Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Glass Houses - Would You Be Friends With Ruth Madoff?

I'm working on a few decor pieces for you, but in the meantime I wanted to ask you something.
In some ways we all live in the proverbial glass house. None of us are without sin, faults, or problems, or skeletons in the family closet, or shady friends or even shady spouses.

Glass Houses by Alejandro Bahamon
Get this lovely book HERE


There is a compelling little story about Ruth Madoff in The New York Times HERE.
Because of her husband she is now a social outcast. Not even a country florist will take her business, and her hairdresser of ten years won't let her into his shop. Not to mention how friends and relatives are treating her.

Ruth Madoff
"The Loneliest Woman In New York"


Have you ever been on the "outs" because of something you yourself did, or something someone you love did? Or maybe because someone just doesn't like the look of your face, or the cut of your jib?
Would you talk to Ruth Madoff? Invite her to lunch? If you're a florist, do her flowers? If you're a hair dresser would you touch up her Soft Baby Blond color?
I would.

26 comments:

Pigtown-Design said...

That's a really hard question. I have no love for the Madoff's right now because a foundation we were thinking about asking for money was completely wiped out by having their endowment with Madoff. The foundation has done a lot of great work in the justice arena, and now they're basically out of existance.

Linda Merrill said...

Well, there are glass houses and there are glass houses. She is living in a guilded one, the victims of the ponzi scheme have lost their homes, in some cases. The fact is, as the article states: "Mrs. Madoff had been a director at her husband’s firm and had stood inseparably beside him through 49 years of marriage. "
If she didn't know what was going on, then she had no business being a director and drawing a salary based on that position. Either way, her entire lifestyle was paid for with ill-gotten gains off the backs of hardworking individuals. If she didn't know what was going on, I would submit it was because she chose not to look. Either way, while she shouldn't be stoned, not having high priced foils, or designer floral arrangements, or the prime seat at a fine restaurant is hardly hard time. Perhaps they will find her guilty and she'll know what hard time really is. Meanwhile, given the severity of the crimes of Madoff Investments (of which she was a director), I hold no sympathy.

home before dark said...

My sympathy goes to the victims. If I were a hair dresser, I'd do THEIR hair for free.

vicki archer said...

I don't honestly know is the answer.
I can only think that whether she is snubbed or accepted in NY means little compared to living with her thoughts day in day out. Whether she knew of her husband's financial treachery or not - she will never be free of the consequences and therein lies her punishment. xv

La Maison Fou said...

That is a interesting question, which brings me to ask; let the one without sin cast the first stone......
I think Vicki is onto something as it is something she will never escape and that is a type of imprisonment in itself.
Leslie

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Though not knowing all the details and the ins and outs of this case, I see no reason why not. Must the husband's sins be visited upon the wife?

mimi said...

Hmm, I go with no room at the inn. Or is it do unto others as they do unto you?

Perhaps if she donated herself to some type of restitution to society, people might treat her more kindly. As it is...

VictoriaArt said...

New York society has cast their vote and I can imagine it hurts to be suddenly ignored. But matter of fact is she has been working with her husband an could not be absolutely innocent...maybe not knowingly... but somehow I doubt it. Not getting the royal treatment is not surprising, but not having friends who could stick to her, despite the facts, that is sad indeed. If I had a best friend in deep ... I would at least keep talking!

She now lives like millions of others...

anon said...

The boards of other large institutions (Lehman Bros, Bear Sterns, WaMu, Enron) have not been stoned, and the activities that those companies engaged in were just as fraudulent and/or despicable. And there are, regretfully, an uncanny number of wives who despite living happily for decades with their husbands, are nevertheless shocked when death brings to the surface debt, second families, etc.

I wonder how Edith Wharton would treat this.

count it all joy said...

We can only hope that getting her hair done and flowers arranged are the least of her concerns at present. I'm sure she is wrestling with greater demons than regrowth. Meredith xo.

Dumbwit Tellher ♥ said...

Hmmmm...terribly good question; I myself don't know enough details to make a true informed comment but cannot resist. What I have read she seems to have know a good deal. I am not a cruel or unkind person, but I would find it difficult to associate with her. Too many people have been severely ruined & whipped out. It's tragic on all counts.My heart breaks for them.

Ideezine said...

What has happened is tragic. The word here is HAS (ALREADY DONE). So we cannot change it.

Everyday is a new day and we start our morning by asking God for forgiveness, and help us, and guide us through.

She is still a person, she still hurts, she still cries, she still feels lonely. She is at ash level and it's time to start a new.

My answer is if all I could give her were my listening skills and nothing else...my time. I would.

Open your heart and your mind this world is full of illusions. The main achievement of our lives is: can we, do we, will we love one another and forgive them time after time.

We come into this world alone and we will go out alone. We will have to answer for our sins in due time.


Bette

Anonymous said...

