Normally, I would post which book I’m reading on my website, but I read this book so quickly, there really wasn’t time! Yes, Betty White’s “If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t)” was easy to read with short chapters, but it was also so enjoyable, I just couldn’t put it down!
My Introduction to Betty White
Although Betty has written 6 books, has won 7 emmy awards, and has been acting since high school (about 70 years ago), I first learned of Betty White when I started watching the Golden Girls with my great-grandma when I was eight-years-old. She would tell me it was disgusting to see older women acting in such a manner, but she never shut the show off! I later saw Betty as the bumbling secretary and accidental murderer on Boston Legal. And then, of course, somehow (and I don’t know how because we haven’t had TV service in almost five years), I saw Betty hosting Saturday Night Live. She has always been an extremely funny actress, and I was so excited when my husband showed me this book he checked out of the library.
Betty, the Handwriter
The first thing I learned about Betty is her love for long-hand, or what I would call cursive writing. Both her forward and afterword were handwritten, and she also included a writing sample in one of her chapters. She tells readers she’s never owned and never will own a computer, and she’s been perfecting her handwriting ever since she was young and saw her mother’s beautiful handwriting.
It’s funny: I used to love handwriting as well, probably through the end of high school when I learned to type. Before I learned to type, I was a hunter and pecker, so handwriting was my preferred method. I was always told I had beautiful handwriting, too. But, once I got that typing bug, handwriting became a chore. I could barely write a sentence without my hand hurting! Thank goodness the most handwriting I have to do now is sign my signature!
Betty, the Animal Lover
Betty has been an ASPCA advocate for many years. She has always owned pets, adopted of course, and supported the Monterey Bay Aquarium and had the opportunity to get up close and personal with two Beluga whales at the aquarium in Atlanta, GA. She paid for a very expensive surgery for a horse who lived at a ranch for young cancer patients to escape their disease if only for a moment. She sat and watched television with sign-language-learning gorilla, KoKo. And finally, she has a room over-flowing with stuffed animals. She calls it her embarrassing little secret! Her latest furry kid is Pontiac, a golden retriever who was unable to be trained as a guide dog.
Betty never wonders when she’ll die or when she’ll retire. The only plans she has made is to have a friend take care of Pontiac should she pass before she does. According to Betty, there really is no secret to longevity. She claims to have her father’s genes of constant energy. Aside from that energy, though, she tries to maintain her same weight within about five pounds, takes a vitamin C once a day, and says she gets plenty of exercise running up and down her house stairs because of her constant forgetfulness. I am sure her 18 year marriage contributed to her happiness and health. She married her third husband, gameshow host Allen Ludden in 1963, and their marriage lasted until his death in 1981. Interestingly, Allen’s first marriage also lasted 18 years, his wife dying in 1961.
Before I finish my summation of Betty’s book, I did want to share some of the bits of wisdom Betty taught me.
The first is about children. Of course, those that know me, know that it a touchy subject, but Betty tackled the subject with grace and selflessness. She writes as a child, her mother was always home, and despite that being a traditional family setting, Betty has always believed she had two choices – to be a stay at home mom or a career woman. She knew she would be a career woman from the start and therefore, having kids was not an option. She did become a step-mom through marriage and loves her step-children very much. While I wouldn’t say Betty is the most inspirational person in my life, what she says makes sense. If you can’t give children what YOU think they deserve, then it’s ok to make the choice not to have them.
Granted, in my situation, it’s not a choice, but now having become disabled, I don’t think I could be the mom I would want to be. I don’t think that’s selfish. Following society’s rules that say all women should be mothers is selfish. Realizing a child’s needs and your ability to meet those needs is selfless.
Finally, Betty taught me about integrity. Not being a religious book, Betty says at the end of the day she has to own up to herself. It was a lesson her mother taught her – to see if she could look in a mirror and look into her eyes. If she had done everything she could to ensure she had not harmed herself or others, it was a simple task to look herself in the eye and smile; but if she had lived a day without integrity, she couldn’t face herself.
Without the Holy Spirit, I can understand feeling guilt-ridden and feeling you have to somehow make up for it the next day. For me, I know I can speak to my Heavenly Father, repent and ask for forgiveness; and I am confident the next day I’ll start with a clean slate to try and live with integrity.
I strongly encourage my readers to pick up Betty’s new book whether it be checking it out at the library or buying it at the store. I’ve only shared my favorite parts. I promise you, there is so much more!