Monday, July 19, 2010

A Tolstoy in My Town

I have yet to read War and Peace, someday...maybe. Anyway, this is an odd and unexpected story from the Washington Post...
As a vestige of Russian aristocracy and heir to a literary legacy, he is an unlikely resident of St. Mary's Court, a low-income assisted-living facility in Foggy Bottom. The 87-year-old with the wispy silver hair bounces about his humble efficiency, cluttered with bottles of antibiotics, stacks of medical records and old newspaper clippings.

Here, on the top floor of St. Mary's Court, lives Count Sergei Tolstoy, great-grandson of the "War and Peace" novelist Leo Tolstoy.

Not so long ago, he reveled in the luxuries his last name and aristocratic status afforded him. He dined with dignitaries in Washington's finest restaurants. His taste was so exquisite and his style so extravagant that a cigar company named a Cohiba for him. Now he says his only income is a $213 monthly check from Social Security. His monthly rent at St. Mary's Court, where he has resided for 19 years, is $64.

According to people who have known him for more than 30 years, Tolstoy's money is gone, vanished, lost at the betting windows of the Laurel, Bowie, Timonium and Pimlico racetracks he used to roam six days a week.

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