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“The Astor Orphan”

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Alexandra Aldrich is a descendant of America’s first multi-millionaire, John Jacob Astor.

Alexandra Aldrich is the author of a book called “Astor Orphan” and writes about generations later how keeping up appearances meant more than food. Aldrich grew up in a 43 room crumbling mansion called Rokeby in the Hudson Valley. Behind the walls, a bohemian lifestyle filled with poverty, alcoholism and delusion.

Aldrich told me:

“The history was overwhelming, the family’s main mission to me seemed to me to have been to preserve the history because if they lost it in some way it would impinge on their identities as desendants of the Astors, I was part of the poorer branch of the family, we indeed were very poor when I was a child so I was stuck between being this child of an astrocratic family on the one hand with very high standards, highly cultured everybody around me was highly educated on the other hand we hardly had food in the house, we had no heat, I wore thrift shop clothing so I was very confused about who I was, I had memories of clear memories of moments in my childhood but I could not see a big picture, I could not put it together and when I wrote the story, I was forced to find the narrative there to find what my childhood was about, what my life was growing up here, it took a really long time to figure that out, you decide to write this book why? In 2005 I was going thru a divorce and for personal reasons I needed to return to Rokeby indeffinitely, I was a single mother and I avoided returning to Rokeby, this was something I did not want to do, because you felt trapped there as a kid, that’s right and I was afriad it would absorb me the way it had absorbed the adults in my life growing up, it does it’s all consuming.”

If you would like to get a hold of Aldrich you can do so HERE>> alexandramizrahi9@gmail.com