I met one of the most incredible women in the world this morning, who was sitting right next to me in my neighborhood nail salon. Her name is Edith Levin. She’s elegant as all get out, genteel, well spoken, open and friendly. She’ll be 98 in November and she was having her weekly manicure and pedicure.
I asked Edith if I could interview her for FOF, and she was happy to oblige. Her weekend companion, Emelina, said she’d tell Edith’s children to read the blog since Edith doesn’t have a computer. Edith’s son, 74, is in Palm Beach politics and was a commissioner under NY Mayor Guiliani during 911. She also has a daughter who is 70, six grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
Edith has been married three times. Her mind is sharp, her vision is “dimming,” and she hears when you speak up.
Geri: Where did you grow up?
Edith: Right here in Manhattan.
G: How has it changed?
E: It’s busier and more exiting.
G: Who was the most famous person you ever met?
E: I first went to Europe with my parents when I was seven and met Douglas Fairbanks in the hotel swimming pool.
G: Can you tell me something about your husbands?
E: My first husband was a builder. My second was an old friend who wanted me to move to his farm, but I wasn’t interested in that. The third husband was sick and died.
G: Why did you divorce your first husband?
E: To marry the second.
G: Why do you think you’ve lived this long?
E: I was a great swimmer. We had a house on Brant Lake (in the Adirondack Mountains in NY) and I’d swim across every morning and then lay in the sun. (Coincidentally, many of my kids’ friends went to Brant Lake Camp, which was founded by Edith’s uncle.)
G: Did you work?
E: I was supposed to go to college in the late twenties, but my father [an importer] lost everything when the stock market crashed. So I became a fashion sketch artist. I went to the fashion shows in Europe and would go to the ladies rooms to draw what I saw.
G: Anything later on?
E: I painted in oils, flowers and vases. I attended the Art Students League and had private lessons in the studio I shared with my aunt.
G: Did you sell your paintings?
E: Oh, yes.
G: I love the way you look. Where do you shop?
E: Chico’s. I like their fabrics.
G: You look great.
E: I had a better body when I was younger. Big boobs and no behind.
G: Are you doing anything this weekend?
E: No, I used to go to the Hamptons, but I don’t do that anymore. Now I stay in New York.
G: Are any of your old friends still around?
E: My last boyfriend died when he was 99, but he really was 100.