Sunday, March 1, 2009

Girlfriends and ... Girlfriends

At left is an image of Joanna Moore. I was entranced by her as a child when she played Peg on The Andy Griffith Show. Her character was a nurse who came from a wealthy family in New Orleans. She was featured in a few episodes as Andy's love interest. I fell in love with her soft, smoky voice and Southern accent; and, of course, she was very beautiful. I so wanted her & Andy to get married.

Joanna Moore was truly a Southern girl; and the"smoky" voice was tragically appropos as she died from lung cancer. Her real life was not what I wished for Peg. She had a continuing drug and alcohol dependency which contributed to her declining health. She is notable for being the mother of Tatum O'Neal, who also has her chemical dependency problems; further, Tatum and her brother were removed from Miss Moore's care because of her addictions. Looking at this beautiful lady, I was crestfallen to learn one of my childhood heroes had come to such an ignominious, though human, end.

I far preferred Peg as Andy's girlfriend to Helen Crump who served in that capacity for many years. The aptly-named Miss Crump exemplified, to me, a nagging prig of a woman who seemed to have zero sense of humor. Though I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, I later came to feel Helen was gay. That would explain the tightly-controlled, simmering anger of a woman who either couldn't or wouldn't come out. I just wanted her to ditch Andy, already, and set up house with Betty Lou. Can you imagine coming out in Mayberry! Andy may have been the only person in that town who wouldn't march in the GLBT Pride parade. Lots of squelched feelings & passions in Peyton Place by the fishin' hole. After all, Aunt Bea and Miss Clara sure made a lot of pies and canned lots of pickles together. No symbolism there.

I'm keeping my girlhood denial: a little slice of Mayberry heaven wherein beautiful, Southern actresses win the heart of the noble Sheriff, and they live happily ever after.

And, maybe, eat some canned pickles and pie.

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