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By Christina Delia
The current Lovey Appleton scandal is the sort of case that has a writer wanting to wash her hands, and not just before she eats. A recent poll conducted determined that the name Lovey Appleton is as commonly uttered in the majority of American households as "horseshoe", but not "butter dish". This however, is getting away from the situation at hand, and merely used to illustrate to the reader just how popular Lovey Appleton's books are.
Lovey Appleton has long been assumed to be the pen name of Ms. Jenna Le Fray, a self-described "modern lady" with a penchant for making popovers and a Martha Stewart Collection collection. Le Fray claimed to be a gourmet chef who fused 1950s style home cooking and household advice with an up to date sensibility. When Lovey Appleton came onto the scene, her books were often shelved in the Cooking section. This all changed with the debut of her humorous classic, Cousin Norma Wishes Her Corset Had a Pocket for Her 7-Up Flavored Bonne Belle Lip Smacker. Initially, both critics and readers wondered why Cousin Norma was stylish enough to understand the importance of lips that taste like clear, sugary soda, but still wore a girdle. Eventually, we chalked it up as part of Lovey Appleton's charm her books, like her carrot cakes, were baked with a Fifties flair, yet seasoned with trendy details. Why? Why not? Her baked potatoes contained whole milk, regular sour cream, and real bacon and, as she made certain to tell her fans, "imitation butter spread with a total absence of Trans Fatty acids!" Lovely Appleton was an enigma. Women wished to be as confusing as her, and men fantasized about eating her cooking.
Critics hailed Lovey Appleton "A worthy successor to Jean Kerr" and "Shirley Jackson all over again!" These oft typing titans helped coin the term "housewife humor" during the Fifties. Lovey Appleton even fused her celeb status into a side project: performing spoken word on stage whilst playing Canasta with her spoken word performing group, The Canasta Canisters.
Her knowledge of pop cultural trends is vast. It is not uncommon when reading her books to come across references to Maidenform Bras, G-Unit, Camille Paglia, Graham Streusel Coffee Cake, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Waldorf salad, Davy Crockett, Mo Rocca and "Clarabell" from "Puppet Playhouse", sometimes all within the very same sentence. It was a shock to learn that Lovey Appleton was as fraudulent as the modern "fake-and-bake" tans, of which she admits to being addicted to. "And a little bit of Botox injected into a lot of my lips," Appleton issued in a public statement, "but I promise that otherwise I am as real as my apple brown betty! Scout's honor!"
The Betty proved to be crummy, and The Scouts were not at all honored by this proclamation (in fact, an apology was issued by her PR team.) Jenna Le Fray is now known to have largely fictionalized her account of living retro-style in the modern world, and has been dethroned from her vinyl chair for pulling its chrome legs, and so it seems, the legs of an adoring public.
Lie: Lovey Appleton was born Jenna Le Fray in 1959. Her idyllic childhood was spent watching the video of Paula Abdul and that cat over and over again on MTV. Prior to that she crimped her hair, and started a New Kids on The Block fan club with Stacey Summerton. The club lasted a day, with Summerton stealing Le Fray's Jem doll. Le Fray raced home in tears and began furtively cooking meals that came from an old, dusty cookbook left to her by a great-aunt named Glynis.
Truth: Lovey Appleton is Glynis. Born Glynis Greerfield in 1920, Greerfield was a model housewife who always listened to her husband Donald and doted on their baby, Don Junior. Things changed when, inspired by an undetermined I Love Lucy episode, Glynis volunteered to test out her neighbor's time traveling device. This particular neighbor, one Arthur Tenneville, kept a detailed journal during the time that Glynis vanished and up until the end of his life. Recently, his children Marie and Clint have come forth with this diary.
One telling excerpt from Arthur Tenneville's diary reads:
"October 12th, 1955.
If all went on course, Glynis should be in the future by now. I wonder if they have milk there? A future without milk would certainly be a disenchanting place. I heard Donald talking to reporters. He said, "Heck if I know where she went! A man comes home and there's no supper on the table, he starts thinking maybe something's fishy with the wife! That's when I first noticed she was missing. We were originally intended to have chicken surprise!"
There is no way to contact Arthur Tenneville or Donald Greerfield, as they have both gone off to that Fifties diner in the sky. Glynis Greerfield however, was able to zoom through her perfectly acceptable 1950's existence, and come out shining in the late nineteen-nineties. Initially, she denied leading this torrid, time-traveling, turkey-stuffing double life, but many historians and one librarian pointed to her. The jig was up, as was the Cha-Cha-Cha. The housewife had no housecoat.
TO BE CONTINUED NOVEMBER 17TH ISSUE OF HW
Not only did Glynis Greerfield fool her family, but she fooled a public that believe in the oxymoronic implausibility of a full time, bestselling, stay-at-home businesswoman entrepreneurial championship baker housewife with shares in Microsoft, a mean left hook, an embroidered apron corporation, cattle ranch and a roast in the oven, with apple sauce in the fridge, but that’s for after dinner, I mean it, no, it’s for dessert when the company comes
And we'll learn:
Don't miss it!
©2006 Christina Delia
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christina Delia is a freelance writer of humorous essays, screenplays, and poetry. She likes her problems rare and her men well done. Contact Christina Delia ( replace x with @ before sending.)