My Nanny Weeks 11:18 a.m. 2003-09-14
Current Listening: Pagan Babies by Elmore Leonard
Not much to say today! I am enjoying my book,Diary of an American Au Pair by Marjorie Leet Ford. I am too lazy to write much, so here is a quote from an amateur reviewer: "This is Leet Fordís first novel, although she is an established journalist in America. She once spent a year au pairing in England, and this is based on a lot of her experiences during that time. Itís an incredible book, with a fluid style and lively, real characters, and I would recommend it to anyone whether you be a former au pair or host mother, or simply someone who loves a good book."
I may give it to my sister for Christmas! She had a great British au pair who is still in the United States, and who probably visits my sister's family more than we do. I won't say more than that! But these two "nanny" books - this one and The Nanny Diaries - certainly paint a grimmer picture of the nanny/au pair experience than I have seen with my sister. My mother, however, says that my sister's former nanny - knows of similar nanny situations.
I once contemplated becoming an au pair - at that time after living in France when I really wanted to go back. I don't think I would be the right stuff. I definitely would not know my "place" and would have a hard time being told what to do all the time. And, lastly, although I work with youngsters, and love my niece and nephews, I do not fancy spending all of my time with them. That could be why I don't have children.
I did do something close to this as a teen, of course. I babysat. I wasn't the best babysitter in the world, preferring to let the TV entertain my charges if possible. I also was prone to losing my temper. I was severely tried by the children of family friends. One family even wanted to take me to Cancun with them, but their children were true terrors.
I did take another family up on their offer to accompany them on a trip. It was toward the end of my senior year, and I think I missed a little school. I went to take care of the son the daughter of the owner of Forest Oil. Now, those people had some money. I stayed in their "guesthouse" in Corpus Christi, Texas - filled with trophies of animals shot in Africa, and later flew with them on the family jet to southern New York state to the family compound for the big board meeting.
All I can say about that was that I was awed by the opulence. Each family member had their own separate house, with servants cleaning daily, and stocked refrigerators. Then, there was the "big house" - a lodge with rabbit carvings everywhere. The rabbit was sort of the family mascot. The grounds were gorgeous, and I spent a lot of time taking their son - I think he was 3 or 4 - around on bicycle. I am sure that there were horses, but I didn't ride at the time.
There was a lot of food on hand at the big house. The thing I remembered the most was a row of cookie jars filled with home-made cookies of all types. And people were very friendly, and didn't really treat me like a "servant" - I was more the daughter of a family friend, babysitting the son.
The ironic thing was that the parents had decided that they didn't want to give their son any sugar. So I ate all of this stuff, and he ate fruit. Both of his parents also ate cookies and things, so I figured that, once that really registered with the boy - or once he met other kids - the jig would be up!
OH MY GOD!!! I just did a Google search on Glendorn (name of the estate up in Pennsylvania - it's near the New York border...), and it is now an exclusive resort!!! I wondered what they did when the oil business went ker-plunk! Here are some quotes from Uncharted Outposts:
Glendorn was originally built as a summer vacation retreat for the Dorn Family of Bradford. The "Big House" was built during the year of the "great camps", 1929. Clayton Glenville Dorn and his son, Forest, developed a process in 1916 that extracted oil from the fields long abandoned by the then major oil companies.
And about the rabbits:
Game animals became numerous and the Glendorn logo, a rabbit, made the nickname for Glendorn by the family as "The Patch." Today, the rabbit is in our logo and two rabbits are featured prominently on the fireplace of the Big House.
Go and look at the pictures!
Here are more pictures, and a package deal from ClayCrenshaw.com. I don't thing I can afford it at the moment...
Finally, there is a webpage for Glendorn, A Lodge in the Country. There are great pictures of the whole estate. It's kind of sad, in a way. Having ridden the tail end of the oil boom with my father as a landman, there seemed to be such possibilities for wealth. I don't know if our family has ever really recovered. You see, you get a taste of wealth, and it's hard to get the taste out of your mouth... or you long for it again.
© Tiedyefor 2003