One of my favorite things to do on a Friday morning is to read the Wall Street Journal and, more specifically, the “Mansion” section, the last section on Fridays. Sometimes I see fabulous homes that I recognize from all the places Bob and I have lived since we got married. And every once in a while, I will see a name I recognize or even better, of someone that I know. That happened several weeks ago when I saw my friend’s name in the Mansion section. Dorcas Briscoe, who is with Premier-Sotheby’s International Realty, made news with a mega transaction in Bay Colony, which was worthy of national attention. And just last week, another article jumped out at me, because it brought back memories of many years ago.
Bob and I had been married for a very short time when he (we) were asked by his company to move from Minneapolis to Santa Barbara, California—one of the easiest and fastest decisions ever made. We had not been there all that long when Bob’s father and his wife came to visit us. Bob’s dad, Frank Harden, was a very famous radio entertainer in Washington, D.C. He and Jackson Weaver hosted “The Harden & Weaver Show” on WMAL for more than 40 years. As a result, they became friends with many show business folks. My father-in-law mentioned that while they were in Southern California, his good friend, Burl Ives (you know, of TV’s classics Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman, and “Jimmy Crack Corn” fame), had asked them to stop by his place in Montecito. If you do not know, Montecito is a charming community nestled just south of Santa Barbara and it has some of the most spectacular homes on the West Coast. Bob and I were asked if we wanted to go—another easy and quick decision. Sadly, Bob had to work … but I was free and ready to visit Burl Ives.
Wow. I will never, ever forget driving through those gates and seeing the most spectacular estate I had ever seen. Ives and his wife could not have been nicer. They had a wonderful lunch prepared, then gave us a tour around the estate, which was formerly owned by the DuPont family. The whole house was done in various shades of soft blue in nearly every room. We even saw his recording studio where he did so much of his work. And looking to the west across the swimming pool was a glorious view of the Pacific Ocean. After the tour, Ives took us to Santa Barbara Harbor to show us his brand new sailing yacht; the interior was done in blue as well. The entire spectacular day made a mark in my memory.
Well, last Friday in the Mansion Section was an article about Burl Ives’ estate coming on the market for $18.8 million, and it just jumped out at me. I immediately went on the realtor’s website to see if the mansion I remembered so well had changed. As I looked at the photos, 36 years just disappeared. The beautiful property was just as I remembered, the same blues were still there. What a magical memory revisited—a past paradise from the current one.