There is this kind…
Then there is this kind…
The island is covered with the stuff!
Joe shows me how to tear a leaf between my hands to see the fibers - they have to be parallel to each other. He goes back to sawing, I carry on, machete in hand, collecting Palmetto.
Le Pavillon is taking shape…
The rocks in the foreground can be played!
They have ceramified and when hit with a hammer, produce a clear musical tone. We have a Rock Band!
Le Pavillon was finished on the 13th, Chris returned on the 14th, and on Friday, everyone on the island is invited to a Sunset Drinks Party at Le Pavillon en Plage to celebrate.
After three days of intense planning sessions, Chris returns to Florida on the 17th and three days later, P.T. and I complete the Detailed Infrastructure Plans. We have decided that we will use Lindal knocked-down, cedar, pre-packaged homes for the first buildings to go up at the marina. One will serve as the main construction company office, two others for temporary visitor accommodations. They will be converted to the Marina Office and retail shop as others come ashore and are assembled.
From the Lindal catalog…
On March 21, I fly to Florida, have meetings with Chris, Fritz and Ford Carter at their offices in Delray, and with P.T., Nat Bell, and Edward Zajac on Marco.
Edward has devised our logo from a sailor’s knot – the Turks Head Knot; very clever!
Edward Zajac and Edward Carter
On the 25th, I go to Akron to meet and stay with Dick Stanson. Chris wants me to bring him up to speed on the project. Dick recommends we contract Keith Haag Associates of Cuyahoga Fall, Ohio to develop our building and erection system. Keith was an inventor of the manufactured housing concept and has been involved in many relevant projects such as the Sheridan Hotel in Key Biscayne, Florida, and the Ft. Myers Beach Hotel, in Ft. Myers, Florida.
On the 27th, I fly to NYC. Mito has returned to New York after his time at the Vidal Sassoon school, and is staying with a friend; he joins me at the apartment.
Edward Zajac has covered the living room of 9 East 68th Street with a thick wall-covering from B.F. Goodrich that looks just like Travertine marble, cracks and all – eat your heart out Jacques Sarli, and has filled the room with huge plants; it looks wonderful!
The next day, I have lunch with Mito, tea with Johnnie G, and dinner with Edward Zajac. On the 30th, lunch with Anne (Mrs. Dustin) Hoffman, and dinner with Bobby Short.
Bobby Short was “invented” by John Galliher who had heard him singing in a teeny, back-street, Paris club. Johnny said, “Get a piano and come to my flat tomorrow at 7:00. It will make you famous.”
It did – John’s society friends made Bobby a household name, and he’s become a buddy of mine.
Wikipedia - Bobby Short. Robert Waltrip "Bobby" Short was an American cabaret singer and pianist, best known for his interpretations of songs by popular composers of the first half of the 20th century such as Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Richard A. Whiting, Vernon Duke, Noël Coward and George and Ira Gershwin.
Short began his musical career in clubs in the 1940s. In 1968 he was offered a two-week stint at the Café Carlyle in New York City, to fill in for George Feyer. Short (accompanied by Beverly Peer on bass and Dick Sheridan on drums) became an institution at the Carlyle and remained there as a featured performer for over 35 years.
In 2000, the Library of Congress designated Short a Living Legend, a recognition established as part of its bicentennial celebration.
In 2004, Short announced plans to end his regular appearances at the Café Carlyle by the end of the year. He continued to tour and travel until the end of his life.
On March 21, 2005, Short died of leukemia at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
On April 1, I have dinner with Bill Blass, and on the 3rd, Edward Zajac and I fly to Akron. Zajac and I go over all our ideas with Keith and his top team for the, now, 285-room resort and officially retain Haag Associates.
Time for a breather. The next day, Edward flies to NYC, I fly to San Francisco, pick up the custom-stretched limo, I’ve named “Auntie Mame.” (And note the license plate)…
and have dinner with Tony Hail at one of our favorite restaurants, Fleur de Lys.
