But stay away, Gidget is spoken for! Who knows all of the lyrics to the theme song of Gidget, (Wait 'Til You See) My Gidget?" What about "Who Needs Wings to Fly?" the theme song from The Flying Nun? I do! If you spot me at the Central Library please ask and I'll perform them for you! Just kidding. I will not. But if you want to talk about Sally Field's new memoir, you know where to find me.
We are starting to see best of the year lists and In Pieces is high on mine. What a smart, compelling memoir.
I was a little kid in the 1970s, the same age as Sally Field's children, but I grew up knowing all about her, or so I thought. I remember her romance with Burt Reynolds and excitedly watched Smokey and the Bandit 1 & 2. FYI - the movies we were allowed to watch as kids in the 70s do not fly today. Smokey and the Bandit is about a man (Burt Reynolds, the Bandit) who guarantees that he can get a truck load of unavailable beer from Texas to Atlanta in 28 hours, and is pursued by the police (or the Smokey, Sheriff Buford T. Justice played by Jackie Gleason) all the way. You can just imagine how this pushes every boundary of a PG rating today. I obsessively watched Gidget and The Flying Nun as reruns, seemingly rerun constantly or at least once daily during the summer when I was in junior high, and remember watching the entire Sybil miniseries during a high school psychology class and that it took an entire week of classes to watch the whole thing. I know her work as an Academy Award winning actress for Norma Rae and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln and loved Places in the Heart, Steel Magnolias, and her role as the matriarch Nora Walker on Brothers and Sisters. But I didn't really know anything about her as a person.
Sally is tough as nails and fragile as a seashell. She grew up in an environment that could not be further from what I grew up with. Her mom was a studio actress and her stepfather was a stuntman back in the days when stunts were performed without a safety net, so to speak. Sally and her brother stuck together and spent a considerable amount of time unattended or with their maternal grandmother. They moved around from house to house as their parents moved on and away from each other and remarried and remarried again. As an adult, Sally, too, jumped from romance to romance and her kids spent a lot of their time with Sally's mother, called Baa. I am always a bit stunned at people who follow their heart seemingly without considering the consequences, but Sally is candid about the causes and effects of this. Once you've done it, you can't take it back but you can acknowledge it and move on.
Field points out that when all's said and done, what matters is who you see or are waiting to see at the end of your life. She's had more than 70 years to ruminate on her life and her story is a remarkable one. I think she's an amazing person and it's amazing to me how she's lived her life and nurtured her career. If you're looking for even more inspiration, check out Norma Rae, available on DVD from the library.