The good life

Sometimes you read an obituary and you think how much you’d have wanted to meet the person. Example: Mary Anderson Bain, who died recently aged 94. In the 30s, she was one of the two youngest heads of FDR’s New Deal agencies (the other was Lyndon Johnson); and she worked for many years as Chief of Staff for Congressman Sidney Yates, where it seems she did a lot of good. Chicago Tribune obit here and a personal memoir by Slate‘s publisher here:

God, she was funny and full of fight. A few weeks ago, still grieving for her husband of 69 years, she gleefully showed me her proudest new possession—a framed photo of a dog urinating on a Bush-Cheney sign with a hand-lettered caption that read, “Who Says Dogs Can’t Read?” When Nancy Pelosi was elected minority leader, Mary was thrilled, both because she liked Pelosi, and because, after all, Mary had been a 9-year-old girl when suffrage became the law, and she took unmitigated delight in every advance for women. Mary called Pelosi and excitedly yelled, “You go, girl!” Shortly before she died, upon being admitted to the hospital, they asked Mary if she wanted a single room or a double. “A double with a handsome man” was her immediate reply.


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