I leave the VW convertible with a friend of Mito’s who says he will pay for it monthly. (“We never got a cent, Bless his soul,” says Mito.) The same friend has found a cute kid to drive Auntie Mame and me to New York. He was cute – tall, blond, all-American.
I tell him, “I’m planning to leave in less than a week, on Wednesday, the 10th. Let’s try to get off by 6 AM.”
The next day, I call Jackson Kelly and we meet for dinner at Trader Vic’s. We met Jackson in Chapter Eight. To remind you, he is around 60, has worked as head of European Sales for McDonald Douglas Aircraft, and prior to that was VP for Europe for Pan American World Airways for 26 years. On top of that, he built French Leave, a famous resort in Eleuthera in the Bahamas. I asked him to be Secretary and a Director of Discovery Bay Development Corporation, Ltd. Not only will his credentials look good in the prospectus, he is an experienced, hard-nosed executive that could help me a lot… even if he did live with a parrot! I don’t know how long he had had Alfie, but they were devoted friends. So, like him, like his bird.
As it turned out, Beefalo had been a dead end. Jackson agrees enthusiastically and we start to make plans for him to come to stay with me in Mother’s condo in Naples around mid-July.
Mrs. Sibley refused to return my security deposit, so to be sure she couldn’t benefit from all the improvements I had made to her apartment, I peel some of the living room, lead wallpaper off in strips, and dismantle the galvanized chimney cover.
I spend the odd moment packing up my things, arranging with a moving and storage company, and catching up with friends - had lunch with Val Arnold, drinks with Billy Gaylord and Bob Bell, and called Mito every day.
On the morning of the 9th, the moving company arrives and packs their van for the trip to 68th Street.
At 0600 on Wednesday, April 10, we roll out of the driveway and head east. I turn on the little TV - I knew we were in the boonies when the signal faded, and approaching civilization when it flicked back on. We arrived in Flagstaff, Arizona at 7:30, dined, and spent the night in a motel.
The windows of the car were reversed, see-through mirror. When we pulled in for gas, I’d play with the attendant by pretending to talk to the “Senator” in the rear. We made Oklahoma City that night, and Columbus, Ohio the next.
I lunch with Dick Stanton in Akron on Saturday, the 13th, and am in 9 East 68th Street that evening. Zajac and I have dinner and go dancing at Le Jardin, the gay club of choice those days.
The big news these days is that Mito is going to solve all his immigration worries by getting married!
He had moved back in with me and was now working for Jackie Rogers in her salon in Manhattan and, on weekends, staying in her house in Southampton and working in her shop there.
Jackie had been a super model in her day and claimed that when working for Coco Chanel, she had been her lover. Anything to make the world turn.
Departures - Jackie Rogers, Fashion Designer
How the designer stays in the game.
By the early seventies Rogers was back in New York and the owner of a barbershop-boutique on Madison Avenue called Jackie Rogers for Men (Peter O’Toole, Michael Douglas, and Woody Allen were all clients).
On the advice of Bill Blass she moved into womenswear.
One of the first women who discovered Rogers was Babe Paley. “She just came in one day and ordered three dresses. Then Jackie [Onassis] came in. She never knew what the hell she was wearing. She asked, ‘Can you make me clothes that are uniforms? That way I can put them on without thinking.’ ” Rogers tilts her head back and laughs. “Ari used to say, ‘What’s she doing with all that money? She’s always wearing those pants.’ I said, ‘She’s keepin’ it.’ ”
Speaking of lesbians, Mito has found one who, for a bit of money, will marry him. I had heard tales of immigration officers following applicants on the street, and doing snap inspections of the couple’s closets - I warn Mito of the risks. In typical Asian style, he grins, says all will be well, and on the 15th gets the marriage license.
We celebrate at dinner with Zajac and Callahan on the 16th, and lunch the next day with Valerian.
The 18th, the furniture van arrives – they have to rent a crane to get the milk-glass, dining room table into the flat! Bloomingdale’s picks up the folding bed, and Edward and I move the furniture around until everything fits. The place looks great.
In the spotlight - the Burmese Buddha!
