Grey Gardens Looks So Amazing
Almost every family has skeletons in the closet and relatives they wish would recede into the woodwork. Such was true of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her sister Lee Radziwill. As girls, their Aunt Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (Big Edie) and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale (Little Edie), their cousin, were equally part of the upper crust and Jackie and her sister enjoyed summer visits to their beautiful home and estate Grey Gardens in the wealthy Georgica Pond neighborhood of East Hampton. In those days, life was good. But when Big Edie’s husband left her in 1931 for another woman, their lives were to undergo a desperate change.
Without the funds or ability to keep up the huge property, Grey Gardens began to fall into ruin. Eventually the two women became very reclusive, barely hanging on to survival. Exposed by the Enquirer and a cover story in New York Magazine about the filth, fleas, cats and raccoons sharing the home with the women, the health department intervened and gave the women the ultimatum of cleaning up or getting out. Unable to afford repairs and cleanup, it was at this point that Jackie O and Lee came to their aid. They went in together and had repairs made to the house, the overgrown vegetation cut back, and hundreds of bags of trash removed. The house passed health department inspection and the mother and daughter were allowed to stay – still reclusive, and still in a somewhat altered relationship with reality.