Island Living

Twice in 1977 I visited Roswell Miller on his “Migdale Estate” in Millbrook, New York.  Roswell was previously married to philanthropist Andrew Carnegie’s daughter, Margaret, and Migdale, from what I was told is a 1,000 acre miniaturization of her 75,000 acre estate in Scotland.

Driving up to the main house is like approaching a small castle, with  a foyer approximately 40 feet tall!  After passing through a series of rooms we eventually found Roswell in his wheelchair in what I suppose would be the living room, but which for most of us would comprise an area the size of a entire house!  All around the room and lining other rooms as well are lighted cases holding various collections: silver, crystal, minerals.  I remember being overwhelmed by the beauty of it all and the sheer amount of items!  It was like going to a small but well-stocked private museum!

There have been times on my visits to Hawaiʻi when that experience has popped back into my mind at the oddest moments!  As I saw Hawaiians making do with whatever the island could offer them I had a feeling that living there might rather quickly turn one from being a mindless consumer into a recycler of things, since much of what’s required for living is limited on an island: fresh water, land, food.  I suspect… and hope to find out in 2019… that living on an island breeds a mindset of being more responsible for what one uses and fosters an orientation of respectful awareness.

The western, commercial mindset on most of the Mainland is use it, throw it away and buy more, which fosters an orientation of irresponsible wastefulness as well as thinking more about what I want and less about what the costs for wanting that will be to others.  In our land of Walmart abundance I suspect most of us give little thought to the fact that what I use/waste might deprive someone else of what they need!  On my visits to Hawaiʻi as I wandered in and out of tourist shops and Ala Moana Center, whenever something caught my eye I found a little voice in the back of my mind asking me, “Do I really need this?”  Or do I just want this?

Kahu Kimo


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5 Responses to Island Living

  1. Tyler Fischer says:

    Hi there! I grew up as a young boy at Migdale estate from about 1992-2000 and was wondering if you had any more memories from your visits there while Roswell Miller owned it!

    • Thanks for reading my blog and inquiring Tyler! I only visited him 2 or 3 times in 1978 as I was living nearby in the village of Millbrook. Frank Rotunno brought me there. I remember room after room being lined with fabulous cases of his collections. When I got to visit was soon after he had been rescued from the hospital by his lawyer, I think, after his then-wife and her daughter were slowly doing him in by tinkering with his medications, and busily selling off stuff while he was in the hospital. He was a man with a unique vision! Maybe some of that uniqueness rubbed off on YOU!
      Kahuna-pule Kimo

  2. I find myself being wasteful. It really comes from the way I was raised. I am forced to save everything when resources are limited, such as being in the field.

    • This is not surprising Seth since we live in a culture
      which urges us to use, dispose, and buy more.
      This fosters a mindless way of living.
      So who would have ever thought that the Army
      is trying to make you more mindful?!
      Kahu Kimo

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