Monday, August 13, 2012

Generational Contrasts

Helen Gurley Brown, whose acute public-mindedness led her to become the authoress of Sex and the Single Girl and the editor who turned Cosmopolitan from a sophisticated general-interest magazine to a sex-obsessed supermarket checkout fixture, has died.

At the age of 90.

Her death is sad as all deaths are sad. For SWNID her age is arresting.

That's one year younger than SWNID's mother. Ms. Brown and our beloved mother are very much members of the same generation.

Ms. Brown gave American women permission to be successful and slutty at the same time.

SWNID's mother was married to the same man for 70.5 years. She has discovered that her purpose in aged widowhood is to counsel the nursing staff who cares for her to eschew sexual promiscuity and find God through Jesus Christ. More than one has responded by giving up her baby-daddy and getting herself and her kids to church. Really.

These two women, born about a year apart just as the 20s began to roar, each remarkable in her own way, responded very differently to the opportunities and pressures of modernity.

We prefer the legacy left by one of them.

Let this be a warning to all those who pronounce about what this or that generation is going to do. Choices are made and lives are lived by individuals. Choose well, and live well, gentle readers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your mothers legacy I would view as an oak, good strong roots, sheltering, nurturing, able to withstand the tough storms. It provides predictable shade, and more of it every year, producing more fruit each and every year. Houses, furniture, boats, tools-all the stuff of life can be gotten from this one beautiful tree. HGB is more of a dandelion. Oh, there's a million of them, they come and they go easily, pick up and root at the slightest wind, but it withers and dies a quick death, is good for very little, gives only brief satisfaction, but is mostly considered a weed.