Friday, January 18, 2013

Dear Abby Has Died

Pauline Phillips, a California housewife who nearly 60 years ago transformed herself into the syndicated columnist Dear Abby (pictured above with her sister, Ann Landers) has died in Minneapolis. She was 94.

26 comments:

dee123 said...

R.I.P.

Frufra said...

I was a Dear Abby junkie when I was a kid - you could learn a lot about all kinds of hijinks (you can get pregnant with your jeans on? Dear Abby says yes - beware of heavy petting!) by reading her column. Of course, her daughter writes the column now, and poor Abby has suffered with Alzheimer's for the past decade or more.

Rest in peace, Dear Abby. I bet you're having a ball in the Great Beyond. Thanks for all the insight, and thanks for helping to break down barriers along the way.

Susan said...

While I don't necessarily agree with all of her advice, she and her sister seemed like fabulous ladies. They were a bit estranged, though, right? Bet you their life story would make a great movie.

Tuxedo Cat said...

I still have a couple of snippets from dear Abby that really struck home for me. Eg. "Kisses aren't promises" "Give people a break. No one ever knows what another person is going through", etc.

Maureen Stabile said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan said...

"No one ever knows what another person is going through" really is great advice.

Rosemary Young said...

I liked "kwitcherbellyachin'." Or was that gem from Ann Landers?

Syko said...

In high school, I had this really bad world history teacher (how bad? The fire escape was in our classroom, and when he'd called roll, half the class would escape and he'd never notice) who read the "Dear Abby" column to us religiously, every day. She was known for telling it like it was, with some humor thrown in. Funny lady. Peace to her.

10-4 over. said...

I agree, it is!!! My mom always use to tell me to cut people some slack because "you never know what they were going through". She really should have cited her source because this while time I thought those were my moms words of wisdom, hahaha.

RIP Abby

Nutty_Flavor said...

Her values changed with the times - for example, she was very anti-gay in the beginning, but changed as society around her changed. She also counseled women not to stay in bad marriages and not to put up with abuse. Her column was published around the world - apparently it is particularly popular in Pakistan - which made her an ambassador for American values in the best possible way. I have heard that it is still frequently used in ESL classes, since the small domestic dramas it contains are something nearly everyone can relate to.

Munch said...

I don't recall ever seeing a Dear Abby column before the age of the internet, I'm not sure if it was ever published in Britain, but everything I've read has been pithy and/or funny.

The only pearl of wisdom I remember from my mother was when chatting with a neighbour the woman was talking about how some local girl was 15 and pregnant (back when that was actually a big deal). She was saying how the girl must be a slut and my mother told her that anyone can be naive enough to be sweet talked and that it's 'innocent' girls that get pregnant because 'experienced' girls know how to avoid it. She then told the neighbour that it was nasty for a grown woman to be spreading gossip about a young girl and she'd do better to mind her own family's behaviour and maybe launder her curtains once in a while. Game, set and match to mum.

To be accused of poor housekeeping was the ULTIMATE insult back then.

Frufra said...

Oh, Munch, I love it! Yes, poor housekeeping was the ultimate NO back then. Women absolutely judged each other by the cleanliness of their home, or the lack thereof. Both my grandmothers spoke of it so often that I could, to this day, tell you names of women in their neighborhoods who were considered to be bad housekeepers. My mom is still very conscientious about housecleaning, but I am evidence that the stigma has falled to the wayside. I prefer to call my method "carefree" - that's code for not giving a shit!

prolixe said...

Munch, your mum is truly awesome. The perfect burn at the perfect time.

I adored Ann & Abby growing up (we moved a lot, so I'd read whichever one the local paper carried) - they were like your friend's nice mom who would tell it like it is. I do recall reading they were estranged for a time.

My grandmere's (still kicking at 92!) legacy to us girls was, a long with a bit of Southern kookiness, a clean freak streak. My favorite piece of advice from her: a lady never leaves the house without lipstick, a girdle and stockings. (I was 8, and very impressed - my grandmere was a Mardi Gras float queen for years, and it was like getting makeup tips from royalty when you're a little girl.)

Munch said...

@Frufra - snap! My mother used to call my home-maker skills "rustic". The only thing I'm picky about is laundry - I will not wear something 2 days in a row without laundering it, and I won't use the same towel twice - once it's been used it goes in the basket, not back on the rail.

@prolixe - I was told a lady always has a lipstick, aspirin and a handkerchief in her handbag. That would get you through most of life's emergencies. I prefer gin, but hey ho...

My mum is no longer with us, but I loved that she wouldn't tolerate bullying and always spoke up against unfairness.

SusanB said...

I used to read them also - still read whichever one is in the paper. They kind of resemble my mom - I always think of her when I see their pictures.

SusanB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Throbs said...

Fuck that old cunt

prolixe said...

Dear Abby,

I have a friend who I like very much - we have coffee together most mornings with a bunch of other friends. Recently a new friend has joined the group. This friend is vulgar, profane, and downright rude. I know the traditional advice is to ignore the the behavior and it will eventually stop - does that really work?

Down in the cdandumps

Dear Down,

Parents are often given the advice of ignoring a child's temper tantrum, as it reinforces that attention will be given no matter what the behavior. When it comes to adults, there is no such presumption of innocence. Your best recourse is to smile politely, hand them a cookie, and continue your conversation with the rest of your friends. You'll find that the person may continue to engage in rude outbursts, just hand them another cookie. As with a tantruming toddler, they will enrage themselves to the point of exhaustion and, presumably, return to their home under the bridge.

Mango said...

I always love reading those advice columns, although I didn't always agree with the advice.

Didn't someone once totally punk Ann or Abby by sending in a letter about how his marriage was on the brink of divorce because he hung the TP in the over position and his wive liked it hung the other way and wouldn't she PLEASE settle the debate and save his marriage????

RIP Abby.

AKM said...

I thought it was interesting to the point of kind of crazy that their names were Pauline Esther and Esther Pauline. Really?! Do people DO that to their children, especially twins?

JudithM said...

My favorite piece of advice: "Ask yourself, are you better off with him or without him?" So simple, but makes the decision so much clearer.

Also, she had a kick-ass cheesecake recipe.

Del Riser said...

RIP Abby.

Abby and her sister Ann were the only people a lot of folks could go to for advice for a long time.

Reading the problems sent in made a lot of people realize the things they were dealing with were not so bad. It also served to get a lot of taboo subjects out in the open.

Dagny said...

@prolixe That was absolutely beautiful. You deserve a standing ovation!

Frufra said...

@prolixe - you could take over the column, dear - well done.

dia papaya said...

High Five prolixe! Sorry I missed this yesterday!

Dear prolixe. I have a question....

So when does YOUR column start ;)

Ms Evans said...

Love this conment! I'm a teacher and i see teens get caught up in bad situations all the time. Even though people were more closed minded back in the day, it seems as though gossiping has been taken to a whole new level with cell phones and the internet.