Archives

Vintage Clothing and Sex: I Have Written A Novel

DAHLINGS –

You probably do not believe that your faithful correspondent is capable of Deep Thoughts.  (Indeed, some have expressed that in this blog-thing quite loudly).  However, 2011 and 2012 have found me with much on my mind.  Which gives me terrible headaches.
My darling readers have probably been wondering, “What is that fabulous woman doing, that she is not here tending to our fashion and plus-size needs?  Where is she when we need famous people dressing up criticized?”

You may gasp in disbelief, but I have written a novel, “The Abortionist’s Daughter.” Your faithful scrivener was tempted to say that it was written by someone else, but one has to stand by one’s principles (and admit that one is a truly amazing writer, as you all know). 

As was said by another, “She who doth not toot her own horn, her horn shall not be tooted.” And of course I want my horn tooted.

As you can probably tell from my interests, the descriptions of the clothes are luscious, written by an author with an understanding of Fashion In The True Sense.   Silks, satins, drool-worthy beribboned hats, robes with crystal pleating, cotton voile dresses.  From my own experience as an actress,(something my dear darling Mama did her best to forget), the backstage scenes, populated with delightful characters, have been called “wonderfully entertaining.”
Ziegfeld Follies star Dolores, by Geisler
The novel’s backstory is: in 1910, Dr. Horace Daniels is sent to prison for accidentally killing a woman while aborting her fourteenth child.  Women had no access to birth control or knowledge about their own bodies.  The only contraception for women was refusing to have relations.  It almost reads like a harbinger of today’s sexual politics and the steady stripping of the rights of women. 

Medical technology has advanced light years, but the morality and small-mindedness of many have not.

Six years later, his rebellious daughter, Melanie was once the most eligible girl in the tiny Adirondack village.  At 23 she faces the prospect of being an “old maid” and spending the rest of her life living with her disgraced parents. The alternative is marrying a younger boy who is infatuated with her. 

In 1916, the notion that a woman could be independent was nearly unthinkable.  When she meets James, a traveling salesman, she allows him to seduce her.  (The scenes were a little graphic to write, but well, modern times and all that. Besides, I discovered the joys of writing smut.) Melanie agrees to run away with him to New York.

Once in New York, Melanie finds that James has other lovers, including a Broadway star, Gladys Dumbrille.  James is not at all what he seems, in fact he is a great deal worse.  Melanie is drawn into a web of intrigue and lies.  She herself lies to get into a show,”Almonds for Clarissa,” that Gladys is in.  The world of the theater is glorious to Melanie, although most of the glamour is onstage.  She becomes a “dress extra,” the term for actresses who wear their own clothes. Melanie befriends Mercedes La Fay (real name: Betty Ogden), a lively chorus girl who “shows her the ropes.”

Ann Pennington, dancer
However, no matter what Melanie does or where she goes, she cannot escape her past as the doctor’s daughter.  The tale is filled with tough choices, the personal politics of abortion, and yours truly paints a vivid portrait of the era.  

Always wanting to present my very best for you, I researched this tome at the New-York Historical Society, the Adirondack Museum, and of course my own fashion archives.

It has received wonderful reviews on Amazon, where it is available for sale on Kindle.

You can buy the novel here: The Abortionist’s Daughter by Elisa DeCarlo

Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher

Advertisements

How Planned Parenthood Saved Me

In the wake of the Komen Foundation’s baffling decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood, I decided to reprint this entry from May 2011.

DAHLINGS –

I do not dwell in the past, but the battles over the reproductive rights of women compel me to reveal a few pertinent facts. Planned Parenthood was the only resource when I was a young woman–a young, upper-middle class woman with a good education and family background–that helped women of every class and nationality, in confidence.Today Planned Parenthood is so often presented (not always transparently) as a program that is targeted at minorities and encourages promiscuity.

THAT IS SO IDIOTIC THAT IT DEFIES BELIEF!

