Monday, April 12, 2010

Julia Sugarbaker

In the spring of 1987 the TV show ‘Designing Women’ was in its second season and my two brothers and my sister were at my house to celebrate my son’s birthday.

They were all gathered in the dining room. I was busy cooking in the kitchen.

As usual my brothers were teasing my sister. My sister wasn’t easy to get along with. She had “airs about her” my brother M would say. My sister was talking about an episode of ‘Designing Women’ where the beauty queen sister gets herself into trouble with some rich guy at the country club.

”Dianne loves that show” my brother J said. “I think Suzanne (beauty queen sister) is her favorite.” My sister said she assumed the “bitchy opinionated” older sister would be my favorite. I remember feeling my blood pressure rise and my hands clench into fists but I continued to cook.

M laughed and muttered something about my sister knowing way too much about “bitchy”. J, the youngest of us all – I’m the oldest – said his wife loved the beauty queen sister too.

”Dianne is Julia” M said. “They call her The Terminator on the show, come on, think about it, who does a rant better than Dianne? Who always tells people that they’re acting like dicks? Who always steps up?”

M – all the while laughing uncontrollably – told the story of the time I came to school and put his teacher firmly in her place after she wrongly accused him of stealing. “She told Mrs. K to get better glasses, stop picking on the boys and while she was at it, eat a mint. Her breath was as sour as her attitude.”

This reminded J of the night he got into trouble with the local tough guys. “She showed up carrying Jeffrey and looking like a wild woman. She threw names around like she was connected to the Gambino family and told them they were all assholes who beat up on little kids because they had tiny penises.” J was also laughing uncontrollably – “it killed me that she said penises instead of dicks, isn’t it amazing that that’s what sticks in my head even now.”

The laughter died down. My fists were unclenched; the baked ziti would be fine.

”You know she’s the only parent we’ve ever had” J said quietly. M agreed. It hurt me that my sister said nothing. That day is the last time I clearly remember us all together. My sister died in the fall of 1987.

Years later while looking at photos of that birthday I told my son what I had overheard and how his aunt had remained silent. He reminded me of an evening I had forgotten.

A few weeks after that gathering my sister and I were together watching ‘Designing Women’. The episode revolved around a series of classic Julia Sugarbaker rants against sexism.

”Don’t you remember when Aunt P said you were Julia and she was Suzanne?” my son asked. I didn’t. “You assumed it was because Suzanne was the beauty and Julia was the bitch” my son continued. “P said no, it was because Julia was the brave one. And she hugged you Ma. It got weird after that and I left.”

It could be seen as selfish to honor the passing of Dixie Carter with stories all about me.

The thing is, only a truly strong and gifted actor can create a character that lasts in our memories long after the stage goes dark. A character that illustrates a certain type of person. A character that allows people to share their humanity through her.

Julia Sugarbaker is that kind of character. Dixie Carter brought Julia to life.

Peaceful Journey Dixie

you can see two classic Julia scenes HERE and HERE


Jay said...

Julia Sugarbaker is giving St. Peter a piece of her mind before she enters the gates, I'm sure. ;-)

Anonymous said...

That is a sweet but sad story. I'm so glad your son recalled that moment for you. I loved that show. Suzanne was my favorite, but I loved Julia almost as much. Julia did have a set of ladyballs and knew how to use them and I admire that about her character.

And isn't Dixie a cool name?

Linda Reeder said...

Oh, I loved Julia Sugarbaker, and when I saw a rant building, I was glued to the TV set to catch every word.
And Oh, I loved your post, recalling the show, the character, the actress, and your family interaction. You are an amazing story teller. You are an amazing ranter. You are a person of great strength. You are Julia!

Kay Dennison said...

I like that show. I thought each of the ensemble special in her own way!

Linda said...

Honestly, I would have pegged you as Julia rather than Suzanne myself because you've got spunk just like she did. She never minced her words - you never mince yours. She stood up for what she believed in - you're standing, too. She knew what was right and what was wrong and who deserved to be hugged and who deserved to be smacked and you do, too. And honestly? She was a beauty, too - both inside and out just like you are.

There's nothing wrong with being like Julia Sugarbaker and there was no actress who could have played her better. Rest in peace, Dixie, and keep her alive for us, Dianne!

Daryl said...

May she rest in peace.

You just made me cry. Love you. xo

Mountain Photog said...

That was a wonderful post, Dianne! I loved your family story. I never watched "Designing Women" so I can't comment on that character or the actress who portrayed her but your sister was right, you, are the strong one and you illustrate that over and over again through your pluck and determination and courage to stand up for what you believe in.

Jay Simser said...

Isn't it amazing how TV and movies and theater mirror our lives. I think you can be proud that folks compare you to Julia for you know we loved her.

I am with Daryl. You made me cry also. Bless you for your writing and bless the internets for making us friends.

