Not my line. You can thank Patrick Dennis. According to Wikipedia, he had a life almost as interesting as Mame’s. If you haven’t already discovered Mame, I highly recommend you do so. Apparently she was the Fifty Shades of Grey of the 1950s. Mame is way cooler from what I can gather, since I refuse to actually read Fifty Shades… but, like the Kardashians, you can’t escape it even when you’re trying to…
Anyway, let’s talk about Mame! And the brilliant Patrick Dennis. I first stumbled across Auntie Mame in my early teens. Especially interesting because it was supposedly out of print then. But I read it – and the sequel – with great delight. My recollection is that it is well written. And Mame is a character who should be as famous as Scarlet O’Hara.
When I read the original novel, I related to the nephew. To have a worldly aunt who would show me the world and shake up my boring “Little House on the Prairie” everyday life seemed a dream too big to actually dream.
But that is the wonderful thing about reading. You can transport yourself into all sorts of worlds for which you have in reality neither the means nor the social skills to actually enter. You can pretend to be all sorts of different people and lead all kinds of interesting lives.
If you aren’t a reader, Mame also made it onto Broadway and apparently there are two different film versions. But the one to see is the 1958 Warner Brothers version with Rosalind Russell. I was looking for something to entertain me in the background on Christmas Eve and that is how I saw it for the second time.
Not everything is better the second time. But it is one of my favourite films. It’s fantastic – and not terribly realistic. But highly entertaining. And with a social message that still resonates today – and would have been shocking in the 1950s of the buttoned-up USA.
As a child, Mame was inspiring. But now I see that I have partly turned into Mame. And it’s not a bad thing. She is resilient, resourceful, independent, entertaining and unconventional. As the quote suggests, Mame really knows how to live.
Apparently the book has been a spectacular hit as a reissue in the 21st century.
Check it out. Or rent the film. Mame was ahead of her time so her message fits perfectly into the new century.
Live your life to the fullest. Take some risks. Do some interesting things. Make sure you have at least a couple of stories that will get you attention in the nursing home.
Enjoy the banquet! Apparently the world did NOT end after all… so it’s time to embrace 2013!
Happy New Year!