With the tragic news of so many more tornadoes striking the Heartland, along the Ohio River Valley and on to the East Coast; it becomes beyond belief how quickly our lives can be changed. The death count thus far estimated at 38 and probably will climb much higher. I have posted in the past about tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires – here in the USA. I live in an area of the country that is very near the Headwaters of the Mississippi. We do not have floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, nor hurricane seasons. With our wood lands, even blinding wind storms are rare. So I can only try to imagine what people experience when Civil Defense sirens go off and they must relocate, sandbag, seek shelter, etc.
So last evening, I spent time with friends in the protection of the warm home, with great food, feeling very safe and secure – in spite of snowfall occurring all evening..the gentle white snow that has been falling all week and will soon melt in the weeks ahead. We embrace the snow “up north” and are well prepared for it. After an unusually mild winter here, the snow all week was particularly welcomed. So my thoughts go out to those so adversely affected by the storms of yesterday and today. The “Spinning Out of Control” thoughts are related to last night, viewing a classic DVD “The Children’s Hour” from 1961-Starring Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, and James Garner. I had seen it decades ago when first released, but not recalling the specifics….just amazed at such a cast of gifted actors. I have never seen the earlier play upon which the movie was based, but the plot is far too credible…In which “One Simple Lie Destroyed Everything They Had” Lillian Hellman’s play about an elite girls boarding school is once again on stage – at least in the UK and I would hope to see it. I have read some interesting reviews, now that it is back on stage. I will post one of them later, but first – the original movie with Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, and James Garner.
In the early 1960s, the “L” word was not mentioned, aside from in the most negative fashion. If two school teachers running a girls school were thought to be ‘lovers’, it would most certainly be scandalous to the School and lead to its closure, at the very least. In the 21st Century, I would clearly hope attitudes have changed for most. So many Lesbian and homosexual entertainers are so well accepted by most. Many professionals in teaching, research, science, etc are able to be “out” and well accepted. I doubt that the numbers of ‘gender minorities’ has changed in my lifetime, but as I was growing up, I suspect homosexual couples had to be so extremely discrete. I recall at age 7 or 8 often visiting a friendly couple of ladies who shared a home and would often offer us sweets, cookies…Not their real names, but I will refer to them as “Miss Ray and Miss Dolly” I assumed they were sisters – then in their late 50s or 60s. Two more pleasant women could not be imagined. Supportive to each other and the neighborhood, not a threat to anyone that I can imagine. It was only many years later – upon the death of one – that the reality came out that they had been school teachers from a different State, forced out upon learning of the nature of their lesbian relationship. I realize to many, such “unnatural” relationships are viewed as ‘evil’ and same-sex marriage continues to be a major source of intense conflict and debate. I review this movie of “The Children’s Hour, because I suspect it may have been one of the first major motion pictures to address the subject and how it led to an excellent school and two devoted teachers spinning out of control. After the movie was first released, Life magazine put it on its cover.
I would wonder how it was for Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine to accept the roles to act in the movie?
I view it as a very bold decision and not, in any fashion, an attempt to generate publicity for their own respective careers.
My own professional training at the University of Minnesota Medical School, was in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I was there working with experts such as Starke Hathaway PhD of MMPI fame – and Dr Donald Hastings MD head of the Department of Psychiatry. This was the pilot of the first 20 transexual surgeries..in concert with similar work at Johns Hopkins. Working on the 6th floor as a psychiatric researcher, the potential candidates for possible transexual surgeries would need to go thru intensive counseling, hormone therapies, and numerous other steps for a period of at least 2 years. Many other “gender minorities” were evaluated and given therapy–including the genetic conditions of Klinefelter Syndrome, Turners Syndrome, Fragile X, etc. In an effort to train Medical Students to be open minded with their patients, the controversial SAR program was launched and is still in operation today (Sexual Attitude Reassessment Program).. Some Med Students refused to attend the seminars, objecting to the discussions and videos of experienced “Sexologists’ Masters and Johnson had a close link with Dr Donald Hastings MD. And Helen Singer Kaplan MD, PhD was a powerful force from the East Coast. Virginia Satir was a frequent guest consultant, as was Dr Carl Whitaker, MD……Carol and Titus Belleville, MD offered Conjoint Couple Therapy and were extremely informed and Skilled. Some outsiders believed the emphasis on Human Sexuality was rapidly “spinning out of control” with a particular Fundamentalist Preacher – leading strong protests to ‘shut the program down” Fortunately, due to the background and research, Human Sexuality – in all its complexities – continues to be a major part of the Medical School Training Program. But back to a review from the UK of the Children’s Hour back on Stage…BTW, a most pleasant surprise for me happened quite unexpectedly in New Orleans in 2001 at the Annual APA Conference when I had the opportunity to speak at length with Dr Ruth. She so impressed me as scientifically informed, I could not resist writing a review on her then current book “Sex for Dummies” She would appear on TV as a bit of a comic..who – as someones grandmother – couldn’t possibly understand..Not so at all. She was way ahead of the American Academy of Gynecology on the Myth of the ‘G-Spot’. When I mentioned that in a review, I received hundreds of emails and comments stating I (and Dr Ruth) did not know what we were talking (writing) about. Most feedback came from self-professed Sexperts who were practicing (?) Sex Therapists with no appropriate credentials.
If you do not know of the Weepies, they are one great couple with many albums, great harmonies, and a great couple
Back to the movie version of “The Children’s Hour”. It was clearly a very powerful, poignant depiction of the tragic conditions that can so quickly get out of hand and lead to unexpected destruction, not unlike the deadly tonados affecting so many thousands in their paths.