"What he brought was a Republican business sense, and I think Marylou appreciates that." His savvy negotiations over Mrs.
Whitney's Adirondacks holdings won him new respect both inside and outside the family.
"He could run the gamut from 'I'm going to punch you out' to 'I'm pleased to call you a friend' in the same conversation," said one man, who described negotiations punctuated with foot-stamping and screaming. "We worked together," she purrs, "and, yes, John did do the dirty work. "How many men in the short time we've been married have made million for their wives? "She says she has seven, but I've counted and there are eleven," says John.
Even so, he conceded that Hendrickson's terrifying tantrums probably earned his wife an additional million. The roster includes a house in Majorca, a sprawling farmhouse in Kentucky, and a new house in Longboat Key, Florida.
By 1996, the Whitneys had been paying taxes on the property for more than a century, and they were ready for some return.
Of course, selling it to the state would make everybody happy, if the right price could be arranged.
lthough Hendrickson is remembered in Alaska primarily for his preppy wardrobe, love of tennis, and ability to charm Ermalee Hickel (known as the Nancy Reagan of Juneau), he is also enormously ambitious.
John wants to find somebody to write a book or do a Biography segment on him, and for Marylou the sine qua non of the Adirondacks sale was that the state be willing to call its new acquisition the William C."Marylou's not used to old people," John explained.) Saratoga is Marylou's principal address and the place where she votes.When she's away, two of her five children -- Hobbs Hosford and Heather Mabee -- step in to take over her myriad social obligations. "He gets down on the floor and roughhouses with the boys," says Hobbs.He helped develop a plan for 40 exclusive shoreline estates on the western stretch of Whitney's 51,000-acre property.
Such a development would have been the end of the wilderness, and Hendrickson's unbridled enthusiasm for the project terrified environmental groups that opposed it. Hendrickson extolled private-property rights in language that would have gladdened the hearts of the robber barons who built the "great camps" of the Adirondacks."We want to see the world," says John, adding that Marylou had already "done" motherhood.