There’s Sanka and Mito’s Bargello pillows.
Kenny Lane and I host the bachelor party that evening – he looked outrageous!
On Friday, the 19th, Kenny and me, and Mito make our way to City Hall. Waiting on the steps is a nice looking girl and… a lumberjack! No, it isn’t a lumberjack, it is her girlfriend! She’s wearing jean shorts and lumberjack boots – her hairy legs protruding.
In the court, the judge looks us over and says, “Young man, put out that cigarette.” He’s talking to the girlfriend!
In a moment, it’s over – Mito’s married!
The next week, the Ohio people and I meet in Provo for on-site meetings.
After that, I see friends in Palm Beach where I meet Paul Wilmot. Paul is an ultra-attractive guy, married to Mollie (Wikipedia - occupation: Heiress), in PR in Manhattan.
From Company’s website - With an office in New York City, Paul Wilmot Communications was established in 1997. Over the course of the last 15 years, the agency has produced a significant public relations track record drawing from the highest profile fashion houses and publications.
Mollie Wilmot (born Mollie Netcher (died September 17, 2002), Chicago, Illinois) was a philanthropist and socialite. Wilmot spent her formative years in Europe where she studied art and achieved fluency in French. She graduated from the rigorous Foxcroft School. Wilmot resided at an apartment at The Pierre in Manhattan, Palm Beach, FL and Saratoga Springs, NY, boasting to The Times Union in 1998 that she had been born at the Ritz Hotel in Paris "feet first, six weeks early and with all my eyelashes."
The beginning of May, I am in New York; P.T. meets with Keith in Ohio and returns to Provo to meet the Lindal homes that arrive on the 13th.
The whole group meets in New York at my apartment on the 20th, and again on June 6. During this time, P.T. has been dredging the marina with a drag-line, pulled by a crane we bought on the island. It is remarkable that, once cut, the sandstone, underwater walls don’t need reinforcing.
At the New York meeting, Edward Zajac goes over some details of Phase One:
Hogback Hotel and Marina - $65 a day Bed & Breakfast
• Manager: Nat Bell w/wife Sara
• Assistant Mgr.: Woody Kelly
o Bar, Rest, Kit, Recep & Office all in separate bldgs.. and as many 2-bedroomed houses as is practical
o Parking at top and pebbled paths to rooms.
o 1 Chambermaid per 6 rooms
o 3 waiters and bartender
o 1 Maintenance man
o 1 SCUBA instructor – Tim Warner
o Arriving guests go straight to rooms
o Manager takes tray with drinks and registration cards
o Cocktail gathering the evening of each arrival day
o 2 queen-size, canopied beds with rattan locker at foot of each
o 1 chest of drawers
o 1 table w/2 chairs, 1 other chair
o 3 wall-mounted lights, 1 standing lamp, and one plant
o Floors stenciled, walls dragged, curtains and blackout and fabric on beds all from Far Eastern Fabrics, all blue & white – all rooms different.
o All white towels w/hamper
o Kaftans, scales in bath, makeup lights
• Dining room details:
o Shelves around dining room with Blue & White displayed
o Walkways covered w/white canvas
o A private dining room
o Flowers and fruit on each table (and in each room)
o Embossed matches, cards and envelopes
o Blue & White ashtrays
o Over-proof china
o A signature Breakfast drink consisting of:
o Lunch – big buffet table – one price
A small hot starter w/menu
A plate of 4 different veg on each table
2-4 desserts – always the same
A salad & bread board – choice of making it yourself or not.
Put Dill in Bloody Marys
o White Bougainvillea and olive trees only
o Night Blooming Jasmine
o White Cockatoos
That week, Stuart, my ‘Super’ says that Walter Oertle’s office told him that a famous opera singer was interested in sub-letting my apartment. I don’t know what happened to Stella, but I call Walter Oertle. Turns out the “opera singer” is Roberta Flack! She comes by on Friday, and falls in love with the place. We agree that she could have it furnished, as is, sometime at the beginning of August for $1500/mo. She would have her lawyer, Ambassador Young, prepare the documents using the standard Manhattan sub-let lease provided by Walter’s office. We sign the lease on the 14th. The timing is great; I’m lucky!
