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Erroneous Progressive Condescension

From The Scrapbook

Feb 20, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 22 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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As you can imagine, the article is pure Norman Rockwell. It seems Druckerman’s husband uncomplainingly buys diapers and doesn’t spend money on himself. The only desire this otherwise monastic gentleman has voiced is for a threesome. Druckerman decides granting this wish would be a more appropriate gift for his 40th birthday than the vintage watch she was eyeing, since this “wouldn’t technically be cheating.” Finding a third wheel isn’t easy, but “it turns out that all of my girlfriends and practically all the spouses of his friends would potentially make the cut, including the pregnant ones.” This beast with too many backs is eventually consummated and Mrs. Druckerman receives “a series of heartfelt thank-you notes” from her husband. 

The Scrapbook knows exactly what you must be thinking at this point​—​if liberté, égalité, infidélité is a good template for marriage, surely Druckerman must have a lot to teach us about parenting, non

Confronted by the revelation of Druckerman’s unusual ideas about marriage, the Washington Post uses this as a teachable moment for other parents. But don’t worry, the Post doesn’t get all judgmental. 

“Superior smirks aside, Druckerman’s embarrassment does raise an issue that vexes many parents these days: What to do about past indiscretions once we take on the role of a parent?” asks the Post’s parenting blog. 

Needless to say, we’re not sure what the Post means by “past indiscretions.” This is not awkwardly admitting to a teenager you once smoked marijuana in college. These are married parents. Druckerman wrote about her threesome less than two years ago, and is now inviting the world to buy her child-rearing advice. 

Apparently, Druckerman sensed the disconnect and asked Marie Claire’s editors to remove her article from their online archive, but the Internet, unfortunately for her, has never included a delete key. Here’s a free bit of advice for Druckerman: Barring not committing them in the first place, the best way to avoid confronting past indiscretions is not to write about them for publication.

End of the WWI Era

The Scrapbook notes with regret the death last week of Florence Green in a nursing home in eastern England. She was two weeks shy of her 111th birthday. The particulars of Mrs. Green’s very long life are not notable in themselves. She was born Florence Patterson in London, a month after the death of Queen Victoria. During her childhood the Patterson family moved to King’s Lynn, Norfolk, where she spent the next hundred years. She married a railway worker, Walter Green, in 1920, with whom she had two daughters and a son. 

These simple annals of Florence Green’s existence would have undoubtedly passed into oblivion had it not been discovered, just a few years ago, that she had in fact served in the First World War—making her since last year the final living veteran of that conflict. Two months before the Armistice, at age 17, she enlisted in the women’s auxiliary of the Royal Air Force, where she served as a steward in the officers’ mess at two bases near her home in Norfolk. 

“It was very pleasant, and they were lovely,” she remembered. “Not a bit of bother.” Indeed, she “met dozens of pilots and would go on dates.” When they asked if she wished to take a ride in one of the aircraft, though, Miss Patterson  declined: She was afraid to fly. 

It is impossible to say with absolute certainty that Mrs. Green was the last uniformed survivor of a conflict that involved tens of millions. And of course, the carnage and destruction of the Great War affected many millions of civilians throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North America, some of whom are undoubtedly still alive. A child whose town was shelled or whose father was killed may fairly be described as a survivor of the war. 

Nevertheless, with Florence Green, the British flag will cover her coffin, an official chapter will close, and her burial will sever a last thread to “the war to end all wars” from which so many subsequent conflicts arose. Time is relentless: World War I ended 93 years ago, World War II 66 years ago; even the Vietnam war ended nearly 40 years ago. But the passage of time does not lessen our appreciation for those​—​including the flirtatious young mess steward Florence Patterson​—​who served their nation in a just cause.

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