Monday, October 26, 2015
Gwen Grant and new fascinating details of Betty MacDonald's life
Betty and Don MacDonald in Hollywood
Gwen Grant - and Betty MacDonald fan club fans,
Sorry to take so long getting back to you--I ended up buying a new printer to finish the job of downloading...Wow, I am impressed! You really worked hard to gather all this stuff.
After fifty years it must have been quite a quest! Good for you. For years we have all had questions and you have followed through with trying to find answers.
My sister (I took her ALL the pages two days ago) was the most pleased I have seen her in YEARS. She says she is STILLL reading it. So, can we expect more to come ? ? Another delighted fan, Caroline Thanks again.
What surprised me the most after reading The Kettles' Million Dollar Egg, The Egg and Betty....probably the lawsuit (I had not ever hear about that); maybe the fact that so many people believed it was a true story (it seems to me that it was catalogued and shelved as FICTION in libraries at one time)...maybe 'faction' would be appropriate...
Why do I think Bob didn't appear? I've always wondered where he went..I wonder how Don MacDonald liked being Mr. Betty or "BOB" ....in some people's minds.
I guess I read the first E & I in the 1950's -- I remember Onions in the Stew being, I think, a Reader's Digest book?? or maybe Book of the Month...living in a small town with no bookstores, my mom belonged to book clubs & that would be where I began reading about Betty. Anyway, we were a reading household..I guess I would be 12 or 13 ??
My sister is the most devoted fan--re-reads Betty books ...she was in Seattle a few years back when her husband needed medical treatment at hospital there...she went to all the second hand bookstores but said copies were impossible to find. I have said for about 25 years that someone should do what you people have done...so many so curious as to other details of her life--Betty I mean...Sad that she died so young--was she not still in her 40s?? So much talent and so long remembered.
My experiences with chickens were at my grandmother's farm as a child. . Hard work & little reward. Of course in Betty & Bob's case it was the Depression and people were scrambling just to get the basics. Certainly in our family--pioneers in USA and Canada...one of my uncle's lived a life very like Egg & I in a mountain valley a few hours from here--logging with horses, growing cherries for sale, etc. His wife was a very hardworking lady -- she probably enjoyed the E & I too at the time it was published. He wrote a book--kind of a memoir which his children had published in limited edition.
Much of it probably libellous...but fun. Books are like that--even his own brothers differed on what was true and false...it is all perception, I think.
I have been to the Seattle, Portland (Ore.) area and lived on Vancouver Island in several different towns....yes, it is all very beautiful. I never saw a Geoduck but certainly we dug our own clams, had free prawns, bought huge fish from the Indians (illegally even then) and this was in the 1960's...
My last trip to Vancouver Island was in the 1990's I think...if one travels to any of the more remote communities (usually accessible by ferry or only plane/boat even now) you will find much unchanged. It is reassuring in many ways.
So the Egg and I life still exists out here in the wilds of Canada....
Best wishes, Caroline
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Betty MacDonald Fan Club proudly presents:
The amazing, very witty, charming, intelligent story written by our brilliant Betty MacDonald Fan Club Honor Member - artist and writer Letizia Mancino.
WHEN YOU DREAM, DREAM BIG
Copyright 2011/2015 by Letizia Mancino
All rights reserved
Translated by D. Tsiaprakas
Betty, I love you! Your books „Anybody can do anything“ and „Onions in the Stew“ are really outstanding! I take them into my hand, and at a stone's throw I am right away in America ! Columbus and the egg: The great discovery!
Your bestseller „The Egg and I“ the greatest discovery. And you and I! I know America: It's true what you are writing: That's America: Absolutely right! No, even to the least detail! The landscape and the passion: Do you know the country where pistols blossom? Brava, Betty, you are describing the Americans vividly, genuinely, insufferably, brushed upon paper. If I like to read your works? To read doesn't even express it! I can even hear and see everything: Nature, culture, subculture.
America has almost remained unchanged! O those cool Americans! Calculating, stockmarket, Wall Street, the financial crisis (even back in 1930), the gamblers, the bankruptcy of companies! The swarming of dodgers and cheaters. People left without money. Dispair und hunger! A terrible „Worst Case“ (when I knew but little English I thought it is sausage with cheese).
Still how impressive is the ability to adaptone self of the Americans: They know how to enjoy life, acrobats of survival! In the twinkle of an eye they achieved to adapt themselves and effect the work of pioneers: In the morning you are a cleaningwoman, in the evening a brothel woman! No problem!
„The insufficient, here it's becoming an event; The indescribable, here it's done;“ Mary Bard Jensen, your sister, was the treasure trove of procuring work: My word, what a power woman with unlimited imagination! She has recommended you everywhere: Betty can do everything, also write novels! Go ahead, sister, hurry up! The editor wants to see your manuscripts! Up to that point you had not written a single line! Wow! And if still everything goes wrong? No problem: When you dream, dream big!
Just look, you have become famous.The Egg and I You know that, Betty? I'll slip into „The Egg and I“ and come and be your guest! I want to get to know your chickens. I hate chickens! I'm a chickens slave from North America! O Betty, without these damned animals, no chance of you becoming famous! „The Egg and I“ you would never have written! How many readers you have made happy!
Your book is so amusing! Your witty fine (almost nasty) remarks about your family members and roundabout neighbours made me laugh so much! You have been born into a special family: Comfort was not desired: I can't but be amazed: What did your father say to your mother? After tomorrow I am going to work elsewhere: Thousands of miles away...He sent her a telegram: LEAVING FOR TWO YEARS ON THURSDAY FOR MEXICO CITY STOP GET READY IF YOU WANT TO COME ALONG – That was on Monday. Mother wired back: SHALL BE READY, and so she was.That's America! Improvisation, change, adventure. You show no weakness: Let's go! Your descriptions, Betty, about the tremendous happenings in nature have deeply frightened me.
Continent America, I'm terrified by you! I feel so small and threatened like a tiny fly before an enormous flyswatter! Your novel is very many-sided! The reader may use it even as a cook book! „The Egg and I“ starts straight away with a recipe: „Next to the wisdom that lamb meat doesn't taste good unless it has been roasted with garlic“. Do you enjoy the American food?
O Betty, it's too fatty for me and I hate garlic! (Betty is presently cooking lunch for Bob. She's continually talking to „STOVE“: STOVE is Bob's rival; in the beginning I thought it was being himself). She turns round and says: Well, so no garlic for you. No lamb either, Betty. I don't eat any meat! I'd actually prefer only fried eggs. Betty, let me make them myself. Then you try it!
Blow! „STOVE“ out of order! I don't succeed in turning it on! Damned! It's got more of a mind of its own than „STOVE“ of my friend, Hilde Domin! Bob's coming! He must eat directly! „Men eat anything, the swines! Says your grandmother Gammy“. Is it true? Do you like my chickens? Bob asked me without introducing himself. Yes, Bob (rude) I love them! I'm vegetarian. Do you want to clean the henhouse with me tomorrow? A, you're always getting up so early at four o'clock! Bob, that's not a job for me! He looked at me disdainfully! A Roman cissy! You need a reeducation at once! Help, Bob's attacking me! I rather change the novel immediately and move to the „Island“!