Meeting Alison Leslie Gold: Wealthy Manhattan Lady Seeks Young Boy


Hydra. Spring. Circa 1970.

I’d been on the island a day and wanted to stay forever.

No roads, no cars, revving engines, exhaust or pollution.

Donkeys set the pace here.

Washing machines, fridges, TVs, even dining tables - seemed no load was too heavy. All items collected off the day’s ferry from Athens, strapped onto tired, hollowed backs and delivered across the island.

The little town was built round a horseshoe of a harbour. Lovingly maintained blue and white caiques bobbed at anchor. A lazy, peacock blue sea lapped against the harbour wall. For an hour every afternoon, the island’s pelican stood sentinel on an ancient canon.

I was in a waterfront café. My funds were low and I was making my coffee last as long as I could. Behind and above me, the town’s houses clung to the rock. Every house a crisp icing sugar white, bright against the blue blanket of sky above.  Pastel-coloured doors and windows - lavender, lemon, and pistachio dotted the buildings with blushes of colour. To my young and impressionable eyes, the town felt like a living, breathing work of art.

A couple sat near me with their two children and we got talking. They were Danish and were staying on the island for a year, home-schooling the kids. Very alternative. I told them I was travelling and needed work in order to stay on the island.

They knew just the lady, they said. She was looking for a young man like me. She’d be joining them shortly and they suggested I sit with them, have a drink and meet her.

Alison arrived with Thor, her six-year old son. She ordered a Rusty Nail, a lethal cocktail of drambuie and whisky mixed – and Thor asked for an ice cream.

Alison and I talked for a few minutes. Where was I from, how long would I be on the island, how old was I? Simple stuff, but she must have liked the answers. She was looking for an au pair boy to look after Thor, would I be interested?

More tomorrow.