"the" Mrs. Astor

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Travels Through Westerly were done in that reliable jeep kept here in the winter. In fact, I noted that whether in town or along the coast most people traveled in rugged, utilitarian vehicles; no flashy convertibles or luxury cars were evident. Joy-riding for the sake of showing off is frowned upon, unlike Miami Beach, where it is a life style.
Bob and Terry own a vast amount of land in town, much of which is traveled on roads like this. All I could think of was, "What happens if a vehicle is coming the other way, and how I would be killed on a country road--white gloves on, lipstick straight?" It didn't happen.
We all took a walk through the woods in order to see the salt pond and fend of voracious mosquitoes. This was more nature than I can take; I wasn't made for things like woods unless they comprised something in a fireplace.

It was heartening to see that the last, grand Victorian hotel, Ocean House, is being restored...

...and see old sights like the Granite Theater. It is across from a serene park in which I would often sit under a tree after arriving by train from New York, waiting for my ride.

With all that food to eat and liquor to guzzle, it is a wonder that anything like reading was ever accomplished during our trip, but I did finish Missie Vassiltchikov's "Berlin Diaries", a harrowing account of her life in the Nazi capital. Many times I found it impossible to put down, as this Russian aristocrat chronicled the day to day horrors of the bombing, the hunger, the idiocy of the Nazi officials, and the plot to kill Hitler that she was intimately involved in. Most of all it is an astonishing look at the will to live and thrive in a society coming apart at the seams. Her accounts of attending Chilean embassy balls in order to get something to eat, or downing the Bismark's champagne with a fried potato are fascinating.


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