In 1990 I traveled to the marble mountain quarries near Tuscany to approve the marbles that my architect Skidmore, Ownings and Merrill had selected for my $162 million One North Franklin project’s front lobby not knowing my life was changing.
This video takes me back. In the quarry nestled in the same marble laced mountains that Michelangelo would mine for the statue of David, the marble mavens let you see what the marble will look like after it’s polished. They are smart before to do this before the lengthy grinding process. What they do is spray the marble you are inspecting with a high powered water hose. The water over the marble closely simulates the final appearance.
Clever boys. Now the multimillion dollar pressure is on you if when the marble arrives in he states and you don’t like it. Something than happened with one of marbles. But my order was big enough that they Italians flew me back to Italy a second time to select another marble for my lobby. The architect was not available for the second trip and the full burden of choice fell on my shoulders. None of my partners shared in the second trip either. And this time I took my wife with me to see the Vatican on the trip. She was thrilled while I was appalled at the decadence. A few weeks earlier at out Lake Forest church of St. Mary nuns were begging for contributions to care for their old age home. Staring up into the vast cathedral as a cluster of red clad bishops shuffled past I could only think, “This is all so wrong.”
I experienced a break from the Catholic faith on this trip as I read Joseph Campbell’s book THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES and like the water on the marble I saw clearly that the Catholic faith is simply an amalgam, a collection, of all the proceeding faiths. One group of men using and abusing the stories of others to weave a reality of decadence and control.
Ironically, the book had been gifted to me by my very Catholic wife for the trip and it was this awakening that was huge factor that ended our marriage. She would eventually pay the Catholic church a $5,000 annulment fee to remarry for the first time in the church. Something that only confirmed my feelings as we had two teenage children that now became born outside of “holy” wedlock.
Talk about heavy falling blocks of reality, much like this marble in this cool video. Click the pic to watch NOWNESS.