Ahem.

It is not a matter of pro-life/pro-choice, it is a matter of WOMAN CONTROLLING THEIR REPRODUCTIVE DESTINIES RATHER THAN THEIR REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEMS CONTROLLING THEM. It is about women’s health, not only abortion. Contraception, family planning, prenatal care.

What, in God’s name, is so hard to understand about that? Oh, pardonnez moi, 95% of the politicians voting to cut funding are male. It’s not going to have an impact on their day to day lives. ONLY ALL OF THE WOMEN IN THEIR CONSTITUENCY!!!As the Reverend Debra Haffner writes: “Access to maternal health care, contraception and family planning services can and should be available to all women, regardless of nationality, geography, economic status or other factors. “http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-debra-haffner/celebrate-mothers-locally_b_858048.html

I am not used to being outraged, dear readers, but this is simply too much to bear. My story, in brief. When I was a young woman, I was extremely attractive to the opposite sex. (Thank goodness some things never change.)

As my dear darling Mama had taught me, I was religious about birth control. I never had unprotected sex.

At 21, I missed several periods. I was panicked. I couldn’t tell anyone. I was afraid to tell my ob/gyn. Partly because I was 21 and things like this were not supposed to happen to moi.

Pregnancy happened to careless, low-class women. Never to moi.

The only option was to go to the Planned Parenthood clinic in New York City, although I lived outside the city at the time. I was examined, and the doctor told me the most beautiful words in the world:”You’re not pregnant.”

The burden fell off my shoulders, and I resumed my life, both practical and romantic. Again, I was religious about birth control. Perhaps my taste in partners was occasionally lacking, but not my protection of myself. It happened again. This time with all of the symptoms that went along with being enciente. I was still young, unmarried, with absolutely no desire for children. What could have gone wrong? I was so careful!

Again, I sought out Planned Parenthood. Again, it was a false alarm. Faithful readers, if an abortion had been called for either time, I would have had one in a heartbeat. I was far too young, far too inexperienced, with no interest in having a child. I would have been a terrible mother. Je ne regrette rien. It happened once again, in the weeks before my marriage. We knew we couldn’t afford to have a baby. My fiance was in school. Abortion was our only option. We were devastated, but it would have been the only feasible choice. Again, Planned Parenthood. Again, a false alarm.

Years later I researched a novel (yes, your faithful correspondent has some skeletons in her past, including some unpublished novels) about a young woman whose father is an abortionist, circa 1916. The lack of women’s choices in those days, both in love and in work, fascinated me. (Also I adored the clothes, a major component in writing an historical novel. At least for moi.)For research, I went to the Planned Parenthood main office and archives. These were in the days before the loonies started destroying the material–although it had just started.

Over the weeks I read dozens of articles, personal stories, medical journals, etc. All described the horror of life before accessible birth control. Back alley abortions, suicide, women chained in unhappy marriages, women literally unable to STOP having children whether they wanted to or not. Millions of unwanted children raised by miserable or cold, uncaring mothers. Fathers trapped in jobs because they had so many mouths to feed.


“Down With The Abortion Clause” Kathe Kollwitz,1924


THERE WAS NO CHOICE. AT ALL. UNLESS YOU WANTED TO RISK DEATH.

Or join a convent, but that seems a tad extreme, don’t you think? Some members of the government dream of going back to that happy time! There is more to say upon the topic, but I shall save it for another entry. Dear readers, do not let the government slash Planned Parenthood funding. They help prevent more unwanted children coming into the world and the women without the money or too frightened to get the help they need.

Ciao,

Elisa & Fletcher

P.S. I still use birth control conscientiously. And recommend that my readers do the same. Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource.

How Planned Parenthood Saved Me

DAHLINGS –

I do not dwell in the past, but the battles over the reproductive rights of women compell me to reveal a few pertinent facts. Planned Parenthood was the only resource when I was a young woman–a young, upper-middle class woman with a good education and family background–that helped women of every class and nationality, in confidence.

