She Decided What She Wanted; Then She Got It

Laura Z. Hobson

Image of Laura Z Hobson taken from www.goodreads.com

I have been an appeaser at times in my life (although some of my closest peeps might right now frown in disbelief): declining to proceed; acceding to the louder, maybe more threatening, voice; trying to keep the ground stable and preserve the party’s peace. But even as I was trying gracefully to forgo my deepest wishes, I fiercely admired those who determined just exactly what they wanted and plunged ahead in pursuit.

That’s one of the things–and that’s in addition to her lyrical writing–that I admire about Laura Z Hobson; that’s why I was so excited to read her memoir, Laura Z.

Imagine: the well-heeled late 1930’s and early 1940’s in the USA—with people so well-behaved, on the surface, anyway. A glamorous woman with a lucrative career in advertising and a couple of failed relationships, Hobson decides she doesn’t want to give up her dream of parenting just because she isn’t married. She does her research, and she finds an adoption agency in the Midwest that looks like it might extend some hope to a single woman wishing to adopt.

She goes there, and she charms them. Her first child, Mike, is adopted.

I suspect that Laura Z’s charm was formidable. She got away with a lot, and she gathered firm supporters along the way.

Her second son, Christopher, was also adopted,–adopted AND biological. When Hobson realized that she was finally, miraculously, pregnant as a result of a brief affair that ran its course, she made fast, firm plans. She spent the last three months of her pregnancy in a tiny apartment, hidden in New York City, leaving for her doctor’s appointments early in the mornings (her doctor’s doorman, even, was in on the secret, and he would guard her car from patrolling police officers should she have to double park to run in for her checkup) before other patients would arrive. She shopped behind dark glasses. She left her son Mike with his devoted nanny, Rose, to celebrate his birthday and Christmas by themselves.

Then she delivered her baby son under an assumed name, gave him into the care of an agency for several weeks, and went to court to adopt him.

“Committing fraud on the legal system???” says my shocked attorney husband, but the judges and the lawyer seemed to know the real skinny and collude in circumventing their society’s rules about birth and wedlock.

What a story; what a plot! Holy cow.

Laura Z went on to write Gentlemen’s Agreement; the conception and creation of the novel, the buried anti-Antisemitism she encountered in its ‘birthing,’ and her ultimate triumph, shape the last part of her autobiography. Before that, she walks us through her unconventional childhood with socialist– but NOT communist, she notes firmly–Russian emigrant parents, a twin sister who was very, very different than she, a house built backwards to save on architect’s fees, and brothers so far ahead in age they almost seemed part of a different family. She lived many of the events I delighted in reading about in First Papers, taking nine Regents in the span of four days to earn a college scholarship, and bucking the family tide, which wanted to put her in a teacher’s ed program. (First Papers, a novel I discovered as a teen and have re-visited many times since, is one of the best books I’ve ever read.)

She DID go to college. She DID become wealthy. She DID achieve a glamorous lifestyle in a surprising, unorthodox way.

Some of that unorthodox behavior shocks my middle class heart. Hobson writes about leaving little Mike, and later, little Mike and little Chris, for long, long stretches. They were in the care of a loving and competent person, but it still hurts my maternal middle class sense of propriety to picture her putting the boys on a train to the East Coast and then spinning around to pursue a Hollywood script-writing career.

She made it all work, though, she reports, as she brings us, in Laura Z, to the surprise triumph of Gentleman’s Agreement–well, she assures us that she made it work, and she is a wonderful teller of tales. I have to research and see if she ever wrote the second half of her history, wrote about the years during which she fictionalized Chris’s secret birth and then wrote also about her realization, as he aged, that her son was a homosexual in a world not too terribly friendly to gay folks.That story became a novel, too.

Laura Z never denied her Jewish, agnostic, Socialist roots; she never let her roots or society’s bias against them–or anything else–deter her from what she pursued: motherhood, a compelling story, a lifestyle that defied convention. Sometimes I’m a little shocked, sometimes a little puzzled, and sometimes I want to cheer along with her, but always, in reading Laura Z, I am compelled and entertained.

(First posted on my book blog: https://wordpress.com/post/pamkirst2014.wordpress.com/101)

#authorstory

#weekly

#Authorstory call

Just over a year ago, on 6th January 2016, @sashay909 got the ball rolling with the first in a series of feature posts called ‘Authors who made History’. That wonderful post featured the legendary William Shakespeare.