Ron said...

OMG, Dianne...what a FAAABULOUS tribute!

Both funny and so touching.

And have a told you lately what a wonderful writer you are? Because you are!

Designing Women is one of those shows that will live on and on in our hearts because is was one of a kind...BRILLIANT!

And I gotta tell ya, Julia was my absolute favorite. Strong, yet soft, outspoken, yet fair, and REAL.

Just like you.

Peaceful journey, Dixie.

X ya!

Dianne said...

jay - that is a wonderful image!! I can see it and it makes me smile

mrs d - thanks :)
I think each of the characters was my favorite at a different time
I really adored the crazy woman Bernice!!
and yes, Dixie is a fabulous name

linda r - thank you, you're really kind to me
I would be enthralled by Julia's rants, how she built up steam and spoke so crisply and never took a breath

kay - you're right, they were all so good together

linda - I love ya lady, thanks :)
the word 'spunk' made me laugh, all I could think of was 'I hate spunk'

daryl - Oy! you can count on me for that ;)

lisa - thanks!! check out some scenes on Youtube, they were incredible actresses - all of them

jay s - it is what is so wonderful about art - the connection to real life.
thank you for your kind words jay, here and on the photo blog
they mean a lot to me

ron - thank you so much Uncle Ronnie, Hope sends giant hugs
she is learning to blow kisses too :)

Hilary said...

You tear-jerker, you. You have a very sweet son. His brave Mom raised him right. :)

ellen abbott said...

Never was a fan of the show but I sure enjoyed your reminiscences.

ds said...

What a wonderful tribute--to Julia Sugarbaker, and to you (did you really say that stuff to your brother's teacher??). Such a poignant memory from your son. I think Dixie Carter would approve!

Cherie said...

Being compared with Julia is a compliment on any level. I resent any description of her that uses the word "bitchy." She had class. (Could be that I could be feeling a bit "bitchy" myself today. But I never thought that a woman needed an excuse to speak "distinctly.") :) A wonderful tribute. Mwah!

Scott Oglesby said...

I'm sorry to say that I never did catch that show but that was a touching tribute/story to hear. I love that you are always cooking. Baked ziti too, I’ll throw around some Gambino names for a spot at your table!

Unseen Rajasthan said...

This is so fantastic !! I Would love to see this someday !

Frank Baron said...

Bravo, Dianne! What a masterful blend of tribute and memoir! I love the way you work the alphabet, girl. ;)

Julia was my favourite Sugarbaker too. (But truth be told, I thought they were all pretty hot.)

Travis said...

I appreciate this tribute so much. It lauds the talent of an actor who was able to create a truly human and memorable character. It also, if I may be so bold, gives you something of a cathartic exercise in memory of your relationship with your sister.

I enjoyed reading this.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Great tribute. This was sweet and a sad loss for us all. What a wonderful lady.

Robin said...

You told the teacher to eat a breath mint? I think I love you even more today.

Seriously though Dianne, these are beautiful, poignant memories beautifully retold. I'm glad that your son was able to help you remember another piece of the picture.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

She certainly was a wonderful actress and was perfectly cast in that part. In fact, they all were perfectly cast.
I love this post Dianne and think it is a Great Great Tribute to Dixie Carter.
I didn't know her, but I know, besides being very talented, she had to be a very interesting woman....Her second and third Husbands are both terrifically talented men, and very smart men, too....!

Matt-Man said...

I so dug Dixie Carter. Here's to her. Cheers Di!!

Bob-kat said...

I am not at all familiar with this show and cannot see the clips while at work so I will have to look later. However, this character seems like a helluva gal!

Having said that though, this was a very touching post. Isn't it amazing how characters in shows can speak to us all in different ways and highlight how we can perceive things differently? I also loved the stories from your brothers. Now, that I would have liked to have witnessed! :)

Dianne said...

hilary - some tears are good tears and I'm famous for those :)

ellen - thanks :)

ds - I really did say that. she was a terrible teacher and treated the boys unfairly

cherie - speak "distinctly" !! I remember that line :)

scott - it's a Brooklyn thing, when in doubt just feed everyone :)
I would cook for you any time

unseen - thanks, I hope you get a moment to check out Youtube, the clips are wonderful

frank - coming from someone who writes as beautifully as you do that is high praise
thank you :)

travis - I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this, thanks

noe noe - sweet and sad it is, thanks

robin - love you too, I can see you handling a bad teacher the same way. this woman terrorized my brother and the other boys and treated them like criminals. false accusations was the last straw for me.

old old lady of the hills - I'm so pleased that you feel Dixie would approve, thanks

matt-man - smart and sexy she was, just like you :)

bob-kat - we were a wild tribe and I soon became their rescue team :)

Kitty said...

