Friday, June 29, 2007

I Feel Bad About Not Being Nora

I just finished reading Nora Ephron's "I Feel Bad About My Neck." It's a mixed feeling reading a bestseller by a girl who lived down the hall in your freshman dorm (although you get used to it if you went to Wellesley). The feeling reminds me of a poem by Billy Collins that begins, "I wonder how you are going to feel/ when you find out/ that I wrote this instead of you."

The "Neck" book is quite funny. Nora shares about needing her hair dyed and having red age spots on her chest and the difficulties keeping her purse organized, plus the "sadness of being over sixty... Death is a sniper." She manages to sound friendly even while displaying her commendable accomplishments in journalism and movies. Her essay on parenthood is classic. ("First do your homework; then we'll talk about the tiara.") She makes it look so easy that I kick myself.

I'm so lucky I don't need my hair dyed and my neck looks good and my purse is organized. Of course I do have the age spots but never invest false hope in face cream. And I've only been divorced once. But.. well, I feel bad that I'm not Nora Ephron.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Well Done, Suffragette

The Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe wants my papers. This confirms my belief that the women's movement was something good I did in my life--back in the 70s.

My collection includes:

"No More Fun and Games" pamphlets, angry stuff about patriarchy, early second-wave.

A lobbying booklet I assembled in 1971, which includes a bill to allow women to drink in bars.

A few copies of the Eastern Mass. NOW newsletter from 1971, which I wrote, typed, and mimeographed.

A T-shirt from the Campaign for the Massachusetts Equal Rights Amendment (passed in 1976--so we have equal rights here despite not in nation). Front says, "Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin." Back: "Vote Yes on #1." I was the state-wide Press Coordinator.

A handwritten draft of a speech I gave somewhere explaining what NOW was (on the back of Hammock Master stationery-- Denny's store).

A few photocopied newsletters from the Evangelical Women's Caucus, around 1985, created on a DECMate One (born to edit newsletters I guess). The curator, Kathy Jacob, told me the Schlesinger is "aggressively" looking to build up their collection of women's spirituality, "for research."

As for old books such as "Sisterhood is Powerful," the library can sell them at their annual book sale. Kathy said, "The young women love that second wave stuff."

She also invited me in for a tour and for lunch. Why does this make me so sad? Is it because I'm history?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Evening of the Funeral

My old aunt died and I flew to St. Louis to attend the funeral. My old uncle is left a widower but he should be OK because he loves women and the retirement community is full of them. The evening of the funeral, that is a few hours from lowering my Aunt Ginny's remains into the ground, I had dinner with my uncle, and an old lady was sitting with him, too.

She was going, "OOOH, what material is that jacket made of?" and pawing him up and down.

The next thing she said was,"My husband left me for the President of Bergdorf Goodman, Dawn Mello. We were both virgins when we married so I guess he wanted to look around."

Then she grabbed my uncle's hand and held on for a long time while he rolled his eyes and blushed.

After a while a little group was gathered around our table telling jokes. The chief joke-teller was a man named Sam, who announced he is still practicing law at age 96. Sam pulled up his walker and sat down (he has a walker that turns into a stool). He told a joke about a man who went to heaven and St. Peter asked him to spell "Love." He got in by spelling it and a few days later St. Peter asked him to fill in at the pearly gates. Next thing you know the man's wife appears, having died suddenly. The man said, "To get in here you just have to spell Czechoslovakia!"

Much laughter ensued, and my uncle told me that Sam's wife had died the day before my Aunt Ginny, i.e., a week earlier.

I guess I'll understand when I'm older (I'm only 65 and my husband died 2 1/2 years ago).

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pickled Beets

This morning I made my mother's recipe for pickled beets.

1) When you eat all the pickles in a jar, save the juice.

2) Buy canned beets (I prefer the little round ones).

3) Remove jar of pickle juice from the fridge.

4) Open the can of beets.

5) Using a spoon, transfer the beets from the can into the pickle juice.

6) Put the jar of beets in the juice back in the fridge and let marinate until ready to serve.

5) (If desired) Pour the beet juice into a glass and drink it.
This is especially good for you if you have red hair.

6) Re-cycle the empty beet can.