As a prepubescent girl growing up in the early 70s, I was confident about where I was headed. I would live in a groovy studio apartment in a vibrant Midwestern or east coast city. I would have the perfect job launching my long and lustrous career. I would be svelte enough to look good in an A-line skirt, and I would never develop terrible things like hips, or a muffin top. My world would be in a perpetual state of autumn, where the leaves are bright orange, and deep red; the temperature would be crisp, and cool; and the weather always perfect for short plaid skirts, opaque tights, and a navy pea coat. That’s right. I was going to be Mary.
Mary, of course, is Mary Richards from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In my estimation, Mary had it all: girlfriends that stopped by at just the right time, the perfect job where she was the center of everyone's universe, and a big burly (all right, fuzzy) boss that loved her in that adorably protective, fatherly way.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show was the highlight of my week. I waited with anticipation to see which amazing, color coordinated outfit she would wear as she burst through the door of the WJM Studio. For those of you non-believers, or those too young to know, the WJM Studio was the newsroom where Mary worked. Mary was the essential gear that kept everything running, and of course, just like in real life, Mary got this job with no prior newsroom experience or college degree. Yes, in Mary’s world, it was always autumn.
As Mary’s self-proclaimed protégé, I studied the way she paired turtlenecks and hip-huggers, go-go boots and suede jackets, color block sweaters and scarves. I longed to see the inside of that magical walk-in closet where Mary emerged with the perfect outfit for every occasion. I couldn’t wait to grow up and live a life just like Mary’s. I yearned for the day that I too would skip down the sidewalk, twirl in the delirium of single woman sisterhood, and throw my hat into the air in celebration of my perfect life.
Well, as you may have already guessed, that’s not exactly what happened. I did have a few good Mary-esque years, but all at once, like Alice from Wonderland, I fell down some kind of rabbit hole, or maybe it was my laundry chute. When I awoke, everything had changed. I was surrounded by four children, a dog, a cat, a guinea pig, oh yeah, and a husband.
How did this happen? I am sure my brain had no active role in this decision. Did someone strike me over the head? Was I in some kind of drug induced comma? I was no longer Mary. I was now living the life of a different sitcom character from the seventies - I was in The Brady Bunch, but, I wasn’t Mrs. Brady. No, I was Alice!