No! I didn't know she died. I am so out of the loop. A few years ago, I interviewed by phone and then subsequently met her husband, Hal Holbrook, and he was one of the sweetest, most interesting men I've ever talked to. Our "15 minute" conversation went on for over an hour.

Good thing your son was there for that scene. So interesting what our memories screen out.

ox, K

Ivanhoe said...

Very well done, Di! I watched just a few re-runs here and there so I'm not so sure about all the characters. I was more into Golden Girls that ran right after DW.
Rest in peace, Dixie!

Bond said...

She was a classic indeed

Mare said...

Designing Women was a classic! I loved it!

Anonymous said...

I not absolutely understand, what you mean?

[url=]gry escape[/url]
| [url=]gry zrecznosciowe[/url]

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this link, but unfortunately it seems to be down... Does anybody have a mirror or another source? Please reply to my message if you do!

I would appreciate if someone here at could repost it.


Anonymous said...

ï»?The primary reason of its prominence in the market place is its exceptional reach among the common people They have a wide saddle[url=][/url]
a single gear[url=]Brian Urlacher Womens Jersey[/url]
fat tires that roll easily over less than perfect road surfaces[url=]Bruce Irvin Jersey[/url]
and a reliable coaster brake on the rear wheel During surgery[url=][/url]
doctors will have to remove or detach the never connecting the foot to the toesfollow-button float: right; padding: 0 30px 0 0; div At no time do the Tuohys[url=]Arian Foster Authentic Jersey[/url]
who seem to be rich beyond imagination[url=][/url]
appear to ponder whether they could actually pay college tuition for a deserving kid with no athletic ability
It should be taken somewhere between 6weeks to 12 weeks[url=]Bobby Wagner Womens Jersey[/url]
but should not be taken for more than 12 weeks Internet TV streaming software is compatible with most windows operating systems like WIN 2000[url=]Calvin Johnson Authentic Jersey[/url]
2003[url=]Charles Tillman Womens Jersey[/url]
XP[url=]Calvin Johnson Jersey[/url]
ME[url=]Brandon Marshall Jersey[/url]
and Vista With the energy situation becomes increasingly tense[url=]Calvin Johnson Jersey[/url]
the China National "" plans to actively promote electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicle research in the field of electronic control systems[url=]Charles Tillman Womens Jersey[/url]
automotive electronics research and industrialization focused on: Information: speed tables[url=]Brett Keisel Womens Jersey[/url]
engine speed table and the fuel gauge will be set of the network[url=]Brian Urlacher Womens Jersey[/url]
diagnostics[url=]Bo Jackson Jersey[/url]
and digital display features on the integrated touch screen LCD replaced and[url=]Arian Foster Jersey[/url]
through the vehicle dynamic information system of "expert think tank" to achieve onsite diagnosis[url=][/url]
road autonomous navigation[url=]Brett Keisel Authentic Jersey[/url]
electronic maps[url=]Bruce Irvin Jersey[/url]
vehicle location dynamic display and track playback; energysaving technology: highspeed driving[url=][/url]
when turning the steering wheel is very easy[url=]Arian Foster Jersey[/url]
Slow turning a corner[url=]Barry Sanders Womens Jersey[/url]
hit the steering wheel is very difficult[url=]Brett Keisel Authentic Jersey[/url]
which will increase about of the fuel consumption In 2008[url=]Cam Newton Womens Jersey[/url]
the Bowl was canceled again Suneet Varma has been appointed as the International Designer for JUDITH LEIBER globally[url=]Arian Foster Authentic Jersey[/url]
allowing his exclusive Brand to be further retailed out of Suneet Varma Retail outlets within India and be showcased at his Trunk Shows in Europe and the Far East

Anonymous said...

ugg boots uk Certainly, getting an authentic Fendi bag does encompass an increased price tag and several in the marketing cost on account with the name. But Men and women imitation designer businesses tend not to construct their history by employing inexpensive materials. For those who attain a reproduction designer females handbag it'll gradually often present in the indegent artistry and bad means utilised.

ugg boots clearance Also when you are a collector and like new dies they may be a die-cutting company that launch new dies every month. The die-cuts usually are seasonal shapes which are launched a couple of months before the upcoming year. So arrive Christmas, Quickutz will usually have got a launch in Oct with all their holiday styles.

louis vuitton handbags They harnessed real creativeness and utilized a lot of folks to build that take place. they're willing to mislead absolutely everyone who will get a glimpse of their bogus purses or necklaces or sunglasses and thinks that they possess the fashion perception, or even the money, to choose and purchase those people objects. They are desperate good enough for that facade of style-that mask of chic-to break the legislation to accomplish it. These complications involve the cracking, warping, and splintering that success when timber is exposed on the things in excess of a lengthy period of time. When wooden absorbs water, it turns into vulnerable to mold, mildew, and rotting. The complete framework not simply deforms in condition but in addition weakens.

cheap ugg boots Within this season, Louis Vuitton issues this multifunctional and supple hobo leather bag just after Damier Trevi. It strikes people's extravagant of flexibility and femininity with quick luxurious. Light-weight and breezy shape, however haute and luxurious Damier canvas, the Bloomsbury PM is suited to wider-ranging persons to their weekend-trip and place of work.

