Thank you, Mary Richards….
What a week it has been. Coming down from the high of Saturday’s March, full of hope, then seeing, but not quite believing, the actions of our dictator-in-chief – a wall, approvals for his Cabinets choices, agencies silenced, web pages disappearing, his chief propagandists lying in the face of facts….
And now – a champion to those of us who came of age in the 70s gone.
A few words on what Mary Tyler Moore, through her character Mary Richards, meant to me – I was young, on my own, with a two-year old who was so beautiful and loving that it would melt anyone’s heart. I had no job. My car burned so much oil that I bought it by the caseload and kept it in my trunk. I had a job where I shared an office, and a salary that didn’t stretch quite far enough for rent, daycare fees and food. I had three outfits, all lovely, but only three. Which turned out to be fine because the closet in my apartment was just large enough for five hangers.
I was also heartbroken, and sure that, except for my daughter, my life was over.
And then came Mary. We didn’t have a television, but I had a friend who did. And Saturday evenings, we would watch Mary Richards navigate this world that was both seductive and frightening. The world of the “new” single woman. My pal and I drank wine, smoked, and watched. And Mary’s world percolated down – from our eyes, to our brains, to our hearts.
Yes. She did it. She was alone, and she was pretty damn happy. Successful too, but it was the happiness that touched us.
And so, I channeled Mary. When I felt like crying, I channeled Mary. When I couldn’t pay all my bills, I channeled Mary. When I went in to ask for a raise, I channeled Mary. And my boss, who also thought I had spunk, loved me like a daughter.
I had her clothes; I had her hat. And, like her, I made it on my own.
Thank you, Mary Richards. I don’t think I could have done it quite so well without you.