As you know, it’s been an emotional year here at National Review. Last night was a heavy, bittersweet one: I was up at 73 East 73rd Street, the Buckley maisonette, a memorial now on the real-estate market. The house that was once so full of life and character will soon be changing hands, an opportunity for someone with some significant financial assets to own a piece of American history on the right-hand side of Park Avenue (well, it is if you’re going downtown!).
Bill and Pat entertained Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh, Richard Nixon, Tom Wolfe (who was there last night), Ed Koch (ditto), Kenneth J. Lane (the other KJL), Roger Moore, Charlton Heston, Dick Cheney, and so very many more there.
It’s an odd and unfamiliar reality to walk in there now and not see WFB. Rich pointed out to me earlier this week that there is a new paint job in the entryway. But I have absolutely no recollection of the previous color. Truth be told, I always walked in mildly nervous. A large part of the anxiety was wanting to remember everything WFB said. (Notetaking is always looked down on at intimate dinner parties for some reason.) As humble and kind as Bill was (I’m still not used to that tense), I never got over the thrill of spending time with such a historic force. That said, most of the nervousness always vanished when warmly greeted by Bill — something for which he had an exceptional knack. Still, “the red room,” is the only paint job I ever managed to notice.
Now excuse me while I go figure out how many freelance book reviews I’d have to write to have the 24.5 million necessary to consider …. Once done, I’ll have you all over to the On the Right WFB Museum on 73 73rd Street just as soon as the ink is dry!