A few good Edies: The Lonely Doll + Grey Gardens + My Family

When I was a little girl, one of my very favorite books was The Lonely Doll. There was something a little sad about Edith, who seemed to get in trouble and even spanked in the staged black and white photographs. I would continue to check this book out over and over again. Maybe I was a tad bit obsessed as I would pour over the photographs for countless hours.

So much so, that when I saw the story of Edith and her little bear friends at a book fair in the late 90s, I almost exploded. I was working for DoubleTake and the Houghton Mifflin representative let me have a copy of the pink and white check paper back book. As you pack up from those shows, you always want to leave with way less than when you arrived. Chances are people are passing out books left and right.

A few years later, I was even more excited to learn the details behind a few of my favorite childhood memories in The Secret Life of The Lonely Doll: The search for Dare Wright. Please check it out.

Little Edie at Grey Gardens in 1975.
Photo: Getty Images

I am sure that I was late coming to the cult following of Grey Gardens, a documentary capturing the lives of The Beales, Big Edie and Little Edie, a mother and daughter team who were first cousins of Jackie Bouvier. Thanks to Netflix, I caught up with the fervor a few years ago, when I finally received the little red envelope in the mail.

As with a majority of the Netflix movies I watch, the thesis of the film had several uncanny connections with what was going on my life right then. To put it bluntly, their home was falling apart as they continued to go on with their lives completely oblivious of their surroundings. By the end of the film, there was a raccoon, who frequently visit the home through a giant home in the wall.

The utter filth and squalor seemed to match that described to me of the home of my great-uncle, who shall remain nameless. (I have such a large family, it should take people a while to figure out who this is. Plus, he has since moved to assisted living, which he LOVES!) At the time, my father had become obsessed and would spend all of his free time trying to help relieve him of the trash. I must admit there was some irony, since this is the same man who likes to check my trash to make sure I’m not throwing away a gem of information.

I tried to describe the movie and how incredibly unbelievable it was to my mother. I was home for the weekend and we made a failed attempt to find it at a few of the local video stores. And I must admit that I should have added it back to my Netflix queue and brought it home over one of the many holiday weekends since then.

I was excited to see the preview of the new HBO Film, Grey Gardens, which will make its debut this Saturday night. And yesterday afternoon, while working in the studio, I caught Drew Barrymore on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Be sure to check out this compelling story. It is almost like a car crash. You can’t help but watch regardless of how bizarre it gets. I can’t wait to check out some of the back story of their lives before the decay of their surroundings. Enjoy!

And how could I write this without mentioning my very favorite Edie of them all, my grandmother – Edith Watts Merritt. I believe that she is the source of any anti-aging genes I may have, including any ounce of beauty and grace. Thanks, Grandma! I love you.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    hey thank you for this wonderful post and for your ever refreshing views on life. I look forward to watching Grey Gardens with you!

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