Monday, September 29, 2008

Cheaper by the Dozen - Wrap-up

Cheaper by the Dozen is such a deceptive book! I remember reading it for the first time.

I remember reading it ten years after that, and discovering there were sequels.

And reading it along with Lillian Gilbreth's biography with my book group a couple of years ago was just a revelation. Cheaper just opened like a flower after that. There was so much more than just learning how to touch type, or burying a coffin of pens in the sand. These were real people who went on to have real lives. And in Lillian's case, went on to have really, really important lives. (When Lillian had a severe auto accident, the surgeon was getting ready to demand that this widowed mother of twelve pay for her surgery up-front. That's when the flowers from President Hoover arrived.)

The Twelve's childhood seems almost fairy-tale to us. (I'm not suggesting their childhood was overly simple or overly good - think of some of the fairy tales, and tell me if you'd really like to live like that!) Their lives then seem to have been huge and exciting and involved.

And, their later lives seem so "normal" and uneventful. Do you supposed the original Twelve had anything like PTSD? What would it have been like to marry and move out, and suddenly be in a house with just two of you?

I love reading and re-reading Cheaper. It's always good for a chuckle, and Lillian then inspires me to aspire to greater things.

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