Happily Ever After?


Photo by AForestFrolic

In today’s In Print, I beg your indulgence as I sink into my shameless roots as a creative writer. Truly, this story intrigues me.

Huguette M. Clark died today. On my growing list of personal fascinations, she’s been at the top for at least a decade. (Right now, she is somewhere between Lady Gaga’s shoes and Duchess Catherine’s recent nuptials.)

Consider this opening sentence to a column on msnbc.com today:

NEW YORK — Huguette M. Clark, the mysterious copper heiress who became the subject of public fascination and police investigation after a century of life
as a recluse, died Tuesday morning at age 104, registered under a fake name at a hospital in New York City.

According to the New York Post:

Her 42-room Fifth Avenue apartment is unoccupied, and her lavish mansions in California and New Canaan, Conn., have been vacant for more than 50 years, costing her millions of dollars in maintenance and taxes.

Herein is the irony: One of the richest women in the country developed such a distrust of people, (including her family members) because she was convinced they wanted her money. So she spent decades hiding in a hospital, not talking to anyone except through a closed door. And whenever she discussed issues of importance, she did so in French so that no one would understand her.

In short, to keep others from enjoying her wealth, she quit enjoying it herself. So . . . what was the point?

Farewell, Huguette Clark. You’ve been fascinating.

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