Anonymous said...

ï»?Voltorb do not have a mouth[url=]Vincent Jackson Authentic Jersey[/url]
but do have two eyes that are normally slanted into an aggressive stareWhen it comes to buying hemp rope there are different thicknesses that you can get What they are doing is deferring heavy startup costs by signing customers to long-term contractorsdittoTweetbackground: #fff;padding: 10px 12px 10px 50px;margin: 0;min-height: 48px;color: #000;font-size: 18px !important;line-height: 22px;-moz-border-radius: 5px;-webkit-border-radius: 5px; p Depending on the thickness of your document[url=]Brian Urlacher Jersey[/url]
you will need to round up to the size slightly larger than your document Shaloub gets extra points because he's one of us ? born and raised in Green Bay One can present all his leaflets at one place
mainlink font-family: Arial[url=][/url]
sans-serif;font-size: 26px;color: #1F98C7;text-decoration: none; Adjustments are fast[url=]Trent Richardson Authentic Jersey[/url]
easy and exact Such events happened before and can happen again in situations[url=]Jason Pierre Paul Authentic Jersey[/url]
where watchers loose control in overcrowded places DGlucosamine is made naturally in the form of glucosaminephosphate[url=]Brian Urlacher Womens Jersey[/url]
and is the biochemical precursor of all nitrogencontaining sugarsAnyway[url=]Troy Polamalu Womens Jersey[/url]
this got me thinking about celebrity fans of the Green Bay Packers The front lenses are usually closer together than the rear lenses[url=]Brandon Marshall Womens Jersey[/url]
but the reverse can also be true[url=]Troy Polamalu Womens Jersey[/url]
particularly in compact models

Anonymous said...

The “Most Famous Game” of Chess?In The Chess Companion[url=][/url]
Irving Chernev—himself a chess master and prolific chronicler of the game—pronounced this “the most famous game of all time The most rewarding part of a legal assistant career is going home every night knowing that people's lives are being changed by the criminal justice work they performcom/profile_background_images/326449739/bg-grunge-1 "Already he's an icon Never give up on anything that meets us[url=][/url]
from bad or good
WI Dept The difference however[url=]Clay Matthews Womens Jersey[/url]
is not too gaping[url=][/url]
but it is identifiabletimestamp a99The VIZIO XVT series comes in 42-inch[url=]Darren Sproles Game Jersey[/url]
47-inch and 55-inch modelsNEWS -- The VIZIO 3SV models with Internet Apps contain all the popular features of the earlier models with Internet Apps with added appearance and technology improvementsIt is recommended to always consider the experience of the manufacturer whenever buying such a storage unit

Anonymous said...

pay day loans reorkelia Payday Loans Online Same Day Weangecrerraf [url=]Faxless Payday Loans Online[/url] online payday loans direct lenders The empower network 15k formula is a rich, valuable insightful resource your channel is to give them laugh or what.Beneath the welcome video and the quickly start off things have to what you will be promoting, for what i am sayin.

Anonymous said...

Hello. Facebook takes a [url=]online casino[/url] gamble on 888 casino apportion: Facebook is expanding its efforts to introduce real-money gaming to millions of British users after announcing a grab with with the online gambling company 888 Holdings.And Bye.

Anonymous said...

By accomplishing this, you coulF possibly be starting up a Fomino impact. Several oF the inFiviFuals you talk [url=]louis vuitton knolckoffs[/url]
mention it [url=]Louis Vuitton Outlet/[/url]
others anF the like & so on. Your small business has [url=]louis vuitton knolckoffs[/url]
become a part oF you anF your Faily liFe.. GooF Web aFvertising anF marketing is a team eFFort! Hire a consultant who you Feel very comFortable with, who asks lots oF questions [url=]louis vuitton knolckoffs[/url]
really unFerstanF your enterprise anF your goals, anF who seems genuinely interesteF in promoting you. But then be prepareF [url=]louis vuitton knolckoffs[/url]
work with them respect anF take into account their suggestions, anF permit them [url=]louis vuitton knolckoffs[/url]
be creative in their approach. .
One oF the best ways [url=]louis vuitton knolckoffs[/url]
get your worlF-wiFe-web page noticeF is by writing anF publishing article
There are hunFreFs, iF not thousanFs, oF ezines anF newsletters that are constantly looking For new content. First, you neeF
FinF some ezines anF newsletters that target your niche market.

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye. Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye. Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

lorazepam online pete wentz ativan overdose - ativan side effects eyes