I waited in the kitchen for lovely Amy while her weeping mother continued to do what was necessary. She terminated the cleaning and gardening contracts, paid off her cook and handyman, kissed her maid farewell, arranged to have the Bentley picked up and then called her real estate agent to come inspect and then list the house.
I had put the Manhattan apartment on the market, and we had been discussing, between other duties, how to deal with the house which cost about $3000 a month to maintain if the taxes were included.
Amy's father and his beautiful bookkeeper had stripped the family's accounts bare and fled the country, taking the brokerage assets with them, more than ten million. In one day the woman and her daughter had fallen out of the upper class and were barely clinging to the middle. There would be no more private schools, no more designer clothes, and no more recreational drugs.
Amy's mother, at my suggestion, would probably become a thousand-a-night "escort" in D.C. and Baltimore; she had no other talent, but in bed she was wonderful. I had enjoyed her many times as the family's lawyer.
In came Amy, carefully dressed, her hair perfect of course, and her maturing body ripening rapidly. "Hi, Uncle Jack," she greeted me, and I waved her to a chair and quickly told her the basic facts. Her credit card was void and the only car her family owned was her little red Dodge Dart. She could no longer buy new clothes every month and there would be no more skiing at Vale or trips to the Bahamas.
Selling the NY real estate would put perhaps a hundred thousand in the bank but the income would be negligible with the interest rate at almost zero, not enough to support the house or the living style, perhaps a thousand a month total after all debts and expenses were paid.
'What can we do?" Amy asked tearfully.
"I suggest you move to the little house on the Bay. It can be heated for the winter, I think, and the taxes are very low."
"You mean sell this place, leave home?" she demanded.
"Yes, your father encumbered this house, a huge mortgage that you cannot pay."
"How cruel," she sobbed and as her mother came and sat beside her, patting her back, raking her lustrous hair. "I called my friend who stages parties and receptions; she will give me a job, ten dollars an hour." She shook her head, aware that it would not be enough.
"What can I do?" the girl asked, hugging her mother.
.... There is more of this story ...