In the early 1960s, after a variety of summertimes leasing on Martha’s Vineyard, Jamie Bernstein’s household purchased a villa on a woody hill in West Redding, Conn. There, 9-year-old Jamie and her more youthful bro, Alexander, developed numerous video games of make-believe, chief amongst them a dream that they lived the very same sort of subtle, small-town presence as the characters on their preferred tv programs.
It was a testimony to the creative presents of kids whose real house was a duplex house throughout the street from Carnegie Hall, and whose daddy was the renowned, heat-seeking “West Side Story” author and New york city Philharmonic conductor Leonard Bernstein.
” As soon as we had this little home, we weren’t going to Martha’s Vineyard and we were much closer to Manhattan, which was most likely way easier for my moms and dads,” stated Ms. Bernstein, 70, the author of the 2018 narrative “Famous Daddy Lady” and the host of “The NY Phil Story: Made in New York City,” a brand-new podcast about the Philharmonic produced by the orchestra and the general public radio station WQXR. “It indicated that we might go there on the weekends throughout the routine part of the year.”
Then, when her sis Nina was born in 1962, “we were a household of 5,” Ms. Bernstein continued. “Plus the baby-sitter and the cook who often created us on the weekends. And all of a sudden your house appeared too little.”
A couple of months later on, her mom, Felicia Montealegre Bernstein, a star and artist, revealed that she had actually simply purchased a huge, brand-new nation location. “And I think I must have asked, ‘Well, just how much did it cost?'” Ms. Bernstein remembered. “And my mom stated, ‘Oh, I can’t speak about that. It was so costly I can’t even state it aloud.’ And my bro and I were stating, ‘Oh, begun, just how much was it? Just how much was it?’ We pestered her up until lastly she whispered, ’80.'”
Her kids gasped: “$ 80– it cost $80?”
Because very same whisper, Mrs. Bernstein remedied them: “$ 80,000.”
What in those days appeared a lordly amount purchased a previous horse farm with a swimming pool, a tennis court and sheds on 6 and a half acres in Fairfield, Conn. For many years, extra parcels of forest– practically 12 acres’ worth– were obtained to offer the household more personal privacy and more of an escape from metropolitan cares.
” It was wonderful,” Ms. Bernstein stated. “We invested lots of summertimes here, and practically every weekend throughout the remainder of the year. All of us liked it.”
Jamie Bernstein, 70
Profession: Author, filmmaker, podcast host
Taking the remedy: “We go to your house to be totally unwinded. It resembles the remedy to New york city life.”
After Mr. Bernstein’s death in 1990 (Mrs. Bernstein passed away in 1978), the 3 kids acquired the home. However it is Jamie who is most often in house– practically every weekend.
As when their moms and dads lived, the substance is an event area for birthdays and vacations, and for increasingly objected to rounds of Anagrams. Recently, it has actually likewise worked as a set for the upcoming movie “Genius,” a picture of the Bernsteins’ complex marital relationship directed by and starring Bradley Cooper. (Carey Mulligan plays Felicia.)
” He desired a credibility about how he was stimulating our father and his world,” Ms. Bernstein stated of Mr. Cooper. “He was extremely curious to come up here and go to, which’s when he chose he wished to return and shoot around your house. Bradley absolutely got why this location was so terrific and how it includes the household DNA.”
Certainly, your house, with its enthusiastically proportioned spaces, has actually hardly been changed because the days when it was occupied by the senior Bernsteins and their terrific and buddies– amongst them, Stephen Sondheim (who did not rather take it in stride when Jamie beat him at Anagrams), Jerome Robbins, Mike Nichols and Richard Avedon (who took the photo of Jamie that sits amongst a clutch of household pictures in the living-room).
” When we aged, we recognized, ‘Kid, we had a great deal of cool individuals at our home,'” Ms. Bernstein stated. “However when we were little bit, they were simply our moms and dads’ pals. To us, they were simply Steve and Jerry and Mike and Penis.”
It might have been Mr. Sondheim who purchased his “West Side Story” partner the abacus that rests on a rack in the dining-room– “I can’t ensure that holds true,” she stated– and it was Mr. Sondheim or perhaps Mr. Nichols who purchased the great telescope on the flooring close by.
” There was a while there when our moms and dads would have these Christmas celebrations for all their buddies,” Ms. Bernstein stated. “And there was a competitiveness about the present-giving that ended up being so overbearing that my mom stated, ‘We’re not having these celebrations any longer.'”
The furnishings– heavy on rattan, wicker and bamboo– conjures a summer season structure. So does the dining-room, which is anchored by a white-painted table and chairs, and filled with plants. Its entranceway, framed by a trellis, contributes to the impression.
” Our mom was a sort of fantastic, instinctive designer,” Ms. Bernstein stated. “Everyplace we lived was sophisticated however comfy.”
She remembered suppers with her daddy or mom at the head of the table. Under the carpet was a plug for a bell to summon the assistance, “and my moms and dads would begin vanishing,” Ms. Bernstein stated. “They would go lower and lower down in their chair, as their foot searched for the buzzer.”
The Steinway infant grand in the living-room was a present to Mr. Bernstein from a youth piano instructor, Helen Coates, who later on became his secretary. It was Ms. Coates who determinedly made the winning quote when, in 1949, there was an auction to raise cash for the library in Lenox, Mass., and Mr. Bernstein made a painting, apparently of Salome doing her Dance of the 7 Veils, to help the cause.
” Helen obtained it, so that for the rest of time no one would see it,” Ms. Bernstein stated, indicating her daddy’s well-meaning work awaiting a corner not far from the piano.
” My daddy,” she included, rather needlessly, “was not aesthetically skilled.”
The recollections that Ms. Bernstein and her brother or sisters have of their youth at the Fairfield home– household swims; their daddy bring a saltshaker to the veggie garden in the early morning to effectively season his selected breakfast; sophisticated lunches of packed tomatoes with homemade mayo on the balcony– have actually been overlaid by more current memories. And the next generation, the kids of the Bernstein kids, now have their own history here and, obviously, their own memories.
” That,” Ms. Bernstein stated, “is the charm of having a home that remains in the household.”
” If some wallpaper is coming unglued, if some materials are fading, if some drawer fronts are hanging by a thread and cabinets are packed with confusing fragments– well, it’s all part of the household DNA.
” We do not repair things,” Ms. Bernstein yielded. “There is an unique aspect of funk in this home now. It’s sort of cool. However we’re sort of cool, too.”
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