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My husband and I have an ongoing "discussion" regarding this economic crises we are in. He insists nothing will improve because we now live in a global economy and corporations have taken over. The jobs that have gone to China are never coming back. Period. My argument is that if enough people get pissed off, things can change. Well,it appears the people are pissed and have now started the Occupy movement which is growing and evolving and hopefully will actually morph into something positive and bring about the change we need. Getting the money out of politics. Which leads me to the following:

In October Danny and I took a wonderful vacation to the east coast.
I am a huge history buff and have always wanted to see Boston, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire. All of New England is amazingly beautiful. Of all the amazing places we visited Newport, Rhode Island stood out to me. Many have said that times we are living in today are comparable to the time of the Gilded Age ... when the robber barons ruled. The Vanderbilts, the Astors, the uber wealthy of the time. This is how they lived.

The Breakers, the Vanderbilt's summer "cottage" ...

Palaces so opulent and beautiful, dripping in gold and crystal, filled with artwork, sculptures, walls covered in silk with views of the coast so breathtaking it filled me with awe. THE WEALTH ... amazing. Every mansion we saw had spiral staircases hidden away within the bones of house that allowed the servants to move about without being seen. Laundry was done all day long, sheets were changed TWICE a day. They maintained huge staffs of 30 to 40 people. Maids, butlers, cooks, etc.

The ladies of the time bathed and changed constantly. There were morning outfits, luncheon outfits, riding outfits, afternoon outfits, evening outfits. It must have been exhausting being a lady of leisure. All I kept thinking to myself was that those women never walked around in a moo-moo with their junk hanging out. They were the Kardashians of their day. Showy, pretentious and desperately trying to outdo each other with their excess. People who never folded an article clothing or cleaned a toilet. The privilege they enjoyed is unimaginable. Can you imagine never folding a sweater? The marble tubs in their lavish bathrooms had to be filled and drained of hot water several times in order to warm the marble enough before someone's gilded ass could slide into the tub.

The staircase of Marble House. It is hard to appreciate the grandeur of these homes by looking at a photograph. At the top of this staircase on either side of the landing were two beautiful yet small living room/offices. The one of the left was that of Mr. Vanderbilt and the one on the right was that of Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt. It was a little jewel box of a room with a beautiful petite marble fireplace, a sofa in beautiful soft pinks of brocade and satin. There was a desk, gorgeous chandeliers and rich satin fabrics. This was where she would conduct the business of running her home and get away to read or be alone. What is shocking is that these homes were only used for approximately six weeks a year during the season when the super wealthy would gather to attend balls so glittering and over the top they were the talk of the day.

er spending the entire day touring three of these magnificent palaces I felt a little depressed. The pains of life come to all of us it's true; death, heartache and loss but the lives that these folks enjoyed were beyond fabulous. Cake AND frosting. No one calls you into their office and says we're sorry but we're eliminating your position ... Can you imagine what life would be like if your feelings of safety and security were never threatened? A life where no one ever says "NO" to you EVER?! All I could think was WOW ... WHAT A LIFE.

...and I hope that they are all now working for some corporation in
the bowels of hell ... for eternity. (But only the mean ones).


  1. Great post! Love the pictures--one can only imagine. I've been to Newort several times--it's a great place for a girls' trip!

  2. And the super wealthy (and getting wealthier) in the U.S. are still living like this and they don't want to give any of it up. Love, Evie

  3. This was a fab. post, Debbie. I think I told you that when we lived in Mass., Anita and I went several times to the RI mansions. I felt the same way: amazing and depressing. We are in a new guilded age in which a tiny percent of the wealthiest Americans own more than half the wealth.

    The thing that worries me about the occupy wall street mvment is that corporations can just wait them out. They don't have a decisive leader or platform. They're marching, good. But I'm not sure what this will change. In the 1960s there were many young people who protested against corporate America. Today many of those former protesters are voting conservative. And there's no threat to the power of money over politics as long as enough of electorate simply what what the rich have.

    Even occupy wall st. is troubling in that they are complaining that they are being left out of the American dream.



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