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Everyone who knew Ed Stone in that era agrees that he would have drawn far more in commissions if he had drawn more sober breath.
"Money really had no meaning for Ed," says Orlean. "Talent was his greatest motivating force. He said himself that he was first married to architecture, and that was very true."In 1949 she moved out.
taking with her their two sons, Edward Jr., now studying landscape architecture at Harvard's School of Architecture, and Robert Vandiver. now a student at Yale.
"The Tidy Siren." Main driving force behind Edward D. Stone's new era of success, he firmly avows, is his second marriage to a fiery, possessive and vivacious Latin beauty Stone calls "the tidy siren." It was on a plane to Paris that Stone first met Maria Elena Torch, of Cleveland, a flashing brunette of mixed Italian and Spanish parentage who had come to New York, was then working as foreign editor on the short-lived quarterly, Fashion & Travel.
As Maria, now 31, remembers the meeting, "I noticed him because there was some woman seeing him off. and a man seeing me off, and we were both kissing goodbye. When the plane took off, I took a long look at this man in a baggy tweed suit, unshaven, a mess. He looked like some professor. But when we started to talk, I realized he was the most intelligent man I had ever met. By the time we were over London and the dawn was coming up, he proposed to me. It was romantic and wonderful." Squiring Maria around Paris morning, noon and evening, Stone kept on proposing. On the tenth day she accepted, only to put in eleven months until Stone's divorce from Orlean came through. Since then Maria has traveled with Stone around the world, twice to South America, 33 times across the U.S. and 19 times across the Atlantic, laying out his clothes, pinning the right tie to the right suit, re placing his lost belts. "He's a genius." she says. "He'd go to his office in his bedroom slippers if someone didn't watch out for him. But he'll be the greatest architect in the world. If he lives to be the age of Frank Lloyd Wright, he'll be in a class with Sir Christopher Wren."
If he reaches that class, Ed Stone will have an explanation. "I was like Rip Van Winkle, asleep in the hills, until I came down and Maria brought me back to life," he exclaims. "I think the work I have done in the last five years-which I consider to be the most significant architecture I have done-can be directly attributed to my happy marriage. I was on a creative plateau for several years preceding my marriage." One mark of Stone's affection: in 1954 he threw away the martini pitcher that had dogged him since college days, has sat firmly on the wagon ever since.