People who write memoirs have had interesting lives. They write of things like divorce and its aftermath, weathering addictions, and facing political upheaval. Some memoirs, like the one written by the Navy Seal who went in after Osama Bin Laden, keep you on the edge of your seat. Others, like the ones written by the inimitable Nora Ephron, have you laughing until you cry.
A few people have inquired as to why I don’t try my hand at writing a memoir. The answer is clear cut: my life hasn’t been all that interesting. I spent a good half-hour thinking about this today, and I realized that I could write my entire memoir in a one blog post! This may be a record. So here it is, for the handful of you out there who have challenged me to write of my life.
I was born in the fifties. If I gave the year, you might gasp at my age, so I will leave it at that. I had an uneventful childhood. I watched “Father Knows Best,” which I loved, and “Captain Kangaroo,” which enraged me because Bunny Rabbit didn’t get enough screen time. My mother was a housewife, which meant that my sheets were changed weekly, I never once got a chance to get really dirty, and I ate lots of wholesome food.
I hated school. I was too tall to be popular, too smart to stay on the page when we “read aloud,” and so I always finished the story and sat there while the kids in class droned on, stumbling over the pronunciation of words like “wheelbarrow.” It was dismal.
In high school, I didn’t even have a real boyfriend. I spent every Friday and Saturday night at home, watching Johnny Carson with my Dad in the rec room, or I rode around in my best friend’s car (she wasn’t blessed with a boyfriend, either), looking for action. In the sixties, “action” was defined as “seeing some cute boys parked in the Burger Boy parking lot.” Apparently, guys like Fonzie were way too threatening. I didn’t ever try a cigarette. If there were parties like the ones I have read about in other people’s memoirs–in which high schoolers got drunk and experimented with sex–I guess I wasn’t invited.
I managed in my own egocentric way to sail through the revolutionary decade of the sixties without it affecting me in the least. I hated Bob Dylan (he was so dirty looking!), I thought Betty Friedan was an ugly old crone, I didn’t like crowds—so I never went to a protest. About the only thing I remember about the sixties is ironing my hair. Viet Nam? It was a world away.
Good heavens. My era saw the birth of the Beatles! People tuned in, turned on, and dropped out! Everybody had flowers in their hair and smoked pot. Love was free! The Kennedy family established Camelot and then lost it. Martin Luther King changed the world. Hugh Hefner married about a hundred blondes. The word gay meant more than being happy. And yet, it all went right over my head.
Perhaps I could write a memoir. It would be about a woman who somehow managed to miss out on many of the most shattering events of recent history while she tried to decide which pair of bell bottoms to wear.