Today Planned Parenthood is so often presented (not always transparently) as a program that is targeted at minorities and encourages promiscuity.

THAT IS SO IDIOTIC THAT IT DEFIES BELIEF!

Ahem.

It is not a matter of pro-life/pro-choice, it is a matter of WOMAN CONTROLLING THEIR REPRODUCTIVE DESTINIES RATHER THAN THEIR REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEMS CONTROLLING THEM.

What, in God’s name, is so hard to understand about that? Oh, pardonnez moi, 95% of the politicians voting to cut funding are male. It’s not going to have an impact on their day to day lives. ONLY ALL OF THE WOMEN IN THEIR CONSTITUENCY!!!

I am not used to being outraged, dear readers, but this is simply too much to bear.

My story, in brief. When I was a young woman, I was extremely attractive to the opposite sex. (Thank goodness some things never change.) As my dear darling Mama had taught me, I was religious about birth control. I never, ever had unprotected sex.

At 21, I missed several periods. I was panicked. I couldn’t tell anyone. I was afraid to tell my ob/gyn. Partly because I was 21 and things like this were not supposed to happen to me. Pregnancy happened to careless, low-class women. Never to me.

The only option was to go to the Planned Parenthood clinic in New York City, although I lived just outside the city at the time. I was examined, and the doctor told me the most beautiful words in the world:

“You;re not pregnant.”

The burden fell off my shoulders, and I resumed my life, both practical and romantic. Again, I was religious about birth control. Perhaps my taste in partners was occasionally lacking, but not my protection of myself.

It happened again. This time with all of the symptoms that went along with being enciente. I was still young, unmarried, with absolutely no desire for children. What could have gone wrong? I was so careful!

Again, I sought out Planned Parenthood. Again, it was a false alarm.

Faithful readers, if an abortion had been called for either time, I would have had one in a heartbeat.

I was far too young, far too inexperienced, with no interest in having a child. I would have been a terrible mother. Je ne regrette rien.

It happened once again, in the weeks before my marriage. We knew we couldn’t afford to have a baby. My fiance was in school. Abortion was our only option. We were devastated, but it would have been the only feasible choice. Again, Planned Parenthood. Again, a false alarm.

Cut to years later: I researched a novel (yes, your faithful correspondent has some skeletons in her past, including some unpublished novels) about a young woman whose father is an abortionist, circa 1916. The lack of women’s choices in those days, both in love and in work, fascinated me. (Also I adored the clothes, a major component in writing an historical novel. At least for moi.)

For research, I went to the Planned Parenthood main office and archives. These were in the days before the loonies started destroying the material–although it had just started. Over the weeks I read dozens of articles, personal stories, medical journals, etc.

All described the horror of life before accessible birth control. Back alley abortions, suicide, women chained in unhappy marriages, women literally unable to STOP having children whether they wanted to or not. Millions of unwanted children raised by miserable or cold, uncaring mothers. Fathers trapped in jobs because they had so many mouths to feed.

“Down With The Abortion Clause”
Kathe Kollwitz,1924

THERE WAS NO CHOICE. AT ALL. UNLESS YOU WANTED TO RISK DEATH.

Or join a convent, but that seems a tad extreme, don’t you think?

Some members of the government dream of going back to that happy time. ???

There is more to say upon the topic, but I shall save it for another entry. Dear readers, do not let the government slash Planned Parenthood funding. It does not remove the consequences of sex and leave the women free and clear. It prevents more unwanted children coming into the world and women without the money or too frightened to get the help they need.

Ciao,

Elisa & Fletcher

How Planned Parenthood Saved Me

DAHLINGS –

I do not dwell in the past, but the battles over the reproductive rights of women compell me to reveal a few pertinent facts. Planned Parenthood was the only resource when I was a young woman–a young, upper-middle class woman with a good education and family background–that helped women of every class and nationality, in confidence.

