palatial residence of Horace S. Sears. His
home, the pride of the community, once did me a good turn when I was
attending Longwood Day School in Brookline and my classmates accused me
of living way off in the sticks.
My teacher came to the rescue, "Weston? — isn't that where
the Sears palace is?" he asked.
"Yes," I answered proudly.
"There's nothing sticks about that," he told the class. "You
ought to see it. Why, you walk down that great marble staircase feeling
like Napoleon," and he went on to describe the elegance
of the mansion all of which raised me a peg or two in my school-mates'
My teacher's glamorous description was no exaggeration. The ornate
structure was a turn-of-the-century architect's conception
of an Italian villa, along with the owner's desire for something stamped
with the badge of success. If not equal to the proverbial paradise of
glittering gold and alabaster, it certainly ran it a
It stood, surrounded by gardens, immaculately groomed, and pools
that reflected the great windows, some of them two stories high, and the
red tiles of the roof. A pair of stone lions guarded
the main entrance and once inside the door you found yourself
in the great front hall with its marble balustrades and pillars
capped with golden filigree. To the left was the dining room
with elaborately carved table and chairs; next to that the library,
lined to the ceiling with fine bindings, polished and dusted.
To your right was the drawing room with its walls of tooled
leather, and its gilded furniture — even a gold piano such as you might
see on the stage of a cheap vaudeville house. Passing