Doris Duke’s Estate Is Open: It’s a Jersey Thing

May 4th, 2012

The TImes has a review of the newly-opened gardens on the former home of Doris Duke–the once richest girl in the world–in Central New Jersey. I’ve been there several times to visit the gardens, but more interestingly, I was there before Duke passed away in 1993. My father worked with Duke.

I remember visiting her mansion around November 1992. I remember that because we were talking about the Presidential election. I think we went out to a Japanese Hibachi restaurant to celebrate my sister’s birthday (November 4, so the timing makes sense). Some other kid at the table said that in a mock election in his school, Bush won over Clinton because the students had learned the letter B, before the letter C. In hindsight, sounds like a proud-New-Jersey-apologist-liberal in the making! But seemed like a good explanation at the time. Funny the things you remember.

Little 8-year-old Josh wasn’t impressed with her house. I remember telling my Mom that it was big, but not that big. I remember inside there was a huge Toucan–like on the box of Fruit Loops, I thought. There was this huge fountain inside, and the water streamed through the middle of the entry-way. I don’t think I ever saw her.