Sunday, August 2, 2020
Talking with my friend Naomi Caryl, part 1
Old Lady from the Hills, part 1
and Part 2 here. She wrote her blog Here in the Hills from 2005 to 2015. It can still be read on the Internet. She must have written 1000 posts explaining her interesting life and career in show business. She often included pictures of flowers from succulents in her garden, close-up of flowers and flower arrangements created by her favorite florist. (Click on collage to enlarge.)
https://hirshhorn.si.edu/visit/ .) At his death in 1981 he willed another 6000 works of art and a $5 million endowment to the museum. His art collection included many worldwide masters, such as Marc Chagall, Virginia O'Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Edward Hopper, Auguste Rodin, Alberto Giacometti, Salvador Dali, Emily Carr and too many to list. Below are some of the paintings in the collection.
Top left: Woman with Hat, Pablo Picasso, Spanish 1851-1973, below is Landscape, Man Ray, American 1890-1976, center is The Houses of Parliament, Winslow Homer, American 1836-1910, Below is Borghese Gardens, John Singer Sargent, American 1856-1925, the Soft Grey, Alcalde Hills by Georgia O'Keeffe, American 1887-1986 then a book on the Hirshhorn Museum.
Naomi grew in Great Neck on the Long Shore of Long Island, 17 miles from New York City. Several years ago my late husband and I visited Long Island for a vacation and traveled to Great Neck. We were invited into Naomi's former home. I wrote a post about it - Read it here. Below is a photo I took of the Long Island Sound at the time.
Naomi's parents built a farm in 1938 in Angels, Pennsylvania, a beautiful area of the Pocono Mountains. They called it Huckleberry Hill Farm because the surrounding hills were covered with wild huckleberries. But Naomi's family was not welcome because they were Jewish. All the inns and hotels in the area were "restricted" meaning no Jews (of course it also meant no Black people.) Naomi even remembers one sign that said "No Dogs or Jews" with second billing to the Jews. Some were more polite with "Gentiles only" signs. You don't forget things like that. However, all summer long Naomi and her siblings sold the huckleberries they collected on the hills to the restricted hotels there, including a large resort hotel called Skytop Lodge, then they gave the proceeds to Jewish charities... Below are vintage postcards of Skytop Lodge, established in 1928 (now a member of Historic Hotels of America) and the way it looks now.
They also sold their wild huckleberries to another "restricted" resort called The Buck Hill Inn and Conference Center. I checked the history of the inn - because why not. It was built in 1901 by a group of Quakers and became a 500 rooms and 1000 acre retreat in the Pocono Mountains. It had an amphitheater, 27-hole golf course, indoor pool, swimming, tennis, fishing, horseback riding in a 300,000 square feet facility. In winter it offered skiing, sledding, toboggans, sled dog derbies and lovely Christmas decorations. From the 1920s to 1940s it was the grandest hotel in the Poconos and was named one of the best convention centers in the country. It was popular with honeymooners but also the mob - 73 people died there. By 1970 it had lost its appeal and it was closed. It sat abandoned until 2017, looking quite decayed and scary. Hunting ghost groups have photos claiming proof of paranormal activity. In 2017 the Buck Hill Inn was demolished and 132 acre of land and some remaining fireplaces were signed over to the Buck Hill Conservation Foundation. Below are vintage postcards and photos of the inn in the 1920-30s. The bottom two postcards show the inn in the early 1960s.
Below are photos of the Buck Hill Inn as it stood before its demolition and after. Dommage (a pity.) (Photos courtesy the Buck Hill Conservation Foundation.)
After talking about the Huckleberry Farm with Naomi I checked and their farm is still there, now and upscale Bed and Breakfast ostentatiously named The French Manor, advertising "Experience Sublime Tranquility in a country inn like any other, secluded and private, separate from the populace." Rooms starts at $245 per person. Their site gives wrong historical information, I guess for snob appeal, telling that Joseph Hirshhorn "brought some 165 German and Italian craftsmen and artisans to 500 acres on Huckleberry Mountain to construct his summer retreat." Not true since the family had been proud to employ local workmen only because of the Depression, no foreign craftsmen. This was no summer retreat either said Naomi but "an actual working farm with cows and horses and chickens, where we grew our own corn as well as other vegetables, too. We had an actual "swimming hole" there which we all loved!" But to top it off the French Manor site had written this: "One of Joseph Hirshhorn's daughters, Naomi Hirshhorn Campbell kindly posted some great "then and now" photos of what her family lovingly called the "Huckleberry Hill Farm," now known as The French Manor." Naomi Campbell? really? Well, Naomi Campbell is also an actress, a British actress born in 1970. She is a glamorous lady and a talented businesswoman but the only thing they have in common is their first name. I asked our Naomi if this second Naomi was any relation? She laughed and said "no, no relation!"
This is getting long so I'll finish in my next post. In the meantime if you wish to write a comment for Naomi in my comment area, I'll make sure that she gets it. More to come....