Monday, December 29, 2008

Duchess of Carnegie

I am, I admit, and old soul. I sit here in my "study" surrounded by history books, classic literature, and photographs of my family, some of members long dead.

I am, I admit, a romantic at heart. I love the stories that end with the hero succeeding. I love to think that true love conquers all, that bravery, courage, honor, and perseverance are all one needs to survive life. I know it doesn't always end up that way, but I want to believe that it can.

Perhaps that is why I want to move to New York and offer to fight to the death to keep this dear woman in her apartment.

Her name is Editta Sherman, age 96. Her home is in an apartment above Carnegie Hall. That is right, above Carnegie Hall. She has rent control. She pays.....ready for this....$650 a month.

She is a portrait photographer who has led her own fairytale life. She has known Andy Warhol, Henry Fonda, Paul Newman. She has photographed supermodels, actors, politicians, singers....and more. She is one of those rare people who not only captures history, but has become an active part of it.

And now, in the name of progress, she must go. Sanford Weill, the chairman of Carnegie Hall has decided he wants to use the apartments that she and several others occupy for rooms for music students.

I am all for music students. I am all for the Hall making some more money (which we know is why Weill wants to renovate. You can't make any money off of rent control).

But why, in the name of progress, must she go NOW. She is 96. She may live to be 106. If she does, you have lost ten years. In the meantime, almost all of the other tenants have moved out. Change their apartments. Let the music students get to know Mrs. Sherman, and let their lives be enriched by it.

It may not be fair, to let her stay and make others go. But fair, as my father would say, is where they give pigs blue ribbons. At 96 you have outlived fair. You get to do what you want. And she wants to continue living, maybe even die, in her home of over 50 years.

We live in a time when that useless punk Thoreau (that's right, I said it) has poisoned our minds with the thought that the elderly have nothing to teach us. In our new technological age, how could Editta Sherman possibly have anything wise to pass on? She is old, throw her out for the new!

Well, Thoreau was a fool, and so are we. We box up our elderly in group homes and we stop listening to them. We assume that they think nothing like us, and that they are just a burden. But people like Mrs. Sherman have seen enough of life to know what is important, and to know what lessons we really should focus on.

....rant on elderly over.....

So leave her be you heartless New York Chairman. Let her stay! Do not now, after so long, take her home!



sara said...

That was quite the rant. Although, be on the lookout for the call from our mother: she claims the blue ribbon quote is HERS, not Dad's. Boy, are you in trouble...

And you are absolutely right about Thoreau. Lazy, loafer, punk of a wannabe philosopher...

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