Today Planned Parenthood is so often presented (not always transparently) as a program that is targeted at minorities and encourages promiscuity.

THAT IS SO IDIOTIC THAT IT DEFIES BELIEF!

Ahem.

It is not a matter of pro-life/pro-choice, it is a matter of WOMAN CONTROLLING THEIR REPRODUCTIVE DESTINIES RATHER THAN THEIR REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEMS CONTROLLING THEM.

What, in God’s name, is so hard to understand about that? Oh, pardonnez moi, 95% of the politicians voting to cut funding are male. It’s not going to have an impact on their day to day lives. ONLY ALL OF THE WOMEN IN THEIR CONSTITUENCY!!!

As the Reverend Debra Haffner writes: “Access to maternal health care, contraception and family planning services can and should be available to all women, regardless of nationality, geography, economic status or other factors. “
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-debra-haffner/celebrate-mothers-locally_b_858048.html

I am not used to being outraged, dear readers, but this is simply too much to bear.

My story, in brief. When I was a young woman, I was extremely attractive to the opposite sex. (Thank goodness some things never change.) As my dear darling Mama had taught me, I was religious about birth control. I never, ever had unprotected sex.

At 21, I missed several periods. I was panicked. I couldn’t tell anyone. I was afraid to tell my ob/gyn. Partly because I was 21 and things like this were not supposed to happen to me. Pregnancy happened to careless, low-class women. Never to me.

The only option was to go to the Planned Parenthood clinic in New York City, although I lived just outside the city at the time. I was examined, and the doctor told me the most beautiful words in the world:

“You;re not pregnant.”

The burden fell off my shoulders, and I resumed my life, both practical and romantic. Again, I was religious about birth control. Perhaps my taste in partners was occasionally lacking, but not my protection of myself.

It happened again. This time with all of the symptoms that went along with being enciente. I was still young, unmarried, with absolutely no desire for children. What could have gone wrong? I was so careful!

Again, I sought out Planned Parenthood. Again, it was a false alarm.

Faithful readers, if an abortion had been called for either time, I would have had one in a heartbeat.

I was far too young, far too inexperienced, with no interest in having a child. I would have been a terrible mother. Je ne regrette rien.

It happened once again, in the weeks before my marriage. We knew we couldn’t afford to have a baby. My fiance was in school. Abortion was our only option. We were devastated, but it would have been the only feasible choice. Again, Planned Parenthood. Again, a false alarm.

Years later I researched a novel (yes, your faithful correspondent has some skeletons in her past, including some unpublished novels) about a young woman whose father is an abortionist, circa 1916. The lack of women’s choices in those days, both in love and in work, fascinated me. (Also I adored the clothes, a major component in writing an historical novel. At least for moi.)

For research, I went to the Planned Parenthood main office and archives. These were in the days before the loonies started destroying the material–although it had just started. Over the weeks I read dozens of articles, personal stories, medical journals, etc.

All described the horror of life before accessible birth control. Back alley abortions, suicide, women chained in unhappy marriages, women literally unable to STOP having children whether they wanted to or not. Millions of unwanted children raised by miserable or cold, uncaring mothers. Fathers trapped in jobs because they had so many mouths to feed.

“Down With The Abortion Clause”
Kathe Kollwitz,1924

THERE WAS NO CHOICE. AT ALL. UNLESS YOU WANTED TO RISK DEATH.

Or join a convent, but that seems a tad extreme, don’t you think?

Some members of the government dream of going back to that happy time.

???

There is more to say upon the topic, but I shall save it for another entry. Dear readers, do not let the government slash Planned Parenthood funding. They help prevent more unwanted children coming into the world and women without the money or too frightened to get the help they need.
Ciao,

Elisa & Fletcher

P.S. I still use birth control religiously. And recommend that my readers do the same. Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource.