In between our marathon laps around the Park Avenue Armory during last night’s Art Dealers Association of America Art Show to benefit the Henry Street Settlement, we found ourselves in a fascinating conversation with Hungarian-American real estate agent Terez Rowley about some bloody European history.
After telling her that we also had some Romanian-Hungarian bloodline, Ms. Rowley proceeded to tell us the history of the Stalin regime, as she lived through it. Separated by her four siblings after both her parents were jailed for being political dissidents, Ms. Rowley went to live with an aunt and uncle until the 1960s, when they walked across the border (we’re assuming to Austria, but that country does have a lot of borders) undercover.
“It was a terrifying ordeal,” Ms. Rowley said. “We were lucky…some of the children who didn’t have other family went to orphanages, and they’d be picked out to work in the camps.” Ms. Rowley didn’t see her parents for five and a half years.
Suddenly, Ms. Rowley switched tunes, introducing us to her daughter, the newly-engaged Caroline Rowley, whose gallery C24 is having a premiere on Friday night. “You have to come,” the older Ms. Rowley said. Then she told her daughter to show us the ring: a gorgeous sapphire inlaid with diamonds.
“Her fiance asked my husband (Peter Rowley) to lunch the night he was going to propose,” Ms. Rowley told us. “And said he wanted my husband’s blessing on marrying his daughter. He was going to cook her dinner and propose.
“And my husband…he just leaned back and said very seriously, ‘What do you plan on cooking?’”
Whatever he ended up making certainly did the trick, though the older Mrs. Rowley told us in mock-shock that Caroline’s fiance had hid the wedding ring in their apartment for three months.
“No mom, it was more like one,” Ms. Rowley said, rolling her eyes and smiling.
“Okay, maybe one,” Mrs. Rowley conceded. “But that’s still a long time!”
Then she showed us a card of a bridal boutique that we just had to go (oh, we wish), and reminded us to come say hello on Friday. Caroline Rowley’s wedding, however, won’t be as easy to get to. It’s being held this May in London.
(Photo by Patrick McMullan)
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