Summer has arrived and for the first time in many months, it has been amazing reconnecting in person with friends and family. My family is actually spread out around the world. I am the youngest of five and my parents took us all over when we were kids. Before I turned one, we moved to Belgium. We also lived in Germany and Brazil. I have two brothers who were born in Paris and my family lived in Italy before I was born. Currently, I have a sister in Japan and a sister in Paraguay. It usually is several years in between opportunities where the five siblings are all together. The last time was 4 years ago at my niece, Ellie’s wedding.
As soon as things began to calm and vaccinations increased, both of my sisters traveled to the U.S. We spent the month of June celebrating family and picking up right where we left off. We are very close even though there are many miles between us. My sister Rose mentioned to me that she would like to visit some of the New York sites from The Bones of Saint Pierre. I had always thought about doing this but wasn’t sure anyone would be interested. I told Rose that we can absolutely do it and I got to work. I set up the first Mason Wright Tour and it consisted of me, my wife Lori, my brother John, my sister Rose, my sister Carolyn, my niece Sarah and My brother-in-law Dale.
When writing The Bones, I was at The Metropolitan Museum of Art over and over again doing research; so, the opportunity to show people about the process was quite fun. I spotlighted several of the artworks and areas of the museum which Mason visits in The Bones. We looked like a real tour and several people were watching as we gathered around Andrea Solario’s painting Salome with the Head of John The Baptist, The Medieval Wing, and, of course, the pinnacle of the tour, Madame X. We spent roughly 3 hours in the museum and then moved outside to Central Park.
In Central Park we visited Cleopatra’s Needle, which was being renovated so we only saw it from a distance, Belvedere Castle, The Ramble, Bow Bridge and Bethesda Terrace. After Central Park it was time for food and drink. We found a spot outside and enjoyed pizza, meatballs, and a nice Chardonnay.
The final stop of the tour was 425 East 86th Street. This is the apartment where Mason lives in The Bones. It also happens to be the apartment building where my mother grew up. She passed away several years ago but I felt like she was smiling down proudly as her children gathered for photos outside.
It was a great day, fun for me to share the stories behind the story and spend it with family. I plan on doing it again with friends and maybe again with strangers. The first Mason Wright Tour was more than a trip through the pages of a book, it was a gathering of family who have supported me from day one and are now asking when we are doing the Paris part of the tour. That will require a bit more planning but I am up for it.