So, this is awkward. I was in line at CVS today when I saw the People Magazine cover, dated January 10th. As we all know, magazines come out long before their pub dates. The cover shows a smiling Betty White with the caption, Betty White turns 100.
Only she didn’t.
It’s too late to take it back, People Magazine. Betty checked out of this crazy world on New Year’s Eve, two plus weeks before her birthday. I read somewhere that she planned it that way so that everyone would toast her at midnight. Ha ha. It’s a joke.
I remember Betty from the Mary Tyler Moore show. I never watched the Golden Girls, but my mother did. Betty was a hilarious actor who once told an interviewer that she didn’t have many girlfriends. She preferred to hang out with men.
Allen Ludden, her third husband, who died of cancer forty years before Betty died, met her on his game show Password (I watched that as a kid in black and white). He asked her to marry him every day for a year until she finally said yes. He turned out to be the love of her life. And she, his.
Betty went on to act almost to the end. She guest-hosted SNL when she was 88. My favorite funny quote of hers is, “It’s important to get 8 hours of beauty sleep, 9 if you’re ugly.”
Betty, Betty, Betty. She was an animal advocate. We should all go out and adopt a dog or cat and name them Betty in Ms. White’s honor.
America loves its celebrities. Even young people knew who Betty White was. 18 months ago, when Ruth Bader Ginsberg died, a lot of people didn’t realize who she was or why that was such a big deal. When I posted that RBG had died, people asked me on Facebook who she was. That is shameful on so many levels. If you are a woman, you owe a great deal to RBG. She paved the way for women to have their own credit cards, bank accounts, own their own homes, and get a legal abortion, no matter what state. Young women today can’t imagine that just 50 some years ago, that wasn’t possible. In case you’re still wondering, Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a liberal-leaning Supreme Court Justice who fought cancer for years to stay on the court.
RBG made the cover of Time Magazine after she died. Betty made the cover of People Magazine and wasn’t supposed to die.
But she did. Nobody lives forever. To make it to almost 100 when you were born in 1922 is pretty much a miracle. Maybe she lived that long because she didn’t remarry. She closed that chapter of her life when Allen died. She concentrated on other things. Maybe she knew she’d never have that kind of love again. I know a few women who feel that way about their deceased husbands. Irreplaceable.
We could learn a lot from Betty, how having a sense of humor can help one live a long and happy life.
Here’s to Betty White.
Even if she wasn’t RBG.