"DO not join encounter groups. If you enjoy being made to feel inadequate, call your mother!"
I found this in a quote file attributed to one Liz Smith. I can't believe I wrote that. Perhaps whoever did, will communicate and take credit. I adored my mother.
My mother used to say if we did good in life there'd "be a lot of stars in your crown in heaven." We three children were convinced since she died at 95 that she was shining bright in heaven. My mother was a country girl born in Mississippi to a circuit horse-riding doctor father and a teacher for a mother. Dr. McCall died when she was 13 and he left a drawer full of medical bills -- $150,000 unpaid to him.
Elizabeth McCall was a good Southern Baptist Christian. She always did the right thing and expected us to. I am still trying to be more like her. My father always said, "After I met your mother I never looked at another woman again!" So, I guess they were ideal.
I wrote her some kind of letter or note every single day after I left Texas. I still miss my mother, although I am now almost her age when she died suddenly, watching "As the World Turns" and playing solitaire in her chair. My brother assured me when he called, "It's OK, she had just had her hair done and she looks beautiful."
The T.J. Martell Foundation is made up of ladies who were all gorgeous at lunch in their hats. (This was at the Riverpark on the East River. The honorees were Marcie Allen of Mac Presents where she is large as a music industry VIP, JoAnn Camuti of American Airlines, Lori Stokes of WABC-TV Eyewitness News and Dr. Margaret I. Cuomo, who has written "A World Without Cancer." (Her famous parents, Matilde and Mario Cuomo, once residents of the governor's mansion in Albany, N.Y., made it very special indeed and the onetime governor of New York told me a story about his 12 granddaughters and his one grandson.) Also with us was the CEO of Martell, Laura Heatherly, of Nashville, Dallas and points elsewhere where big beautiful ladies in hats abound. (Best teeth I've ever seen!). Grammy nominee Elle Varner entertained.
Everybody saluted the excellent Dr. James Holland who shapes great research for this important organization. But my own speech was mostly about another Dr. Jimmie Holland (his wife) and a famous psychiatrist in her own right.
It isn't unusual in Texas, where she hails from, for girls to be given boy's names. Dr. Jimmie, research notwithstanding, is the best chicken-fried steak maker in the entire world! Maybe I brought down the tone of the T.J. Martell Foundation, but we all had a very good time!
OH, YES, Jenna Wolfe was an exuberant emcee in the same way she scores mornings on the "Today" show. She worked against holding her stomach in, as she says she does all the time professionally on NBC, because she is expecting a baby girl in a few months. I've seldom seen a better, wittier emcee in such a "serious" fundraiser. Jenna speaks French, Spanish and Creole. She developed her savoir faire from covering sports before the "Today" show found her. I wish I could recruit her to enliven some of my charities.
THE COMEBACK girls! You haters or dislikers of Anne Hathaway and Gwyneth Paltrow might have to rethink. Both of these actresses have paid the price in public "dissing" for their having won the Academy Award, but I thought Anne was the most fascinating, most interesting looking of all the women we saw photos of at the Metropolitan Museum's Anna Wintour fashion bash of the year! Her new cropped blond locks were an antidote to all that has been said about her. (And she remains one of the best actresses I've seen in a lifetime of movies. Both in "The Devil Wears Prada" and Jenny Lumet's "Rachel Getting Married.")
As for Gwyneth -- she just goes gravely on, ignoring her critics and now she is part and parcel of a large comeback team with Robert Downey Jr. in "Iron Man 3." Association with this success will go a long way toward the public's forgiving her for People magazine naming her the most beautiful woman in the world.
Still, neither of these women made the "fashion" impact Sarah Jessica Parker did that night. Sarah was more for just plain show and I can't believe anybody would seriously wear such a get-up twice. But as the brilliant Anna Wintour has said in the past about the ultra fashion of Vogue, "These clothes are not for people to buy. They are aspirational!"
Here's the New York Times yesterday under the headline "Rap, Both Good and Bad for Business." They examine the current fad, or whatever it is. "Three times in recent weeks large companies have learned ... the hard way, severing ties with rappers they had previously happily paid to endorse their products: Reebok dropped Rick Ross over objectionable lyrics, and PepsiCo's Mountain Dew did the same to Lil Wayne... This is a neon-bright sign of corporate retrenchment in the face of protest, bad press and flashes of moral rectitude."
But the real sum up to this is the Times statement: "These reactions are a signal of how expendable hip-hop culture -- and, by extension, black culture and youth culture -- is to mainstream, predominantly white-owned corporations." Reporter Jon Caramanica goes on to examine the hypocrisy and usefulness of these attitudes. (May 8 The Arts edition of the Times.)
Maybe it is just the out-size publicity granted success stories like Beyonce and Jay-Z and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who are choice morsels for the tabloids and the Internet gossip press to seize on. They are the new nouveau riche and they more than act like it!
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)