I fly to Akron on the 17th to meet Fred Hernon, nominated by the Akron group to be a Director and the company’s Treasurer. We dine - nice guy; I stay at the Cascade Holiday Inn.
The following days, I call Allen Cantor, ex-head of sales for IOS, who maintains contact with many of the ex-IOS sales people throughout the world, and apprise him of what I’m doing. He expresses interest.
Keith is having a model of the project made by associates in Cleveland. His lawyer, Greg Seeley of Marshman, Snyder and Seeley, is also in Cleveland. I fly out to pick up the model and meet with Greg to work on the prospectus. We finish the first draft on July 1. The model looks good…
On the 4th, I fly to Naples, move into Mom’s condo, and watch the fireworks at the Edgewater Beach. On the 5th, I dine with Chris; he’s not thrilled with the prospectus, nor am I - much still to do.
July 13, the second draft is done; much better.
On July 15th, Jackson Kelly arrives at the Ambassador Club with Alfie and a large bag of Sunflower seeds (for Alfie).
That afternoon, fearing that people aren’t paying attention to him, and intimidated by Jackson’s arrival, Chris flares about the need for and cost of the room renderings that Zajac & Callahan are creating.
Helen heard about his outrageous behavior and sent a note over saying that the renderings were crucial. “Chris is very insecure, you know; he really doesn’t know what he’s doing and can’t really keep up with you.”
On Thursday, July 18, Chris and Nat Bell come to the condo. The prospectus is finished and we hold two Board of Directors Meetings as follows:
So, the result:
o the Marina company’s name was changed to Syndicor.
o I remain President of Discovery Bay Development Corporation Ltd. but I gave my shares in DBDC to Syndicor which holds 56%.
o Chris has 39% and
o Nat Bell, VP and Director, has 5%;
o Jackson is Exec VP and Director but has no shares.
o Chris has nothing to do with Syndicor.
o I have 90% of Syndicor and am CEO;
o Jackson has 5% and is VP; and
o Pauline continues to hold one share.
o 4% of the company is not allocated and is available for distribution to deserving people.
On Sunday, July 21, Chris calls me.
o I am “confused” as to July 18 BOD meetings.
o I seriously doubt the viability of the hotel.
o You have more shares than I have.
o I am putting a stop to all further expenditures.
o “The project has gotten entirely out of hand. All I had wanted was a little 6-condo project that you and I could play with together, and now you have turned it into a 285-room hotel project and an international investment program with all sorts of people involved that I don’t know.
I counter with the fact that he had brought in Stanson, whom I didn’t know, as well as all the people in Akron. He had never disputed an expense and had signed all the checks. I had made the commitment to this project on his urging and had moved down to the island. His contributions pale in comparison.
I close with, “I’m going to forget this conversation, and you should too. The project is in my hands and I’m taking it to Europe on Tuesday.”
I find out later that as I am flying to London, Chris is hitting Jackson with all his doubts.
On the 24th, I meet with my old friend and lawyer, Ed Coughlin, in Geneva. He likes the project and will work as our international counsel.
On the 25th in Geneva, I meet with Pierre Suter, an international financial services advisor of great repute. He is current occupied with CATU Containers, selling shipping containers to individuals as an tangible, income-producing, investment, and doing very well after the fall of the stock markets in 1970, and the evaporation of paper investments like IOS and Keith Barish’s Gramco.
I show him the slide show, the renderings, and the prospectus. He is most attracted to Discovery Bay, will read the prospectus, and let me know in the morning.
On the 26th, Pierre called at 9:00AM, “Count me in, I think it looks great!” I called Sam Welker.
Here are his notes…
On the 27th, I went to Flims. Sam and I worked on the details for two days culminating in a signed Letter of Intent for a marketing agreement for Europe, N. Africa, and the Mid-East!
