Glamorous As Marilyn

One night last week at David Wolkowsky's residence, for his 97th birthday, with his little sis the divine concert pianist Beth Greenberg, at 95, playing her own version of Happy Birthday. Guests were instructed not to bring gifts, naturally no one complied and David's glorious home was more full than usual with orchids. I too disobeyed the request. I have a trove of Nancy Berry Photography note cards, each a serious piece of gorgeous artwork.

With great care I selected two fabulous Nancy Berry note cards for the gift. David, with his impeccable eye, saw the talent immediately. He loved them. Please look up her work at

A year or so ago a Key West gentleman with a keen eye and a penchant for real estate came upon a listing. A large Victorian mansion, once the domicile of Joe Russell, former owner of Sloppy Joe's, the ultimate Hemingway haunt, was on offer.

He visited the structure on the border of civilization, that being 920 Eisenhower Drive, for those not in the know. Where everyone else saw a tragic collapse he saw potential. The compound comprises a spacious two-story house with graceful balconies and views. In the garden are two or three cottages peeking from thickets of palm trees, a paisley shaped swimming pool with lush greenery everywhere.

For the man with the incredible eye this was a treasure and he snapped it. Along with his acquisition he discovered he was in possession of a squatter, a young female who had constructed a secret biosphere in an overgrown corner. She was dispatched.

Other concerns pricked up that would have frightened off anyone but this visionary. The obstacles were sizeable but he kept his famous cool and with the determination all winners share he transformed that sad drab ossification to its full former glory, and then some. No need to say his name, you can probably guess.

Today she is glamorous as Marilyn and soon, very soon, she will be presented and looking for a suitor. She'd make an excellent setting for a party.