I just read the TImes piece and I think that the 3 women mentioned in the article should be on the phone pronto reaching out to Mrs. Madoff. They are the only people other than her family and Rabbi who can help and maybe even owe her something at this time.

THE WOMEN:
Lisa Leeson (the ex-wife of the guy who brought down Barings Bank) Lori Milken (spouse of the once-disgraced junk-bond king) Denise Rich (the former wife of the fugitive financier Marc Rich)

Linda/"Mom" said...

* Valorie~ What "he" (and she, I believe) did is unconscionable.

* I can't even BEGIN to IMAGINE doing that to one's fellow man/woman (Heck! Even FAMILY got _____d). It's BEYOND belief. It's MORE than disgusting & scary... it's unforgivable...

* Having said that, "I" am happy NOT to be the one there when "decision time" comes, on the ULTIMATE judgement day.

* We only "know what we know", and/but from what I've been able to discern, I would cross the street to avoid seeing EITHER ONE OF THOSE TWO.

* I believe that in this short time on earth, one must "Do what's right, even when nobody's looking"...

Best,
Linda in AZ *

home before dark said...

This apparently has gotten into my brain because I dreamed about it last night. The evocative question was Anon's remark about what would Edith Wharton do with this character. We already know from House of Mirth that Mrs. Madoff is just beginning to feel the society's doors slammed in her face the way Lily Barth experienced. For revelation of character and behaviors, I think Tom Wolfe (Bonfire of the Vanities) could be illuminating. But I wonder how a southern female writer would write about this. What would Eudora Welty do?

Anonymous said...

My family's best friends have been wiped out by the Madoff scandal. What they have done to the Jewish people, and to think of Eli Weissel. Oh come on! You know she knew what her disgusting, criminal of a husband was doing. They all just hoped to never get caught. You treat people the way you want to be treated. You work hard, and you be honest and fair. If you do that, you deserve the beauty of life. She should be lucky enough to go to Duane Reade and pick up a bottle of Clairol. Wait.. were they wiped out too?

Princess Carroll Ayo Durodola said...

Oh my. Good question. I'm all for forgiveness, for I have found, what choice do I have. Hold on to what is too heavy for me anyway or forgive and release myself to go on. I vote - forgive, release, let go and LIVE.

I love your blog. Please check mine out.
Blessings,
Princess Ayo

Jonathan Kucera said...

Hell i would...for that matter id probley try sparking up a relationship...maybe i could smooze her into telling me where the rest of that pile of cash is lol.

Carol said...

I'd most definitely cut her hair or do her floral arrangements - and charge her a million dollars for each.

Tickled Pink And Green said...

I think she knew and I think the sons knew so I'm having a hard time with sympathy for her. Now if she donated a kidney to one of the people they wiped out....I could rethink the whole thing...

Renee Finberg said...

tough question.
i feel badly for her that she made some lousy choices, one being
'bernie madoff'.
you know the saying ...sleep with dogs...you are bound to get fleas.

bernie madoff destroyed , i mean destroyed the lives of people that i know. they have nothing...and they are too old to recover.
madoff and his wife were at their family weddings, bar-mitzvahs etc.
the level of betrayal by the madoff's is without conscience on any level.
so...the answer to the your question is, i would be polite if she asked me a question. but my answer would be brief.

teaorwine said...

I imagine the victims in this story are buying cut flowers at the grocery store (if they can afford flowers for the home at all), and coloring their hair in their bathroom sink with over the counter supplies. Seems only fair that Ms. Madoff use these methods as well.

Renee said...

I would too, but cash upfront.

Renee xoxo

Anonymous said...

I feel...I don't know...sorry for her, on some level. Did she know ~exactly~ what her husband was doing? I don't think so. Did she have a ~small~ idea things were not what they seemed? Yes, probably.
Life is soo short, would I talk to her? Yes, I would.
Do I feel for the folks who lost everything to her husbands scheme? Yes.

Forgiveness...
"A part of me wants to cling to old resentments, but I know the more I forgive, the better my life works"

Carey said...

Yes, I would. If she was someone I already had a relationship with, we would just "start where we are," talk it through, and see where it goes. I'm not as well informed as I should be about this particular situation, but I'm thinking of how I would react if it were one of the people I have in my life right now. I can't comment beyond that, because I just don't know how it really was in her life and in her relationships. There will certainly be someone who can reach out to her. Even in the worst situations, there is always an appropriate person or persons who can extend the olive branch. We all need mercy. I certainly do. Oh yes, I most certainly do.

s. said...

I find what she and her husband did to be utterly disgusting. But I would make an effort to be civil if we ever found ourselves seated next to each other. If she had been my friend for many years, I can't imagine that I'd still feel the same love towards her as I once did, but I would try to behave decently: ensure she was talking to a counsellor, try to get her involved in some activities that might keep her spirits AND ALSO help others (volunteering at a soup kitchen, for example), etc.