The Things They Hold Precious

Another excerpt from If I Knew Then What I Know Now– So What? by Estelle Getty, ©1988:

As a student of human nature, I love to people-watch. It’s also essential to my craft– I’ll pick things up I see on the street and incorporate them into my roles. It was my idea, for instance, for Sophia and her handbag to never be parted. Not that she carries one, but that she never puts it down.

Elderly women, and I’ve seen this a hundred times, never put their purses down. I think I know why: when you displace people, take them from the homes they’ve had for 40, 50, 60 years, when you take their furniture and their dishes and their pots and their pans, and you put them in some retirement home, or even in the home of their children, you take away everything that’s familiar. What they have left–the things they hold precious– go in their purses: the medicine, personal treasures, pictures of grandchildren, important cards and documents. Putting down your purse is like putting down your life.

This book was such a pleasant surprise!

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