Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Friend Anne

Amne Wiggins Brown 

Yes, the greens are no more, but the faux cranberry branches, gilded pine cones, and running reindeer still grace the mantel, along with framed photos of Anne Wiggins Brown.

We had become friends, Anne and I, after we talked for hours about her studies at Juilliard in the 1930's. She lived in Oslo, Norway, but visited Gotham several times after we met, each time coming to the apartment and making me sing for her. It did not surprise then, when a Fulbright application appeared in my mailbox. I knew right away who had sent it, but also knew I was not the person to facilitate the translation of her autobiography into English, much as I treasured our conversations about singing and many other things. 

Anne was one of two persons I knew who spoke with a beautifully rounded "ah" vowel (the other person was Kitty Carlisle Hart), the kind of which can only heard in B&W movies from the 1940's. She was as beautiful and cultured as the sound of her voice, possessing a refinement of manners that is rare today.