Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dear Abby

Tomorrow I go to teach in Iowa, one of four states I’ve never spent the night in (Mississippi, Arkansas, Delaware the others). Though it would be easy to dismiss a state that allowed that horrible man to ruin our country, I’m keeping an open mind as I know there are good people everywhere. Before going, I decided to look up famous people from Iowa and came up with an interesting list: authors Bill Bryson and Jane Smiley, jazz musicians Bix Beiderbecke and Glenn Miller, actors John Wayne and Jerry Mathers (from Leave It to Beaver) and assorted others.

But the most interesting were two twins names Esther Pauline Friedman and Pauline Esther Friedman. Born on July 4th, 1918 in Sioux City, Iowa, they dressed alike and did everything together. Their father ran a movie house that featured vaudeville performers and the sisters played violin and sang Andrews Sisters songs in Yiddish. They both went to the same college and both dropped out in their junior year to get married in a double wedding wearing identical dresses, hairstyles and veils.

As young adults, Esther (nicknamed Eppie) got a job at a newspaper running a syndicated advice column in Chicago. Soon after, Pauline (Popo) landed a job with the San Francisco Chronicle also as an advice columnist. Now the sisters were rivals and thus began a feud in which neither talked to the other for the next ten years. In 1958, Life Magazine did a story on them and called the situation “the most feverish female feud since Elizabeth sent Mary Queen of Scots to the chopping block.”

The world knew Eppie as Ann Landers and Popo as Abigail Van Buren (of Dear Abby fame).

Isn’t that interesting? All you wannabe screenwriters, here’s a story to put into a play or movie!

Now I’m just wondering whether in all those years, anybody wrote in: “My sister and I used to be close, but now we are feuding and won’t talk to each other anymore. What should we do?”

How would they have answered that?

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