Thank you @piyushavir for confirming you’re ok for us to try and take your challenge forward, if anyone wishes to join in and maybe add to ideas or issue new small challenges within the theme. So I’m also sharing this extract (from my latest blogpost taking part in coolbeans’ MonthlyLookAhead…) Continue reading

#400yearsofshakespeare, #authorstory, #blogging101, #inspiration, #shakespeare, #writing101

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all – and since we’re not meant to publish loads of pictures here in order not to slow the site down, here’s a link to my Christmas photo post:

Christmas Lights on the Cutty Sark

This forum seems a bit dead recently…

…so in addition to wishing you all a merry Christmas, this is a wake-up call – in case any of you would like to continue here, it might be a good new year’s resolution to return here to post and chat again.

So I hope you will forgive me for tagging you all (I will not keep doing this):

@21timetraveler @adriennea3 @anandartist @ananyabha @anushababbar @anwyn84 @arpitastravelblog @avenscent @aventuraroxy @beckyaluoch @beckybwinch @bethanyaharvey @bharath10291 @brendablagdon @camelliasentry @cathylynnbrooks @colettebates @continuingwithme @createtoenchant @cthisnthat @dalees107 @darshith0000 @devilrockz @dawnmarie823 @divorcinganarc @drmegsorick @feelings161 @fictionalkevin @foodeezjunction @fjjjuneau @francescabergamasco @freakreborn @garthmr @garyloggins @getyourlenson @graceanneoscar @gutsy4 @haripriyakm @himadas @iamabloggertoo @hlindschinger @iamdonovan @icerene01 @insomniacbee @indira2412 @ishitarc1908 @ivanproust @jahnavichintakunta @jaipurthrumylens @jdjung @jenmotivates12 @jennifernicholewells @jessmcombs @joseelavallee @jsackmom @justdreadfull @koolitzable @kristinavanhoos @laduchessederat @laikassuvaikais @lilacsky22 @lulaharp @lyndapoysor @maddy1953 @maidsdayoff @meloheart @missams35 @mkjackie99 @mumbletymuse @myesteriousgirlneerja @myusername432 @nandininautiyal @niciacruz @niyati16 @notionlux @ohmyglai @oliveole @onetarhayes @pamkirst2014 @piyushavir @raforbeginners @ranu802 @revrumblefish @robertmgoldstein @rugwed @sadhanacs @sandeept252 @santoshnc @sashay909 @sasmiths1112 @sheridanj2015 @shinepositivepower @sirtonix @srinathtk86 @stanito @startingtheclimb @sumitagrawal01 @surbhisachdeva89 @suzannebowditch @theanonymoustalker @thedesivagabond @thegeneviever @thepreciouslifeofprecious @vellissima @vikrambishla @vnajac @wanderlaur @wanderlusteternal @welshshortbread @whatsandrathinks @wordsfromarifa @worthinessambassador @wynstep @xaranahara

If I missed anybody out, my apologies, you all were meant to be included!

#Authorstory – index & call for volunteers

(‘Authors Who Made History’ in progress, perhaps  …  please feel free to add a blog link to share a relevant current or past post of your own here if you wish.)

In the meantime, would anyone like to post for this feature during November (16th? 23rd? 30th?) or December? Your article can be any word-length and does not have to be a formal ‘essay’ style for this feature providing it is a ‘complete’ post. Please use the #authorstory tag. Images used in your post could be your own, or otherwise Commons or fair use compliant and clearly credited with the image source. There should be a clear policy here somewhere confirming your usual standard intellectual property rights as contributing/author members (see also final paragraph in this post). WordPress, BloggingU and commons type guidelines and founding principles apply. (Thanks 🙂

Latest #Shutterbug Showcase call for volunteers can be found here. NB: This ‘feature’ includes the potential for writing responses to the prompt and not only as a ‘photopost’.

@piyushavir – are you still available ‘on call’ as per sidebar info? hope all is well with you. ALSO Did you previously express an interest in posting a fave/rec. author for this and you wanting today/any other? Apologies if I’m mixing you up with someone else and no worries if you are too busy but please can you indicate your anticipated response time. (PS – thanks to whomever for sorting @admin issue earlier)

Link URLs indexed below to #authorstory posts featured previously:

Continue reading

#as, #blogging101, #writing101

For F-sake-Friday

Today in England (Britain/Brutain/UK?) is 4Fawkes-sake-Friday! A special evening indeed, the first night following Diwali, whereby fireworks, firelight and even tealight-type celebrations were withheld from all public areas other than those supported by one or few local BBC radio station events (apparently). Not quite tonight being Firework Night (as that’s tomorrow), I’m here while resting in bed taking up a belated challenge while enjoying some recommended listening, hoping those plenty near-off noises are only fireworks and not mortar fire(!) Sparing, our few thoughts for those global neighbours in the vicinity of such atrocities as war and violations of civilian life – and resisting the evil influences of political propogandas whilst we have no way of knowing…

The first Friday of each month we have this thing titled ‘3Quotes’ within our sidebar thing titled ‘Friday Special Feature’ and the weekly features page. @piyushavir these pages are in need of at least setting to private members view only please while active members can perhaps manage front-end with only open-forum structure in the meantime please? Also, @sashay909 – hoping that you are happy for the generic clip-art logo and font-over placement that you created for Blogger’s World to remain as forum visual branding for community benefit? Much appreciation for your DTP skills in creating such a strong identifier (and assuming all members have and remain happy with this logo?)

