Saturday, July 16, 2011
All That Glitters
When I read about the passing of Huguette Clark at the age of 104 in May of this year I could only feel pity for this copper baron's heiress, and a certain element of revulsion.
The public are being bombarded with media warnings that sustainable living is a must. Cutback, recycle, tighten your belts, are daily catch phrases for the masses, while this woman held on to properties valued in the millions that she hadn't set foot in for fifty years including a mansion on Fifth Avenue with 121 rooms.
Instead, after dissolving a nine month marriage which the groom said was unconsummated, she opted to stay in Manhattan alone with her dolls watching "The Flintstones", before checking in under an assumed name to Doctors Hospital, and then Beth Israel Medical Center, where she was tended to for decades until she died.
I don't profess to have any insight into why her development was totally arrested. Perhaps having a father in his seventies who married a woman 40 years his junior. This same man literally bought himself a senate seat and amassed a fortune equal to the Vanderbilts and Guggenheims - at what price?
Yet another case of "poor little rich girl", you might say. It certainly appears a case of plenty of wealth and not enough parental attention. What I fail to understand is why she didn't choose at least to disperse the assets she had no use for in a way that would benefit the community. Apparently she was lucid to the last day, so one couldn't attribute her choices to an unsound mind.
Her accountant and attorney were certainly well looked after while managing her estate ( no surprise there ). But I can't help but wonder if her fate might have taken a different turn were she capable of giving or even toyed with the notion of paying it forward.
That may be the answer to our economic woes on a global scale. So long as there is a distinct division between the "haves" and the "have nots" we perpetuate economic pendulum swings and live in envy, resentment, suffering, and solitude.
A concise summary of the Clark Family saga can be found in a New York Times article at this link: