Wednesday, March 3, 2021

                             

                              Dear Pat,                                                       March 3, 2021

I just finished your magnificent book 21 ALDGATE and I feel the need to tell you that it’s one of those rare books that leave me feeling sad when it’s finished!  It’s like I’m leaving my friends!  Your descriptions of each character made each one so clear in my mind.  When I would read about Henry in his stall at the market, I pictured Stewart Haylock at the Red Barn!
The one question that still troubles me is that I wonder how people were able to rebuild their damaged homes.  Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover war damages.
I’ve heard so much about the war from my father’s point of view, and, while our country certainly suffered losses, this made me so much more aware of how much more horrific it was for those living in the battleground.
Thank God that our own version of Hitler didn’t get re-elected, no matter what lies he professes.  Everyone should read about history and vow never to let it be repeated.
Thanks for your wonderful novel,
Kathy Reilly

Tutored in Painting by French Artist, PAUL MAZE, WINSTON CHURCHILL'S "TOWER OF THE KOUTOUBIA MOSQUE" sold at Christie's for UK Pounds 11.2

 

Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque

Tutored by French Artist, PAUL MAZE Winston Churchill's painting of Marrakech—given to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and sold by Angelina Jolie—sells for record £8.2m
Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque was one of three works by the former British prime minister sold at Christie's tonight for a total of £11.2m—to the same buyer
ANNA BRADY
1st March 2021 21:01 GMT The Art Newspaper





Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque by Winston Churchill, sold for £8.2m with fees Courtesy of Christie's
The former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was a keen amateur painter, tutored by PAUL MAZE. Churchill’s landscapes frequently come up at auction, but his works do not sell for the sort of sums that might have persuaded him to give up the day job. That is, until now, when
Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque (1943)—the only painting done by Churchill during the Second World War and which he gave to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943 —sold for a record £7m (£8.2m with fees) at Christie's Modern British art evening sale.
Adding further American gloss to the provenance, it was being sold by what Christie's coyly referred to as "The Jolie Family Collection", aka the actress Angelina Jolie.

Churchill painted the oil on canvas in Marrakech following the Casablanca Conference in January 1943—he had invited Roosevelt to go with him to Marrakech the day after the conference ended, insisting he must see the sun set over Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains before returning to the US. Churchill then painted this view the day after and gave it to Roosevelt as a memento—a gesture as political as it was personal. The work has stayed in the US ever since and was given to Jolie by her ex-partner, Brad Pitt.

The previous record for a work by Churchill stood at £1.7m (including fees), set by The goldfish pool at Chartwell at Sotheby's sale of the collection of Churchill's daughter, Mary Soames, in London in 2014—a record that was broken twice tonight.

This evening, Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque sold to a bidder on the phone with Christie's Surrealism specialist Olivier Camu, who was spending big on Churchill—auctioneer Jussi Pylkk√§nen referred to the bidder as being from Belgium (Camu is also Belgian-born). The same client bought all three Churchill paintings in tonight's sale, all for well above their estimates. The other two works were Scene at Marrakech (around 1935), which sold for £1.5m (£1.8m with fees, three times its £300,000 to £500,000 estimate)—underbid by an online client in Texas—and a 1927 view of St Paul's Churchyard, which went for £880,000 (£1m with fees) above a £200,000 to £300,000 estimate—also underbid by the Texan.

In total, the Churchill-mad bidder spent £11.2m (including fees) tonight on works by the prime minister-cum-painter. Unusually, none of the works in the sale was guaranteed.

WINSTON CHURCHILL WAS TUTORED BY FRENCH ARTIST, PAUL MAZE. CHURCHILL'S PAINTING sells for record £8.2m
Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque was one of three works by the former British prime minister sold at Christie's tonight for a total of £11.2m—to the same buyer




Sunday, January 24, 2021

THE SPOILS OF WAR

 A teapot, a milk jug, a hot water carafe, and a sugar bowl.  What can this possibly have anything to do with 21 Aldgate?  My daughter had attended a British teapot exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, she called me to share her enthusiasm. She found it fascinating and so did I. In fact, it brought back memories of the teapot set I had inherited. I hadn't looked at it for years but recalled instantly the manner in which my mother had acquired it. 

At the height of the London blitz by Germany's Luftwaffe, Heals, a famous London Furniture Store was hit by an oil bomb and incendiary bomb. On the very next morning, Clara, of 21 Aldgate, reading about the raid and the damage caused to that establishment made a quick decision.  Without a moment's hesitation, she got dressed, left a note for her husband who was in the garden digging for victory, and walked a mile to the tube station to board a train to Goodge Street Station.  Coming out into the open from the underground she saw what was left of Heals. It was surrounded by Heal's guards and firemen gushing water on smoldering embers. She also saw it appeared to be open and she wasn't the only one sorting through what was left. Knowing exactly what she was looking for she ran in, found it, shoved all four items in a damp cardboard box, paid a shaken employee, and left. 

Clara arrived home many hours later, having been informed all trains had stopped and only buses were running, though none directly to her destination. Once home, she did not receive a hero's welcome. Her frantic husband asked her if she'd taken leave of her senses, while her daughter, who'd spent the night in a shelter with a friend, couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. After all, she'd never seen such a shiny, lovely tea service, while Clara, her mother, though somewhat disheveled, didn't seem any the worse for wear.

The ironic end to this tale is when I looked at the bottom of the teapot I found it was made in Bavaria - Germany - during the Bauhaus period.

The London blitz last eight long months, from September 1940 to May 1941

Patricia Friedberg

Monday, December 28, 2020

WHAT IF?

A few nights ago, I watched the original version of, It's a Wonderful Life, a movie I'd seen countless times and admired. The dialogue, the direction, and the performances of those wonderful unsurpassed Hollywood actors never fail to engross me. Clarence, an angel from heaven, is sent down to convince George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, that his life is worth living. George, who is on the verge of committing suicide, asks, 'why me.? Clarence answers to show you what it would be like if you hadn't been born

Shortly after the movie ended, I turned off the television and went to bed but not to sleep. The movie had awakened the 21 Aldgate story, which was never far from the surface of my mind. I asked myself the question Clarence asked George Bailey. What if I hadn't been born?  Clara, on whom the story of  21 ALDGATE is based often mused about her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren who would not have existed had she lost her life during the bombings in London during the war and in my mind, similarly my offspring.

Neither would there be a 21 Aldgate in any of the versions and different formats I've attempted from its inception. Each one finished, re-edited, and returned to publishers. I waited for positive results. They never came. Oh yes, it still had possibilities but needed a lot of work. It began as a musical, for which I composed the music and helped write the dialogue. Unfortunately, the producers presented it at the wrong time - a show called Blitz had literally just bombed in London's West End, and no one wanted to take a chance on another World War II content production. 

Never being one to give up, my agent suggested I write it as a play; which attracted much interest but no takers. For a while, it lay dormant in my computer documents. Occasionally, I'd play the musical CD, but mostly I concentrated on writing another book, a memoir Letters from Wankie. Then, one day, while looking through boxes of earlier writings, I came across one-labeled 21 Aldgate - pages of it with suggestions from editors all of which I had tried to no avail.  I called my agent.  She, a forthright no-nonsense woman, with no holes barred, stated, "forgot about the musical, dump the play, and write it as a novel". And so I did.  And the rest we know, except now 21Aldgate has taken on yet another life.  It has the interest of a director and the expertise of a competent LA  producer, and once Covid19 leaves us, it will have added another dimension, a TV series.

It's not a wonderful life, the one we are living in now.  It is a sad challenging one, but then so it was in the 1930's- 40's era of 21 Aldgate. With the help of Clarence, George Bailey came through the challenges that were set before him. I believe, there's a Clara watching over us who will help 21 Aldgate do so, too.

Paticia Friedberg


Sunday, December 6, 2020

 

FROM THE AUTHOR - DECEMBER 2020

It has been close to ten years since 21 Aldgate was published.  I've given book talks in Europe, Africa, and America; on ships, in cafes, in private homes and pubs. And because I no longer communicate with the readers of my book personally I'll use our blog to tell you how I'm coping with the Covid epidemic and the ridiculous political situation we find ourselves in here in America. I have dual citizenship - born a Brit, hence the story told in 21, and a resident in the USA, .- which brings me to what I am witnessing now.

Covid has isolated us - we are informed by our television broadcasters depending on the channels we watch. The party in power won't give an inch.  The opposition remains resolute. Education is interrupted. Social gatherings where opinions could be given, limited to just a few and they mostly agree with each other. The internet has taken over.  Tweets are the new information deliverers. Our Ma and Pa shops are closing. We are cut off from our families and cannot safely travel.  A curse has been put upon us and the world and we're only just beginning to work out how to deal with it. And worse of all science is ridiculed and magical thinking has taken its place.

History should have taught us we are heading for yet another disaster.  We have re-entered the era of the thirties.  We have half the population indoctrinated and the other half trying to bring some normality back into our lives.  You only have to watch documentaries of how the Nazis came into power to realize the similarities we're experiencing now.  It's the same - find someone, something, anything to blame and keep repeating the same lies and you have all the converts you need.  Then send money to the loudest voices, pass disinformation onto those who have swallowed the Kool-Aid and make sure your children and grandchildren get the message. And so it grows and becomes a movement which has every possibility in time of overthrowing democracy and the promise of the very reason America came about. If this doesn't sound like the period leading up to the Second World War then we are deafened by the rhetoric and blinded by the images set before us.

I haven't opened 21 Aldgate for many years, but I'm thinking of reading it one more time - why? Because it will remind me of my youth and what it led to in the 1940s, of my life as it was then, and I need a refresher course.  Perhaps you do, too.

PATRICIA FRIEDBERG






Friday, September 11, 2020

9/11/2019


21 Aldgate begins with the main character Clara watching on TV, from her home in London, the 9 /11 attack on New York.  It is 2001.  Clara cannot believe what she is seeing - neither could anyone; it was real, it wasn't a Hollywood movie, as Clara had first thought, it was, in fact, a terrorist attack, deliberately planned and carried out. 

Though dreadful and heart wrenching, first responders, fireman, police, leapt to action bringing out the very best in New Yorkers and in people from all over the country who came to help; all breathing in the fetid air, all risking their lives to rescue those trapped, injured and unable to move. Volunteers took on whatever was needed of them, risking their own lives to locate first the wounded and then the dead, We were united in our effort to comfort those who lost love ones, united throughout the country and the world against terrorists.  We were brought to our senses in one terrible moment. America had never before been attacked on its own soil, wars had been fought in foreign lands. This was a first terrorist attack and sadly, proved not to be the last. 

Today19 years later, I am here in Florida and this morning turned on TV to watch the observance of that dark day taking place at site of The World Trade Center in New York. We don't need another 9/11 to unite us.  What we do need is leadership to help us relieve the stress caused by the pandemic attacking us. We need to feel safe - we need to follow the scientists' recommendations, to mask and social distance, to protect our children, to protect our environment, to come together by not allowing evil to replace decency, to call out racists and white supremacists, demand elected politicians to obey the oaths they made when they took office.

 I wrote 21 Aldgate because I have lived in history.  Clara had survived the 1917 flu pandemic, two world wars, the Korean War, The Vietnam War, and  lived to see the devastation of the 9/11 attack.  I saw in Clara a determination to help make this world a better place.  She did it, not unlike a first responder, not simply as an onlooker, but by becoming involved.  She wasn't a heroine, just a woman of outstanding character, and one worth writing about. 

I wrote 21 Aldgate because I wanted to try to instill in readers and in my children and grandchildren, how imperative it is to be involved.  I wrote 21 Aldgate because I found in Clara a character whose life was worth more than those who spout intentions - she carried out hers and touched many lives, including mine and my family.


Tuesday, September 8, 2020


AUTHOR, PATRICIA FRIEDBERG ... Reacts to Demeaning comments made by Donald Trump

 I couldn’t hold back the tears this morning when Trump’s opinion of the military was discussed on television. It touched me deeply that he could stoop so low as to say what he said and again it brought back childhood memories of American and Canadian soldiers in London during WW2. So caring, so giving. Chewing gum and chocolates. Sharing bird seed in Trafalgar Square helping me feed the pigeons. Treating us like their own children they missed back home.

And years later visiting the cemeteries in France. Crosses and Stars of David by the thousands. Men who gave their lives so the world would be free of Nazi tyranny. That is why school children in the U.K are taken to these cemeteries by their teachers. They’re not only taught about war they see the results.

To hear the leader of the free world call these brave men losers and suckers for joining the armed forces is beyond belief, beyond anything anyone should think let alone say out loud.

                                                        Trafalgar Square, London 1942

Saturday, August 1, 2020

August 1st, 2020   Comment by Author of "21 ALDGATE"  and Memoir 

"Letters From Wankie" 

Patricia Friedberg 

I have lived through and in wars. I have survived tropical disease outbreaks in Southern Africa. I have been in 
unprotected riots while teaching in Africa. I have four children born in four different countries, I became a citizen 
of the United States with the hope of never having to relocate again. With all I have experienced Trump has made 
me question the Constitution of these United States. I knew Hitler was evil. I recognised Mugabe was deplorable. 
I thought the Klu Klux should never be allowed to exist. And yet, I cannot fathom how this experiment of democracy 
has fallen so far from its original intention to allow a lying, money grabbing, pretender to continue flouting his 
uncontrollable, egotistical, stupidity upon a nation in the flux of a pandemic without one Republican standing up 
shouting from the roof tops, ENOUGH. If this is the best Western Civilisation has to offer I am beginning to question 
why we escaped here.  Yet, I am not completely without hope. I will vote. My family will vote. And, whoever has 
read this far into my rant, they must Vote.  It is the only answer to rid the country of a man not fit to be anything 
other than a demon sent to remind all what America once was - a shining light of hope to all those who came to 
become citizens of a once great and admired land.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Patricia Friedberg's Response to JULY 13th Paul Krugman/s NY TIMES Article "America Drank Away Its Children's Freedom"


Patricia
Sarasota Florida
July 14
I am a Brit living in Florida, a child in London during WW2. We could not go out to play, we had to carry gas masks, our schools closed then opened with shelters dug beneath them, food rationed, sweets (candy) 2 oz a week - bath no more than 5" of water. not to mention the constant air raids. Our war lasted 6 years and here in the States, we are complaining about four months of safety rules, wearing masks. and following scientific advice. This once was the land of the free and the brave; we have become the land of the stupid and the selfish.

Published 7/14/2020 Ny Times Opinion (Letters to the Editor)

Sunday, July 12, 2020

July 2020 - A Word from the Author



American states are far from Aldgate in a myriad of ways. The state I'm beginning to like the least is Florida, where I live. Today reaching more than fifteen thousand new cases of the CoVid-19 virus - is giving us the unwanted title of the hardest-hit state in the nation. I find it difficult to concentrate. I'm weary of staying home. I'd love to be in London - but we aren't welcome there or to any other country in Europe and we won't be until we find a way to keep ourselves and those around us safe.  Americans have this thing about freedom and the Constitution. Freedom to not wear a mask. Freedom to congregate in crowded bars and beaches. Freedom to say, ' I don't want to' therefore 'I don't have to'. I have this thing about being sensible and not tempting fate. I cannot change their attitudes - a Brit at heart, I know I have to 'grin and bear it', or 'keep calm and carry on.'  We need to be patient - we're in the fifth month of this pandemic and I fear we're nowhere near the end of it.
21 Aldgate, the miniseries, is in a holding pattern as are all similar projects until we are free of this plague which threatens all our lives.

Patricia Friedberg.