Of course you can all gladly vote me off membership and I’ll visit and only use comment spaces if that’s more appropriate support and of greater benefit to the wider community… however…

Recommended reading #1 https://blogging101alumni.wordpress.com/about/

Continue reading

Back on Popular Demand!

(All right, somebody reminded me.)

Shutterbug Showcase aka the Thursday Photopost is open for volunteers for November and December.

Available dates:

November

3 November: @colettebates

10 November:

17 November:

24 November:

December

1 December:

8 December:

15 December:

22 December:

29 December:

Tag me @arwen1968 if you’re interested!

Tagging all of you as a reminder that the challenge is open to everyone, photographers or not! 🙂 Apologies if I missed out anyone. And also as this place most definitely needs a wake-up call!

@21timetraveler, @adriennea3, @anandartist, @ananyabha, @anushababbar, @anwyn84,@arpitastravelblog, @avenscent, @aventuraroxy, @beckyaluoch, @beckybwinch, @bethanyaharvey,@brendablagdon, @camelliasentry, @cathylynnbrooks, @colettebates, @continuingwithme,@createtoenchant, @cthisnthat, @dalees107, @darshith0000, @dawnmarie823, @devilrockz, @divorcinganarc,@drmegsorick, @feelings161, @fictionalkevin, @fjjjuneau, @foodeezjunction, @francescabergamasco,@freakreborn, @garthmr, @garyloggins, @getyourlenson, @graceanneoscar, @haripriyakm, @himadas,@hlindschinger, @iamabloggertoo, @iamdonovan, @icerene01, @indira2412, @insomniacbee, @ishitarc1908,@indira2412, @ivanproust, @jahnavichintakunta, @jaipurthrumylens, @jdjung, @jenmotivates12,@jessmcombs, @joseelavallee, @jsackmom, @justdreadfull, @koolitzable, @kristinavanhoos,@laduchessederat, @laikassuvaikais, @lilacsky22, @lulaharp, @lyndapoysor, @maddy1953, @maidsdayoff,@meloheart, @meontheroad00, @missams35, @mkjackie99, @mumbletymuse, @myesteriousgirlneerja,@myusername432, @nandininautiyal, @neatusername, @niciacruz, @nikissimplelife, @niyati16, @notionlux,@ohmyglai, @oliveole, @onetarhayes, @pamkirst2014, @piyushavir, @raforbeginners, @ranu802,@revrumblefish, @robertmgoldstein, @rugwed, @sadhanacs, @sandeept252, @santoshnc, @sashay909,@sasmiths1112, @sheridanj2015, @shinepositivepower, @sirtonix, @srinathtk86, @stanito,@startingtheclimb, @sumitagrawal01, @surbhisachdeva89, @suzannebowditch, @theanonymoustalker,@thedesivagabond, @thegeneviever, @thepreciouslifeofprecious, @vellissima, @vikrambishla, @vnajac,@wanderlaur, @wanderlusteternal, @welshshortbread, @whatsandrathinks, @wordscoffeeandlacedresses, @wynstep, @xaranahara

#photopost

Nominations for Tuesday Trivia

Hello everybody,
I have been given the opportunity to be the Schedule Incharge for Tuesday Trivia. I can’t explain how excited I am.
So, this is a shout out for all you beautiful members of Bloggers world. Please nominate yourself for the Tuesday Trivia feature. Since I try to nominate myself every month for this feature, I should confess it is really fun trying to find a few fun facts. Everybody should try it once.
Awaiting your response and nominations for 6th, 13th,20th, and 27th September.
Have a great week ahead.
@anwyn84 @ananyabha @anandartist @ishitarc1908 @feelings161 @graceanneoscar @myusername432 @drmegsorick @sashay909 @piyushavir @pamkirst2014 @meloheart @colettebates @myesteriousgirlneerja @darshith0000 @surbhisachdeva89 @haripriyakm @lulaharp @iamdonovan @vikrambishla @cthisnthat @mkjackie99 @arwen1968 @niciacruz @yentll02 @robertmgoldstein @21timetraveler @thelink19 @adriennea3 @raniamanda @infobloomer @agord2015 @beckybwinch @kokoboocro