Some people read the death notices. I’m more interested in the life notices—birthdays. Olivia de Havilland turned 97 July 1st. Quite an accomplishment. If you go on Google maps you can see the neighborhood where she lives in Paris is one of those nice ones halfway out from the Arc d’ Triumphe, near a modern Congress building. (I’ve only been to Paris a couple of times but it’s not that hard to figure out there aren’t that many bad neighborhoods. They used to wash the streets every day in Paris.) So I posted that link on my Tumblr blog. Then I found a photo from when she played Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind, did the arithmetic and figured out she was 23 years old when that movie came out, so I posted that too and I put four tags on it. (Olivia de Havilland is the sole surviving star. Vivien Leigh, who was 25 when she played Scarlett O’Hara, died in 1967.)
“Olivia De Havilland played Melanie Wilkes in Gone With the Wind in 1939. She was 23 years old.” That was probably the shortest thing I ever posted on a blog. Although, considering how much I wondered around the Internet, I probably spent a half hour writing two sentences. I was pretty surprised to find out the next morning that a dozen people had commented on my post. Seven liked it, three reblogged and two commented. Jauquettirivers said “Happy Birthday to my favourite actress!!!!” using the English spelling and Chalchok: The Night Stalker said, “I feel like her being only 23 is kind of a big deal. And one that rarely gets mentioned. You star in one of the greatest movies of all time, get nominated for an Oscar, and you’re only 23.” The Night Stalker has a point. The female movie stars of that era were all in their 20s. The male stars were at least 10 years older. (Clarke Gable was 38.) But a large percentage of people died in their 50s then.
I went to Chalchok’s blog to follow her comment and found out that she suffers “from generational confusion, aka the belief I was born a generation or two too soon (damn you 1986). I'm an old person trapped in a younger person's body-and we both agree that I need to start running again. Or really, I'm a strange mashup of Virginia Cunningham, Catherine Sloper, and Charlotte Vale. Intrigued and/or confused? Good. Think of this as a fantastical extravaganza of epic proportions about my obsessions. Or someone with a very heightened sense of self.” I don’t know who Virginia Cunningham, Catherine Sloper, and Charlotte Vale are. So I decided to let this whole thing rest there at least for the time being, though I continue to blog at my semi-professional level.
I have posted 43 times now and I have had comments on other topics too like my nephew Ray Stasi who is in Navy SEAL training and the novelist Lionel Shriver, whose new book, “Big Brother,” prompted me to read her more well-known book, “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” I have six followers now, but only about 3-4 count.
But I get a kick out of going on Tumblr., I have to admit. The same way I pathetically look for Facebook likes and Twitter messages specifically addressed to me, or even vaguely about me. Like when I am in a photo with someone who is far younger and much more popular. I’m not sure what all this means, but my friend Denise says that social networking in our age group is just replacing long telephone conversations, which previously replaced long face-to-face conversations. We want to know what our friends are doing, just not necessarily only when they are available for one-on-one interaction.
So that’s what’s in Prime this time: ideas to start conversations you don’t necessarily have the availability to have. Just reblog.