On the 29th, I flew to Paris, had dinner with Thad, and met with some other sales people.
July 30 – Paris is a “GO!”
I return to Geneva to meet with Allen Cantor. He likes it!
Aug 1 – Celebratory dinner with Ed Coughlin and Pierre Suter.
Aug 2 – London; dinner with Roy Kirkdorffer and ex-IOSer, Norman Rolnick at the Carlton Towers - smiles all round.
Aug 3 – Dinner with David Lund and his wife at the Carlton Towers. David has an international marketing company and thinks the Provo plan is very attractive! I fly to NYC on the 4th.
The morning of August 5th, Roberta Flack arrives at 9 East 68th Street, bag and baggage as they say, signs the inventory and moves in. She also brought a white, grand piano that has to be maneuvered through a window with a crane. Mito and I watch.
I go to the airport, fly to Florida, go to the Ambassador Club, and Chris arrives.
He is incredibly upset, says “Everything must stop!”; and leaves!
I am exhausted from my travels and go straight to bed. Jackson is visiting friends in Palm Beach.
The next morning, Chris comes back and tells me:
o He’d ordered Nat Bell to intercept the minutes of the BOD meetings of July 18.
o He’d taken Nat and Kelly off the payroll.
o He’d instructed the realtor to change all the purchase documents to eliminate DBDC and show him and Mother as buyers.
It was all totally illegal and dishonest. I say:
o The project is viable and marketable in Europe.
o Mother, the venture capital contributor, must be included as a stockholder.
o That intermediate financing be arranged to save the project or that steps be taken to sell the assets to pay Mother back.
o That if the project is to go ahead, there should be a note from the company to Mother so she has first call.
o That you either are made to believe in those involved and participate as an active member of the group, or remain a silent partner with a large block of shares, or you are reimbursed your due and withdraw.
Here are the notes I typed up following this meeting…
August 8, Chris calls at 6AM, “I need to come see you.”
He arrives and sits away from me in the living room of Mom’s condo.
“I’m just going to tell you why I have always treated you so badly and tried to get Mom and Dad and Helen to hate you… I love you.”
I look at him.
“Yes, love; your kind of love. I don’t mean brotherly love, I mean real love! You drive me crazy – literally. I wanted Provo to be our project that we could do together. You took it seriously and turned it into something I can’t relate to.”
I just listened, stunned. He left.
It was an interesting day. Jackson returned and we watched President Nixon wave and depart by helicopter!
As far as I was concerned, the project was alive; what Chris had tried to do was illegal. Life goes on, and a corporation doesn’t die.
The morning of the ninth, Gerald Ford is president. I call Chris and tell him to pull himself together, and get over here. “We’re going to Miami with P.T. and Jackson to meet Welker’s man, Jim Pollak, at the Marriott, as planned.” He came. We all meet.
The next morning, we all fly to Provo, and Jackson and I and Jim take a charter to get the lay of the land and to the island of Eleuthera to see Jackson’s old hotel, French Leave (Taking “French Leave” means “going AWOL”) – cute name; it used to be a more than cute resort.
All that’s left of French Leave
We stay at the Pot Latch Club.
Aug 11, Chris and I fly to Nassau to meet with Tad Baron’s architectural group, and… that night, Chris gets mugged on the street! He’s not having a very good time these days.
We fly to Marco the next day to find that Helen has left him.
The next day, Chris drives me to the Tampa airport and I return to Manhattan and dine with Zajac and Callahan at the Isle of Capri, and check into the Gramercy Hotel.
On the 14th, Jim Pollak comes to Manhattan and we edit the slide show and re-write the sales piece.
The next day, Zajac and Callahan and I go over the costs of the furnishings for the Dining Pavilion, Terraces, and Bar ($24,562.00), the bedrooms ($4875.64 each), the two-bedroom suites ($22,448.00 each), and Pool Side ($3562.00).
Again, we dine together – we are living and breathing this project.
Finally, the final draft of the prospectus is finished...
That’s “Gladly,” the cross-eyed bear (gladly the cross I would bear) on the wall, and
Mito with Bargello at hand.
