The Bronxville Public Library was the site of a fascinating afternoon sponsored by the Conservancy and devoted to Eliot Vestner’s historical memoir published earlier in the year. In his introductory remarks, Conservancy member Robert Riggs described Vestner’s memoir as one of the most enlightening books he has ever read. “It’s remarkable as to the depth and importance of research he did. It’s a family story in the context of what life was like in the area during the last half of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth.”
Vestner explained how he came about writing his memoir, which is about his childhood and the history of his family in Bronxville; his mother’s letters and diaries were integral to his research and an advanced course in memoir writing gave him the tools to write the book. He traced the history of his forebears who arrived in the area in the 1800s when the village was still known as Underhill’s Crossing; his maternal grandparents moved to Bronxville in 1934; he was born in 1935 at Lawrence Hospital. Vestner went on to describe what Bronxville was like in World War II when he was a child (“in the main we lived normal lives in the most abnormal of times”). He allowed that in the early 1950s houses in Bronxville grew more expensive and women began wearing furs to church!