Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tell Me, Mary Pickford.

I'd love to be able to call up my friend, Mary, and have her answer some of my lingering questions. Or better yet, drop in on her one afternoon and chat for a while.
After all the reading I've done about her, there are still a number of things I'd like to know -- little details that I've never seen in my research.
If only I weren't thirty-two years too late. It's like the regret we feel after a parent is gone, and we think of all the things we never talked about.

For one thing, how did a little girl, who spent her first eight years living in the Victorian slums in downtown Toronto, learn to horseback ride? When did that happen? And where?

We know she rode horses in her films. But before that, she had spent her childhood riding the rails, barnstorming across the States, appearing in plays in every little town that had a theatre. So, who taught her? When did she find the time to learn?

In her autobiography Mary mentions that she loved to read. As she thought about retiring from show business, spending more time with Buddy, her third husband, pictured with her here, she looked forward to relaxing at home and reading. What, I wonder, did she like to read?

Although she'd had no more than a few months' formal education, and her mother taught the three children while they were doing road tours, Mary always insisted that she'd learned to read from watching the billboards from the windows of the train.

I'm afraid that one question would just lead to another,  if ever I'd had the opportunity to talk to this fascinating woman.

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