I was alone for almost a year at the age of eight. Mono and a myriad of other illnesses caused by it left me stuck inside a house for almost a year (that was the solution to everything in the late sixties — stay inside).
What that time allowed me to do was create brand new friends. No, not the ones roller skating outside and biking without me. I hated them. My NEW friends. Great friends like Ann Marie on “That Girl,” and Samantha on “Bewitched.”
Ann Marie was my favorite. She grew up in a secure, small town where little girls didn’t get mono and your neighbors didn’t rob you (another story). In Brewster, New York, everything was perfect.
She then went to New York City to get her big break. I loved her million dollar apartment and all of her outfits. I spent years looking for purses hanging from a chain because that’s what Ann Marie wore in every episode.
I tried to get my eyelashes to look like hers one day with globs of my mom’s mascara, not realizing Ann’s were fake. I couldn’t open my eyes for eight hours.
I didn’t want to be an actress, but I did want to be a writer and that role was filled by Donald, the boyfriend. I never understood her attraction to him, but I loved that he wrote for a magazine.
Marlo Thomas would not let the writers have Donald and Ann get married at the end of the series, because she didn’t want women to feel they had to get married to be fulfilled. I love her for that as well.
How close am I to being “That Girl?” Well, maybe I never found the perfect chain purse or the million dollar apartment, but I have my own business and blogs, and my daughter is moving to New York City to write for magazines.
So, thank you Marlo Thomas and Ann Marie for letting young girls know that they can do more than find a man and get facelifts. You taught us that women get to conquer the world and make an important difference in the world. And let’s face it, all of us want to be “That Dame.”