(The “Vilified One”……….. But wait til you hear “the charges.” Photo courtesy of david_shankbone in Flickr Photostream)
Apparently, Martha Stewart’s daughter, Alexis, 40, has penned a new book detailing her tough life with Mom. It’s set for release on October 18, just before Halloween, but the real horror may be the pushback Alexis gets as a result of her “charges.”
For instance, Alexis talks about how she had to gift-wrap her own Christmas gifts as a child. Now, imagine: A child handed a stack of boxes and directed, “Wrap these…. but don’t look inside.”
This particularly resonated with me because I was given that job. That’s right, my mother corralled me in my parents’ downstairs bedroom where I’d wrap the entire family’s gifts. This was my job every Christmas from the time I was 8, and since there were 4 of us kids, that meant a lot of wrapping.
Only I didn’t consider it a penance. In fact, I loved seeing what everybody (but me) was getting ahead of time. And let’s face it: By 8, I had no more illusions about the kindly, fat old man in the red suit who allegedly delivers gifts all over the world.
What else does Alexia say ‘didn‘t happen‘ in the Martha household? On Halloween, that most hallowed of holidays for kids, Mom Martha turned the lights out in their apartment and they hunkered down, on the couch, pretending no one was home. My reaction to that? “So what?” It’s not like Martha said “Go out, Alexis, and beg candy from every stranger you can find.”
To my mind, Mom’s almost-agoraphobic reaction to the night when kids legally harass their neighbors is appropriate She kept her daughter with her (didn’t farm her out to others) and she didn’t leave her alone like many do today. If she chose to avoid the army of costume-fitted kids, that was her business.
As for that refrigerator being conspicuously ‘empty,’ devoid of the culinary treats that would make Martha famous (another charge), I can only say: “You don’t know your audience, Alexis,” for many of us were single parents. I raised my own daughter on a paycheck that limped along by the second week. That’s when my daughter and I made do with a Poor Man’s Diet of mac and cheese and P&J sandwiches. We just never considered the lack of culinary treats a travesty.
In the real world, what you reference as ‘abuse’ are High-Class Problems.
Finally, Alexis, your scorching the earth with Mom’s ‘inappropriate’ bathroom behavior’ of leaving the door open? Poor taste on your part. Her behavior probably comes from all those years she needed to pee, but still had to watch you as a tot. When there’s no one else on the scene, decorum gets side-lined. We other mothers know that.
It’s just that most daughters don’t write about it.
And that’s what I’m saying here, Alexis: Stop vilifying your Mom.
Most of us believe your Mom did little wrong in this life and I include that stint for which she did prison time, a far- too-severe punishment for ‘lying.’ She just never learned she can’t act like a man in this man’s world.
In the end, Martha Stewart is not the ‘Mommy Dearest’ of-wire-coat-hangers-in-the-night or the one who forced another child to eat the same meal for several days on end. Joan Crawford deserves that dishonor.
Instead, Whateverland: Learning to Live Here sounds like it’s written by a petulant child (a spoiled one at that) who’s found her adult voice. Another problem? It doesn’t resonate with the reading audience, for we see Martha as a woman of enormous talent, who rose to dizzying heights, in an era that squelched ambition in women. If she’s got some wacky idiosyncrasies, she joins us all.
So, stop your whining, Alexis, pick up your sullied dignity, and leave….But don’t let the (bathroom) door slam on your way out.” We find your disloyalty to the woman who raised you the real bummer…
Maybe Martha can write about that in her next book.