On a searingly bright but breezy mid-spring day, Melville (Mickey) Straus stood on his patio wearing a purple sweater over a plaid shirt and cords with a conspiratorial twinkle in his eye. “My wife will be angry that I suggested we sit out here in the cold, but I just love being outside,” he said, grinning as he offered a warming cup of coffee. He seemed to appreciate that the panoramic view from the patio, overlooking his pool, Hook Pond, and the late afternoon golfers at the Maidstone Club, was worth a little chill in the air.
Arthur Pinajian’s life and legacy combine to form one of those stories that should be made into a book or movie, and it was. Yet, it wasn’t about him specifically. Kurt Vonnegut’s novel “Bluebeard: The Autobiography of Rabo Karabekian” is about an eccentric Armenian-American painter who knew all the big boys of Abstract Expressionism but chose to paint his own art in obscurity and died unknown. This is also Pinajian’s story in brief, and the similarities in “Bluebeard” continue, but you get the idea.