• Aug 19 – Mito waxed floors, Keough visited, to Dody’s for drinks.
• Aug 20 – Chris-Craft working.
The Chris-Craft moored to a tree; no dock yet.
The black pipe is our fresh water inlet from Clear Pond.
• Aug 21 – Rainbow Lake Director’s meeting, Leonard cocktail.
• Aug 22 – Wim & Dade off. Slides here, Sis & Mom for dinner.
• Aug 24 – Antiquing in Bloomingdale.
• Aug 25 – Mito to NYC, Re-write finished – sent to Pollack.
• Aug 26 – to Montreal and Ottawa - Jean Pierre Marc will bring in some of his clients. To Montreal – Queen Elizabeth Hotel.
• Aug 27 – Montreal - Queen Elizabeth’s business centre typed and copied the latest version of the sales piece.
• Aug 28 – To Ottawa – Another sales rep to commence Oct 1; Champlain Motel.
• Aug 29 – Seven months into project. Drive to HOWO.
• Chris wants me to resign!
o “If you don’t quit, I’ll do everything I can to stop you, including reporting you to the Internal Revenue Service!”
o I said, “There’s nothing to report, but I’ve had enough of this craziness – I quit.”
• Sept 3
o Cold and raining.
o Placid for lunch.
o Steaks on the fire.
o Chris calls, says P.T. selling assets.
o Staying in Blazes.
• Sept 6 – Signed affidavit of resignation for Chris. He took over.
The company never functioned again. All of the contractors and sub-contractors, all of the friends that were involved, and all of the associates were left in the lurch and never heard from the company again. The company’s share in the Provo Power Company was never redeemed, and what became of the houses, the drag-line, and the crane, let alone the hundreds of other assets that had been acquired, one doesn’t know. Mother lost money, Chris lost money, and I lost the Jeep, Stinger, money, and lots of time. I never heard from any of the principals or experts, and I never returned to Providenciales… provident it was not!
I think it was hardest on Mother. Chris had revealed a part of his soul that was hard to fathom, and it had to affect Mother’s perception of the bonds that make ‘family.’ She wrote…
“Please believe, dear, that Chris is sincere in wanting to be friends with you. He, too, has said, ‘What an awful year. I’m not going to be depressed and angry anymore.’ Keep praying for a happy relationship with Grace and Chris. I am sure it is happening right now. Thank you for thinking of me on the 13th – I feel better all the time, but Hell it’s lonesome! I’ll never forget all you did for me that first summer. I love you and miss you, Mom”
The next I heard was that Club Med had established “Turkoise” on Provo.
''Give yourself a thrill at our adults-only, Turks & Caicos all-inclusive paradise, located in Grace Bay of Providenciales Island.
"This vivacious Caribbean resort is the perfect place to let your inner child run free.
"Relish in the excitement of your favorite watersports, or go for a swing on the flying trapeze before dancing the night away under the stars.
"Surrounded by vividly colorful bungalows, gorgeous hibiscus-lined beaches, and turquoise waters, this resort offers a picturesque setting for creating ever-lasting memories."
Provo today - 2017: TripAdvisor:
The most populated of the Turks and Caicos islands, Providenciales is one of the world’s top beach destinations.
The diving and snorkeling is as convenient as it is stunning, thanks to miles of coral reef that’s easily accessible from the shore.
The upscale resorts and captivating beachscapes of Grace Bay make it a popular choice for waterfront escapes.
The cliffs and crags of Chalk Sound make a lovely backdrop for kayaking the bright turquoise waters.
August 16; my birthday – I lunch with Howard Hook, an old reprobate buddy from everywhere, have dinner at the Mayflower with Mito, Tony Cloughley and Alessandro Albrizzi, and end up at a big party at Zajac and Callahan’s flat.
Time for another breather.
On the 18th, Mito, two friends, and I drive to the Adirondack’s Ausable Chasm, on to Mom’s cocktail at HOWO, and dinner and bed at Blazes.
