From Riches to Rags
Why buy a new home when you can have a haunted mansion?
It was just another Friday night, and I found myself scrolling through HBO's vast catalog on my TV, feeling bored, grumpy, and yearning for the simpler times when we didn't have 2,486 different streaming platforms and an overwhelming number of movies and TV shows to choose from. When I was just about to give up, something caught my attention: a story I had never heard of before. The kind of bizarre, almost unbelievable real-life tale that I always find so intriguing and fascinating.
While I read the film synopsis, it reminded me of another story that took place in Brazil a few months ago. Let me give you a spoiler with this photo below, which should be enough to convince you to read until the end, where I'll tell you more about it.
Yes, I know I'll be sponsoring your nightmares tonight.
Okay, back to the film. It is called Grey Gardens, starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. I hit the play button, not sure of what to expect. But what a wild ride it was.
“Grey Gardens is oozing with romance, ghosts, and other things.” – Little Edie
Grey Gardens is the name of a 14-room mansion built in the neighborhood of East Hampton, New York, in 1897. The story I'm interested in telling you today, however, begins in 1924, when American attorney Phelan Beale acquired the house for his wife, Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale.
Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale was born in Nutley, New Jersey, in 1895 to Maude Frances Sergeant and John Vernou Bouvier Jr, an American attorney who later became a prominent judge. Her siblings included twin sisters Mude Reppelin Bouvier Davis and Michelle Caroline Bouvier Scott Putnam, as well as William Sergeant "Bud" Bouvier and John "Black Jack" Vernou Bouvier III - father of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Yes, *that* Jacqueline.
Beale grew up in an environment of wealth and social prestige, surrounded by opulence, luxury and extravagance. As a young woman, she pursued a career in music, studying voice and piano in New York City.
In 1917, she married one of her father's law partners, Phelan Beale, and together, they had three children: Phelan Beale, Jr., Bouvier Beale, and Edith (who was referred to as "Little Edie"). The couple went on to live on what is now the site of the Carlyle Hotel in New York, at 987 Madison Avenue, but it was at their East Hampton mansion that the major part of this story took place.