Sunday, August 17, 2008

Julia Child = Mrs. Pollifax

I think everyone is shocked by the news that Julia Child was a spy for the OSS.
My mother said to me, "Well she was a real-life Mrs. Pollifax!"
For those of you unfamiliar with Mrs. Pollifax, a series of books written by Dorothy Gilman, here are some links.
I adore these books and have read them many times.
Mrs. Pollifax is an elderly woman whose children are grown. Living in New Brunswick, New Jersey and feeling almost suicidal with no future direction to her life except taking care of her geraniums, she goes to the CIA and volunteers to be a spy. Because of a mix-up at the agency, they actually send her out on assignment.
Through the years Mrs. Pollifax has been sent on missions all over the world. One of the historical elements of the books is that many were written in the late 1960s and 1970s during the Cold War, so the spy missions Mrs. Pollifax goes on reflect the real-world situation at the time.
The Mrs. Pollifax series was also loved by the great Rosalind Russell, whose final film was Mrs. Pollifax, Spy co-starring Darren McGavin.
It wasn't how I pictured the book, when is it ever, but I adore Roz and think she's a wonderful actress, so I can forgive our Mame.
If you haven't read this series and you have a hurricane, blizzard or other natural disaster approaching your area, get to the library and check them out, but definitely try to read them in order.
Mrs. Pollifax is Zen, and apparently so was Julia Child.

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