I spend the rest of September playing with friends in Palm Beach and working on a plan to start a limo service based at Sailboat Bay, an hotel in Coconut Grove – what else was I to do with a limo!
I rent a furnished apartment on Miami Beach at the beginning of October for $280/mo.
One day Roberta calls me, “Gee, Mr. Carter, I don’t know what happened but the basin in my bathroom, it just fell on the floor.”
I say, “Besides that, darlin’, your behind in your rent.”
I’d called Ambassador Young a couple of weeks earlier – a rather awkward discussion with such a personage – but I hadn’t had any satisfaction from Roberta, herself. I decide to see her personally and fly to New York.
She comes to the door, and innocently ushers me into my home. She sits me down, and goes to the piano. Killing me softly, she charmingly adlibs the lyrics as an apology for being late with her rent. Lovely!
I had a number of “charters” for the car and decide to make Coconut Grove my home for the time being.
November 5, I rent an unfurnished house (why unfurnished?) on Crawford Street. It had a pool and a nice garden with avocado trees that hung over the water. I rent a folding bed.
At night, I can hear avocados drop into the pool – a delicious perk… until the raccoons pick up on it. From then on it’s a nightly race to the water to retrieve the green prizes. The raccoons usually win.
More fun and games with the Palm Beach crowd: Kaufmann, Coburn, Cloughley, Wilmot, and Curtis Dewitz, the general manager of Miami’s Palm Bay Club, and his wife, Puddin – life is grand!
It’s more fun than driving a limo; I decide to sell the car. Towards the end of November, a shady looking man comes to look at it.
He says, “It better be right.”
A week later, the "Godfather" himself comes and buys it; a little spooky.
Mito comes down from Manhattan and we spend Christmas with Curtis and Puddin. We have rides in Curtis’ Cigarette boat… I think he wanted more than just a spin around Biscayne Bay.
We enjoy a Champagne-filled, New Year’s Eve dinner at the Fountainebleau on Miami Beach - Mito ends up joining the piano player and serenading the guests. What a year it had been.
I stay in Florida for the first half of January. Roberta calls to say that at the end of the month, she is moving across the Park to the Dakota, the grandest apartment building in the city. “I’m sorry to be leaving… just when I’m getting to know the difference between stainless steel and silver.”
I have another tenant lined up – a neon sculptor, Ron Ferri and his boyfriend, Jean Pierre.
I had already arranged with Walter Oertle to rent 1b, one of the two little studios on the ground floor of 9 East.
I need to be in New York, and to live anywhere other than in Millicent’s beautiful house would be depressing.
I come up to Manhattan, stay in an hotel with Mito, and we go up to High Weather for a couple of days. This foot-looseness is doing me no good.
Roberta moves out of 3a on the 31st, and Mito and I move in. We spend the next few days moving some furniture down to 1b and trying to make it a home without ruining the look of 3a. The Stasha Halpern is the first to travel.
Sanka is on the right where he can keep an eye on what’s going on, in or out.
The American Chippendale mirrors are with me even until today in Thailand.
The little Buddha comes too.
The job is done on February 6th. Mito and I put essentials in the fridge for them, and Ron Ferri and Jean Pierre move in.
Ron Ferri is a master at making the ordinary extraordinary. His visual take on the everyday is what truly sets him apart. Pioneer in the use of neon tubes in the 1970s, his work is actively imitated by artists inspired by the work of a visionary, light years ahead of his time, both creatively and conceptually.
Ferri's work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA, New York), the Smithsonian American Museum (Washington, DC), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), the Musée d' Art Moderne (Saint-Etienne, France).
March 16, Johnny Galliher brings Jacques Sarli over to have a drink. He catches on immediately and we have a good laugh – the décor cost me a million dollars less than he had paid for the same look in Paris!
Johnnie has been telling Jacques about me for years and he is intrigued.
“I think I have an idea,” he said, “come see me Thursday, the 20th, at the Pierre for drinks and dinner.”
… I could feel a new chapter beginning.
END OF CHAPTER NINE
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