Saturday, June 4, 2011

As Old as Dirt and Proud of It

"If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't)" by Betty White G.P.Putnam's Sons 258 pages $25.95

Betty White has proven to be so successful that at age 89, she signed a contract to provide her publisher two more books! That's faith - on both sides!

But to be fair, this isn't much of a written book as it is lavishly illustrated. "The writing" might be from 300 to 500 words per chapter. (There are 317 words in this column to give you an idea.)

White was born Jaunary 17, 1922, and today she said she has to restrain herself from saying, "Hi! I'm Betty White - and I'm 89 years old!" She says the older you get, the prouder you are of your age. I saw this myself at an assisted living facility. Three ladies got into a heated argument about their own ages -- "You're not 93!" "Yes. I. Am!" emphatically.

Despsite having won seven Emmys, her childhood dream was to become a forest ranger. She loved being outdoors and the animals she and her parents saw on their summer vacations camping out. But women were not allowed to serve in her day. (Today 38% of forest rangers are women.) When she was made an honorary forest ranger, she was beyond delighted.

After two brief marriages, back in the '40s, she met and married Allen Ludden in June, 1963. They had 17 blissful years together before he succumbed to stomach cancer and died in June, 1981.

Long an outspoken champion of animals, she's been able to visit such as Koko, the gorilla that learned sign language and the beluga whales at the Atlanta Aquarium. She collects stuffed animals and keeps them in a special room. On entering or leaving, she always greets them.

It's an interesting book - more for the photos than the words - and if your library has it, take a peek. (This is tactful-speak for 'Don't go out and buy it.')

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