Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Help yourself to The Help


If you’ve not already, read The Help. Not only will you find the novel enjoyable, but you’ll never sample dessert in quite the same way. Seriously, though, I recommend the novel to anyone who wants a good read and who wants to ponder what life was like not long ago when husbands of housewives like me paid hired help to raise their children and take care of their homes. (The wives, in the meantime, enjoyed playing cards and discussing women’s issues – a.k.a. gossiping – leisurely.) 

Recently, I was reporting on a groundbreaking for a hospital and spoke to the only native local at the event. As often happens in the south, we got to talking about the past. I asked him what he thought about the groundbreaking and about the changes our town has undergone during the last decade. (I remember this local once saying he was tired of having to drive to a neighboring town when he needed a screw. Since then, Walmart located to town, alleviating that particular hassle for him.) Anyhow, he remembered when choices of physicians were limited and hospitals were segregated. The remark caught me off guard, perhaps because my early childhood was not in the south where racial issues still simmer. But also because I had difficulty imagining segregated hospitals – yet this was the norm – and not so long ago.

Thinking of the changes this man has witnessed and reading The Help makes me wonder what changes and cultural shifts I’ll see in my lifetime. And, it makes me wonder if my grandchildren will be appalled at anything I’m doing or believe.

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