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ELDER PROSE: M.F.K. Fisher

Posted Nov 09 2012 8:30am

This is from an interview published in 1990 in The Ageless Spirit, edited by Phillip Berman and Connie Goldman. The book is a collection of conversations with people age 70 and older.


“My husband told me that every self-respecting woman must have a full-length mirror in her house to see herself from top to bottom clearly. My full-length mirror is facing me at about a distance of ten feet from my bed when I get up in the morning.

“For decades I've slept without any pajamas or a nightie on, except in hotels and stuff. And about a year ago I suddenly realized that I could not face walking toward myself again in the morning because here is this strange, uncouth, ugly, kind of toadlike woman...

“...long thin legs, long thin arms, and shapeless little toadlike torso and this head at the top with great staring eye. And I thought, Jesus, why do I have to do this?

“So I bought some nightgowns. I felt like an idiot, you know [Laughs.] But I couldn't face it in the mornings. And I got some rather nice-looking gowns. My sister, Nora, has always worn beautiful lingerie, and she thinks my nighties are just abominable.

“If I'm going to hide myself, I want long-sleeved, high-necked, to-the-ground granny gowns. [Laughs.] I'd much rather not have to wear them, but I will not face that strange kind of half-humanoid, half-toad walking toward me in the morning.” [Laughs.]

“I don't meant to compromise with the gowns and all, and I don't think I'm a compromising person, but I certainly do know that there are certain facts of life that you've got to accept. I know some women who refuse to be old and they are like zombies walking around."

Ronni here again.

Nightgown I know exactly how Fisher felt about that mirror first thing in the morning (I have the same bed/mirror configuration) and I too have made the same kind of granny gowns my solution.

Except every now and then I indulge in one that is silly and extravagant and, for me, irresistible - like this one I ordered just yesterday.

Now - to get back to the extraordinary Ms. Fisher.

This video is the introduction to a film profile of Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher by Barbara Wornum and released in 1992, the same year Fisher died at age 83. The quotations from her works are read by Maria Tucci.

If you are not familiar with M.F.K. Fisher, there is, of course, an extensive Wikipedia entry about her. For a quick, little bio, this from encyclopedia.com is good, too.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dan Vitale: June 1948

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