Within the early Nineteen Sixties, after a number of summer time leases on Martha’s Winery, Jamie Bernstein’s household purchased a trip house on a wooded hillside in West Redding, Conn. There, 9-year-old Jamie and his youthful brother, Alexander, composed varied video games. Chief amongst them is a fantasy that they stay a low-key, small-town existence just like the characters on their favourite tv exhibits.
It was a testomony to the imaginative presents of kids whose precise house was a duplex house throughout the road from Carnegie Corridor, and whose father was the well-known, heat-seeking “West Aspect Story” composer and New York Philharmonic conductor Leonard Bernstein.
“As soon as we had this little home, we weren’t going to Martha’s Winery and we had been a lot nearer to Manhattan, which was most likely extra handy for my dad and mom,” Ms. Bernstein, 70, 2018 memoir mentioned the creator of the well-known “Father Lady” and host of “The NY Phil Story: Made in New York,” a brand new podcast concerning the Philharmonic produced by the orchestra and public radio station WQXR. May go there on weekends throughout half time.”
Then, when her sister Nina was born in 1962, “we had been a household of 5,” Ms. Bernstein continued. “In addition to the nanny and the cook dinner who would typically be a part of us on weekends. And immediately the home felt very small.”
Just a few months later, his mom, Felicia Montealegre Bernstein, an actor and artist, introduced that she had simply purchased a big, new nation home. “And I assume I’d have requested, ‘Nicely, how a lot did it price?’ Ms. Bernstein recalled. “And my mother mentioned, ‘Oh, I am unable to discuss it. It was so costly I am unable to even say it out loud.’ And my brother and I had been saying, ‘Come on, how a lot was it? How a lot was it?’ We pestered her till she whispered, ’80.’
Her youngsters gasped: “$80 – it price $80?”
In the identical whisper, Mrs. Bernstein corrects him: “$80,000.”
had bought a former horse farm with a pool, tennis courtroom and outbuildings on what appeared in these days six-and-a-half acres in Fairfield, Conn. Through the years, extra parcels of woodland – roughly 12 acres’ price – had been acquired. To present the household extra privateness and escape from city care.
“It was fantastic,” Ms. Bernstein mentioned. “We spent a number of summers right here, and virtually each weekend throughout the remainder of the yr. All of us liked it.
Jamie Bernstein, 70
career: Author, Movie Producer, Podcast Host
Getting therapy: “We go house fully rested. It is like an antidote to New York life.
After Mr. Bernstein’s dying in 1990 (Mrs. Bernstein died in 1978), all three kids inherited the property. Nevertheless it’s Jamie who’s most frequently in residence – virtually each weekend.
As when his dad and mom had been alive, the complicated is a gathering place for birthdays and holidays, and for fiercely contested rounds of anagrams. Extra lately, it has additionally served as a set for the upcoming movie “Maestro”, a portrait of the Bernsteins’ difficult marriage, directed by and starring Bradley Cooper. (Carey Mulligan performs Felicia.)
Ms. Bernstein mentioned of Mr. Cooper, “He wished authenticity about how he was evoking our father and his world.” “He was very eager to come back over and be right here, and that is when he determined he wished to come back again and shoot in and round the home. Bradley completely understood why this place was so nice and in How is the DNA of the household concerned?
Certainly, the home, with its decently-proportioned rooms, has barely modified for the reason that days when it was inhabited by the senior Bernstein and his nice and good associates—amongst them, Stephen Sondheim (who fully destroyed it when he beat Jamie her in anagrams), Jerome Robbins, Mike Nichols and Richard Avedon (who took the image of Jamie that sits amongst a bunch of household pictures in the lounge).
“After we grew up, we realized, ‘Boy, we had nice individuals in the home,'” Ms. Bernstein mentioned. “However once we had been little, they had been simply our dad and mom’ associates. To us, they had been simply Steve and Jerry and Mike and Dick.
Possibly Mr. Sondheim purchased his “West Aspect Story” collaborator the abacus that sits on a shelf within the eating room — “I am unable to assure that is the case,” he mentioned — and it was Mr. Sondheim or Possibly Mr. Nichols who purchased a pleasant telescope on the ground subsequent door.
“There was a time when our dad and mom used to have Christmas events for all their associates,” Ms. Bernstein mentioned. “And there was a contest about present-giving that turned so oppressive that my mom mentioned, ‘We do not have these events anymore.'”
The furnishings — heavy on rattan, wicker and bamboo — conjures up a summer time pavilion. So does the eating room, which is surrounded by a white desk and chairs, and stuffed with crops. Its entrance, framed by a trellis, provides to the phantasm.
Ms. Bernstein mentioned, “Our mom was sort of an excellent, spontaneous decorator.” “Wherever we lived was elegant however comfy.”
He remembered dinners together with his father or mom on the high of the desk. Beneath the carpet was a plug for the doorbell to name for assist, Ms. Bernstein mentioned, “and my dad and mom would begin disappearing.” “He would go decrease and decrease in his chair as his foot groped for the buzzer.”
The Steinway Child Grand in the lounge was a present to Mr. Bernstein from childhood piano instructor Helen Coates, who later turned his secretary. It was Ms. Coates who made the successful bid in 1949 when it was auctioned off to boost cash for the library in Lenox, Mass., and Mr. Bernstein commissioned a portray, supposedly Salome dancing the seven veils. , to assist the trigger.
“Helen acquired it in order that nobody may see it the remainder of the time,” Ms. Bernstein mentioned, pointing to her father’s noble work hanging in a nook away from the piano.
“My father,” she added unnecessarily, “was not a blind genius.”
Childhood reminiscences of Ms. Bernstein and her siblings at Fairfield Home – household swims; His father takes salt to the vegetable backyard within the morning to correctly season his chosen breakfast; Elegant luncheon of tomatoes full of home made mayonnaise on the terrace – stuffed with latest reminiscences. And the following technology, the youngsters of Bernstein’s kids, now have their very own historical past right here and, in fact, their very own reminiscences.
“That,” Ms. Bernstein mentioned, “is the fantastic thing about having a house that stays within the household.”
“If some wallpaper is coming unglued, if some garments are fading, if some drawer fronts are hanging by a thread and the cupboards are stuffed with tangled detritus—properly, that is a part of the household’s DNA.” Is a part of.
“We do not make things better,” admitted Ms. Bernstein. “There’s a totally different sort of funk on this home now. It is sort of cowardly. However we’re additionally slightly funky.”
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