I had two jolts to my worldview on Sunday, via the New York Times. In the City section, there was an article about a woman chronicling the history of Bank Street. Among the illustrious New Yorkers mentioned, she knew Edward Tanner's real-life aunt, who was the basis for his character Auntie Mame. She described Miss Tanner as unkempt, and missing several teeth. How could this be possible? Anyone raised on movies and musicals knows that Auntie Mame started as Rosalind Russell, morphed into Angela Lansbury and finally became Lucille Ball. Not a shabby snaggle-tooth!
Still there was more disillusionment to come. In junior high school, my friends and I avidly passed a copy of Go Ask Alice among us. We were, I expect, much less sophisticated than teenagers are these days. To us, Go Ask Alice was about drugs and sex and getting out from under parental authority- all exciting things to contemplate. It was the subject matter, not the style (I could figure that out even back then) that allured us. The Bookends column in the Book Review revealed that it was not written by a real teenager who died of an overdose, but "Beatrice M. Sparks, a therapist and Mormon youth counselor."
Next thing you know, I'll find out there's no Santy Claus.