I Remember Caramoor, a memoir      Author's Note:       I Remember Caramoor, a memoir by Steven Key Meyers  



When I went to work there in 1970, Caramoor was little known outside of New York classical music circles. Almost fifty years on, it’s famous, really famous! This speaks not only to the soundness of the very personal, very idiosyncratic vision that the Rosens realized, but to many years of capable management since their deaths. Finally I realized that the privilege of having become its teenaged underbutler shortly after Mrs. Rosen’s death made me part of something greater than myself and by now very possibly sole repository of some of its lore. Hence I Remember Caramoor.

It was fun to think back and revisit—revel in, actually—so many good memories, and satisfying to dredge up more from the fog of the forgotten, but maddening in the writing to try to find a structure that would contain what must inevitably be something of a mishmash. Although in the end I think I succeeded, the print edition includes an index, tossed to the reader as a sort of lifesaver.

In preparing the ebook edition of I Remember Caramoor I took the opportunity to correct several errors I made in the print edition: George Clark died in the spring, not summer, of 1974 and is buried, not at St. Matthew’s cemetery, but in Mount Kisco. And doing some research better informed me about the burglary’s aftermath:

The denouement proved controversial. Some months later, the Westchester County District Attorney announced the return of the stolen items, crediting two men, both with extensive burglary rap sheets—a pair seemingly straight out of the pages of Donald E. Westlake—for overseeing return of the loot in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Adding to the controversy was that the deal immunized the same pair against prosecution for an unrelated burglary in Rye, from which, however, not all the items stolen were recovered. The burglars claimed that they robbed Caramoor on the orders of an unnamed patron who then died before taking the loot off their hands. A couple years later this same pair entered into another agreement with prosecutors, returning several Thomas Eakins masterpieces stolen from the Greenwich estate of Joseph Hirshhorn in exchange once again for immunity. But perhaps karma exists: Years later, one of the thieves had his application for a license to run a boarding house in White Plains turned down because of his history of burglary.

I mention reading at Caramoor a book about the Mt. Palomar telescope and, in another place, that Christian Rosberg drew up plans for an Observatory at Caramoor; it occurs to me that both book and plans—not to mention the astrological light fixture in his study—might reflect astronomical interests on the part of the Rosens’ son, Walter Bigelow. Also, I would speculate that it was at Mr. Sweeley's suggestion that Mrs. Rosen commissioned the visionary architect Frederick Kiesler to design the Venetian Theatre: Kiesler had been the Juilliard School's resident set designer for many years, including the period that Mr. Sweeley studied there.


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