Long Lost Love

It’s funny how one remembers things.

I was looking into a store window on Madison and 76th, a few steps from The Carlyle, when it dawned on me it used to be an art gallery I often visited.

Step back to 1979 – I’m a young twenty-two year old taking the city by storm.  I have Vogue covers and stars in my eyes being in New York for only a few months.

I’m introduced to a man already in his 50s – Austrian, urbane – a leader in the art world where German and Austrian impressionists are revered: Egon Schiele, Gustov Klimt, Paul Klee, Max Beckman, Otto Dix to name a few…these were his charges representing them nobly.

I’ll call him Edsel, meaning noble in German, I realized used to occupy this space now filled with expensive linen and over-priced bedspreads.

The showroom was in the front, with an office in the back.

He had a receptionist, so when visiting disappearing where he’d hold court, you never felt unnerved or compromised being in the presence of a man twice your age.

He was tall and imposing dressed in gray trousers and a custom-made button-down… Belgian loafers on his feet. A burly man with a shock of thick, white hair cascading off his forehead like a blanket of snow.

As you entered his sanctum sanctorum, he’d always be lying on his couch reading Art News or something similar he’d happily put down to greet you.

I knew nothing about art, even though he kindly loaded me up with books, none I still have.  A pity really since they were all first editions.

I’d sit in a chair facing him, and he would talk.

This is what I remember.

He married a very rich woman who helped establish him in the art world.  Their union, producing no offspring, had after many years become cold and dry.

He wanted to leave, but his wife would threaten suicide, causing them to live separate lives in the same house.

He had a photograph on his desk of a beautiful dark haired lady in profile, her long hair piled way up on her head.

I resembled her, realizing, why he may have always been so happy to see me.

One day, shy as I was, asked about her.

She was his great love who lived, I’m going to say in Switzerland, but I’m not totally sure. It was Europe in any event, and they’d meet half way to consummate their affection I knew was real the way it still danced in his eyes as he spoke of her.

Finally, after many false attempts, he decided to leave his wife.  Apparently this woman was going to have his child, so it was time to lead from the heart honestly, rather than obligation and fear.

The plane carrying her crashed, killing everyone on board.

He never got to see or hold her again.

It seemed to crush him, even years after telling me about it…the regrets, the sadness.

That’s what I thought as I peered in that old window, if it could only talk, thirty-five years later.

Edsel died in 1996 at 83 leaving behind a legacy of art and knowledge for these great German, Austrian artists he championed so.

But what he also left was love, turned to dust, melting in a blue sky.

SB

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About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in Books, History, Love, New York City, Women and men and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Long Lost Love

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    What a tragic story, Susannah. So sad. So many people and places I know have hidden stories. But this one is a real heart-breaker.

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  2. Elle Knowles says:

    Sad. As they say – if walls could talk. Think of the stories we would have. Good you have such a fine memory ~Elle

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  3. Very tragic. Hopefully there was some joy in his life!

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  4. Planes can take people to so many places, but I see how they take so much happiness away. So many lives, and so much promise is lost in every plane crash. And I find that extremely haunting. Why I hate flying.

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  5. That’s such a sad story, at least about his lover dying in a plane crash. It hits home because of the German flight that crashed today. It wasn’t what I wanted to see when I’m flying out to Toronto tomorrow. 🙂

    You must have seen New York City change over your life there. Do you find that it generally changes slowly or quickly there?

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  6. poignant , and very lovely.

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      • I could tell… glad to hear from you, just saw that there was an apartment building that collapsed and I was a bit worried about you…

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      • It’s in the east village and I’m way uptown, but it looks scary. Thanks for thinking of me. Hope no one is hurt. Makes me think of FDR. Fire was his biggest fear, and he wouldn’t allow Eleanor to install a more modern elevator at Springwood, their home in Hyde Park because he knew, if he had to, he could lower himself by the ropes because his arms from maneuvering his wheel chair were that strong. Funny what one thinks about provoked or evoked by an incident.

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      • having never been to NYC, I am not certain where things are. Wonderful story of FDR and Eleanor, we often visited his place in Campobello, ME when we lived there. Fascinating man. Glad you are okay.

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      • Never been there but that’s where he basically went after he contracted polio. Hate that story. Springwood, though not palatial is lovely. I’m always how modest presidential homes are. My favorite is Sagamore Hill, Teddy’s house. I just read a great book written in 1995 by a wonderful woman whose name escapes me called, Bully Father. The first 100 or so pages is a recap of TR’s life and career. The second part are all the letters he wrote to his kids when they were young. You want to be charmed DAF? Try to get it from the library or a paperback. I know it’s not on Kindle or Nook because my pal Ed tried to download it. I was so moved.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I will look it up, we have a great library right down the street from us. Thanks!

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  7. Tragic love stories are painful, but sometimes necessary to hear. Lots of lessons in this one that’s for sure.

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