My Italian aunts were short and wide and wore flowery housecoats that snapped up the front.
They looked a bit like overstuffed chairs but I say that in the nicest way.
I associate them with Mary Tyler Moore even though they weren’t ever independent career girls with perky hair. But they told me, every Sunday afternoon, that I could be in that charmed club. They never stopped encouraging me, reminding me that I’d make it too.
Last night, I saw Lily Tomlin at the theater. She followed her own road to fame. She lit up the stage for two hours, a smile too big for her face.
Who doesn’t like Ernestine, the uptight Bronx phone operator?
Or Edith Ann, the precocious five-year-old who sits in an oversized rocking chair offering philosophical pronouncements on everyday life?
Recently Ms. Tomlin was given a Lifetime Achievement Award. I can tell you, she’s not leaving the spotlight anytime soon.
At an age when most actresses struggle to get work, Tomlin is on a roll. Watch her in the movie, Grandma.
She takes the lead as a broke, washed-up, lesbian poetry professor (very un-P.C.) who tries to raise $600 in one day, to pay for her granddaughter’s abortion.
I came to appreciate my aunts more and more over the years. Sterling women, just like Lily Tomlin. Honest and true, their warmth undeniable.
Tomlin closed the evening answering personal questions. Clearly a trailblazer, she’s got some dandy stories, stories no one can tell the way she can.
She waves goodnight and giggles. Her face breaks into an wry grin, just like when she’s about to slip into character.
Yep, she’s one of us, just way more interesting. And she made it. After all.