It chronicled how 8 graduates of an all-woman's college navigated life post graduation. With sex (especially in those days) and suicide, it was a best-seller. Of course, McCarthy was vilified. Here, Vanity Fair dishes the dirt.
What has been needed was a supplement to "The Group." It would track the emotional, social, and work lives of graduates of all-women colleges as they aged.
In my head, since 2012, I have been doing just that.
For example, I assess Hillary Clinton.
The universe doesn't seem to be smiling on her, not in a long time.
Conservative media, like Drudge Report, have created the meme that she has stayed too long.
Would she have managed her career more brilliantly and orchestrated a graceful exit like Johnny Carson had her alma mater been a coed institution of higher learning such as the University of Chicago?
And, had I matriculated at coed Rutgers in Newark, New Jersey, I might not have craved the prestige associated with Harvard Law School. Going there in my early 40s was downright cartoonish. And a trauma.
Here is my own peculiar story.
The year "The Group" was published, I became a freshman at all-female Roman Catholic Seton Hill, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The first night in the dorm my roommates and I shared fudge and insecurities.
We knew we had to get through freshman biology and find husbands and we doubted we could do one, never mind both. Our weight was also a major issue.
Biology went okay. I never got the hang of managing a healthy male-female intimate relationship. During those 4 years, I was fat-shamed by the head of the English Department.
By graduation, though, we were convinced we were smart enough to not make the mistakes our mothers had.
Most of us arranged our little lives so we wouldn't have to return home. For me that was accepting a fellowship to a doctoral program. That was a bad investment of five years of my life. Yet, that didn't stop me from plowing so much of myself to be admitted to Harvard Law later in the mid 1980s.
But, at 22, continuing with school seemed to me my only option. It probably was.
Back then, I was unequipped on how to put together a life different from what I had grown up in and the values transmitted at Seton Hill. And, in my 40s, I have a hunch I was still suffering from arrested development. That could explain the bizarre side trip to Harvard Law.
It turned out we the Class of 1967 weren't so smart, after all.
Soon enough there were an almost-suicide, lots of nervous breakdowns, brittle marriages, betrayals of friendships, and severe difficulty in getting a career launched. No one I knew, including myself, was okay. But, it could have been I just traveled in dysfunctional circles.
Today, I wonder if we ever really healed from the traumas of such dashed high expectations. In our late 60s, I had the misfortune of catching up with some of my former classmates. My activity on social media had drawn them in. Or, maybe I drew them in out of curiosity.
Most had become boring. For example, on Facebook, they were preoccupied with grandchildren and complained about driving in the snow.
Too many had turned into our mothers: Advice-driven and sharp-tongued.
For instance, before I relocated from the New York area to the southwest one emailed me: Don't bring any baggage.
Another censured me for being so independent. Someday I would realize I needed others.
All that had been a painful surprise. After all, collectively our generation had been through so much. I assumed that would be a bonding device.
No continuing education course had given us guidance how to manage becoming invisible in a society so age-biased. Even though I am still operating a business, at social events it is as if I am not there. Millennials look through me. Hillary gets less and less attention. And, that she does, reinforces how differently she looks from even 10 years ago.
Eventually, after brief encounters of the brutal kind, most of us from the Class of 1967 shut down the communications. I even pulled down my Facebook page in May 2014. Incidentally, research by Piper Jeffrey confirms Facebook is for old people. 47% of teens are on Snap.
In a fit of nostalgia (beware that pull to a memory of what might or might not have been a more blissful time) this month I had sent notes to a former roommate and an upperclassman. Of course, they didn't respond. To my sponsor in a recovery program I admitted, "Boy, did I make a mistake contacting anyone from those days."
Chastened, I have returned full-time to the MO which got me through a life I never anticipated living. That entails working as a ghostwriter, observing trends, taking day trips with the dog, and joining oddball psychic organizations. Several of the latter want to hire me to do paid psychic readings. They claim: You have the gift.
Of course, I continue to speculate if my life would have been less difficult had I gone to a coed university back in my native land of NJ? Did I receive the wrong set of directions in an all-woman's college in rural PA for how the world really worked? On the other hand, I recognize I had to run away from home.
Reflection: Hillary might have been less inward-looking had she been just another student at a big old coed institution of higher learning. I might have come to accept myself sooner.
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