March 11, 2017

Now Sumner…the chauffeur…was an intriguing..friend in my Life….

He lived above the garage on the Devineshare property…which during the freezing winters with the wind scuttling the North Shore.,… one could only get to through the tunnel from the  Baroness’ marbled ballroom…..

The house was Eliot Devineshare’s wedding gift to the Baroness….he had all of the walls imported from a French Chateau…overlooking the Loire River Valley..

the gilt…the crystal chandeliers…a fireplace in Every bedroom…the hand carved balustrade created  by convicts…that descended in a  romantic swirly  dreamy way  from the Romantic  art strewn floor above…  ..

some would say it was TOO much…

but for Eliot there was nothing that he would not do for the Baroness….after her confinement in Mauthausen Concentration Camp (near Linz Austria)…where she had been sent in a urine riddled..claustrophobic cattle car with many of her fellow Jews

She suffered the humiliating torture of watching her Father, Dr Levy…being loaded like a pack rat to carry rocks he had hewn out of the rock quarry and  forced to carry on his back up 613 steps (the number of seeds in a pomegranate…the number of Jewish Commandments)…..

When he got to the next to top step…Ernst Kaltenbrunner (who was known for throwing up Jewish babies for  rifle practice….and was the number 2 in the Gestapo after Himmler)…would kick him down all of those steps……to start again…..

It would go on and on until dear Dr Levy died…..

Baroness Levy..well her first name was Meira……named herself Mary…when she passed through Ellis Island….on her way to  her Aunt Simmy Joselle in New York City…to live at  Beekman Place…

(but all of this is  of course  an earlier story)….

Sumner was a chauffeur out of economic necessity…as his father lost his banks…his properties (including the one Jesse James use to stay in)….during the crash of 1929…when they lost all of the upstairs and  downstairs maids

…well actually they lost EVERYTHING…..

and were taken in by their pastor at St Clements Church where they once  had been financially able to give 3 stained glass windows and the new organ….


Sumner was alway upbeat…problems seemed to roll off him like the proverbial duck’s back….so nothing really fazed him….



the “Kismet” moment that had happened years ….before he was born…..  was when His father had met Meira’s father ..

that one moment occurred during the “Great War”… WWI…….

when the Germans and the British  had called a truce on Christmas in 1914…climbed out of their trenches ….to celebrate the day together .

…exchanging cigarettes…plum puddings…singing together….

Only…. to go back to fight each other the next day…

unbeknownst to anyone then….


it was the LAST  “Chivalry” that the world was Ever to know

(to be continued….forgive the continuity as it will all  continually change…as I see this story taking 5 years at the least)

3 Responses to “Chivalry”

  1. Sumner Matteson said

    I love this, Rob: so powerful in so few words. Is this about Sumner I? I like that “Sumner was always upbeat.” Gives me a wonderful feeling in light of my near-death experience last Tuesday night. Thank you!


    Sumner IV

  2. susi said

    It’s fun to read these familiar names of people and places in new roles… I see you are quite busy in your “retirement!”

  3. adelaidedonnelley said

    LOVE this!!! Feels both very familiar and very mysterious! So glad you’re back to family fiction!! Such wonderful touches xxd

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