Well this caught my eye! So much so that we’ve submitted a draft obit for the project. While I realize Alice would likely shun all glitz and glam of being in the Times, however, she darn well warrants it! First of all, she was a New Yorker having owned no less than 4 Park Avenue apartments and that manse on 37th and Madison. All that she did for those who, in fact, had a life of significance and importance thanks to her financial and verbal encouragement. All those who made it to the highbrow obit pages….we salute those writers, dancers, sculptors, painters and musicians….and we send a thank you to dear Alice for her helping make those lives happen. Let’s have the Times honor her.
Despite my recent aggravating inertia regarding “the hunt” I came across a tidbit of data that perked me up and clarified what I’ve been trying to say for some time. Fred Hellerman, former singer from the folk group The Weavers, who sadly died last September, but said in an interview the spring of 2016 that was recorded for the Weston Historical Society:
“So, you ask, what motivated me to move from the vibrant life in Greenwich Village to Weston? It was around the Alice Delamar thing. Alice, an heiress to the 3M fortune, had a big house, a pool, and extensive property at the corner of Weston Road and Newtown Turnpike. In the ‘60s she liked to have interesting people from the arts surrounding her: dancers, musicians, artists, theatrical people, all from New York. Also, my friend and manager Harold Leventhal lived here. And my God this was only an hour away from New York!”
Okay so dear old Fred didn’t quite get the facts 100% correct (heiress to the 3M fortune? I think not) but his statement about Alice’s allure said it all…she had “that thing” that people wanted to be around. Yes the big house, the ginormous pool, the colorful guests….but she also had a generous spirit and a nonjudgmental permission for all to be as they were.
As my obsession continues to further uncover Alice’s life story I’m routinely struck by the tidbits of info that continue to seep into my Inbox. These nuggets of insight allowing us to peek inches further into Alice– who today, would be 122 – are pure joy to receive.
Beyond thinking about Alice today I also find myself heading to the exquisite Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island this week where there are walls full of paintings and sketches by Miss DeLamar’s friend Ludwig Bemelmans. The collection is meticulously framed and well-lit among the hotels’ purely breathtaking décor. Everyone should visit Ocean House at least once in their lifetime. Miss DeLamar would have found it simply sublime.
In keeping with Miss Delamar’s unrelenting desire to keep the spotlight off of her, let me steer your attention away and share a juicy and detailed blog post by gifted writer Mr. Bradbury Kuett so you can revel in Mr. Bemelmans’ life story (and pretend we’re not all still thinking and wondering about Miss DeLamar):
I often wonder how Alice celebrated the holidays….there isn’t much said in her cards, papers and letters other than brief descriptions of menu recommendations for her cook and the mention of hosting a few cocktail parties.
Here are two of her favorite Christmas cards that she’d sign as “Joyeuse Noël, Bonne Année” with either her full signature or simply “Love, A”….
Merry Christmas dear Alice….2017 just might be your year to finally get that manuscript published!
Another hint surfaces! There was indeed “a book” as we see here in a note from a friend. I recently received a collection of papers, letters, photos and manuscript notes (handwritten notes of Alice’s) further proving her intent and progress in writing her father’s (and undoubtedly her own) life story. The box sat under her chauffeur’s bed post-1983 until it was ‘handed over’ to someone looking into the story of one of Alice’s artists. Why do these boxes of treasures make their way into the light of day…and MOST intriguingly, why did people save Alice ephemera for decades?
And why so much mystery still surrounding this generous soul? Why won’t my main sources just come out and admit that this manuscript did, in fact, exist? I have amassed pages…. 100s at this point…of Alice musings and the stories of her tribe’s antics….names, addresses, calendar entries of where she was and when throughout most of the Midcentury….all telling the life story of Alice DeLamar. Yes there were Communists, yes there were the straight, the gay and the undecided, and yes there was scandal and gossip. Nothing we haven’t all read in our latest Vanity Fair issues or read on FaceBook!
So I’m quite surprised, and I admit, slightly humored, by the fact I haven’t yet received a call from the Glen Cove police regarding these gates….if ANYONE would want this piece of history it surely would be me. To have and to hold these dear DeLamar relics, maybe put them in my yard so I could touch the past, daydream about who all passed through them…if $2000 was all it took to get my hands on these, I would have called Mr. DiStefano Sr. myself and made an offer years ago.
Alice should have swiped them back in the ’30s and hauled them up to Weston Conn. – they would have perfectly framed the beginning of that 11 acre estate starting at the base of Norfield Road just before that long driveway leading to a piece of history soon to be revealed….
Hey Mr. DiStefano, if I get any tips or leads I’ll be sure to call you….