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Friday, 09 November 2012

ELDER PROSE: M.F.K. Fisher

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


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Both stories say a lot about how Fisher lived beyond the views of others about how she should live and who she should be. Lovely gown Ronni. I have adopted cotton tees, and plaid pj bottoms for winter, the nightgear of my childhood. Keeps me warm.

Fisher has been one of my favorite writers for many years. I recently came across "Sister Age", a collection of vignettes which she describes as stories relating her embracing of Sister Age to St. Francis's welcoming of Brother Pain. I'm not sure it's proving to be one of my favorites by her, but it is highly readable.

And I cast my vote with Celia for the cotton tees and pajama bottoms for both comfort, warmth and versatility. Sometimes I stay in them well into the day.

Love that granny gown, Ronni. Where did you get it?

Or one could just remove the mirror...

I've done pretty well for a number of years with just the bathroom mirror, although I do miss the full-length when I want to check my overall appearance (doesn't happen often these days). I just don't have a good place for one.

Nightgowns for me. On a recent cold night, a T-shirt and pajama bottoms felt really cozy for lounging but got too warm in bed under the usual covers.

Yes, as MFK says, "...food as metaphor." Enjoyed food prep as accompaniment to words. She was something else in how she lived her rich life, created a special niche for herself.

Nightgowns for me too. Flannel easy to locate but cotton knit, kind of all-season, harder to locate these days.

Granny Gowns are my winter choice for sleep and sleep shirts are the summer night wear. I love beautiful lingerie, but it's usually uncomfortable so I have given away all I had. A good night's rest is more important than how I look. (Unless the men in black show up again.)

I, too, love your new nightgown. It's practical and beautiful. Hard to beat that combination.

I'm a teeshirt and bottoms person, I find nighties ride up far too high and tend to strangle me.

As to MKF, I wish she'd embraced age a little more and moved the effing mirror.

XO
WWW

Re my mirrors: Since mine is the paneling of sliding closet doors, it is highly impractical not to mention expensive to "move" them.

Jean Gogolin: J. Peterman.

I wear granny gowns too, but more for warmth than the need to hide anything - although I am not showing it off to anyone!!

I might have just covered or moved the mirrors!!

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