I am a romantic and dreamer at heart. So when reading for pleasure I can be found curled up with a story that will make me laugh, or cry, will draw me in and make me dream. It will be a tender, sweet love story, or a griping adventure, a roll on the ground-double up laughter, or a biographical heart stopping honesty I felt I had to read, but always you will find me tucked away from everyone, in my bedroom, in the car, outside alone on a quiet bench in the sun, or curled up on the couch, engrossed and absorbed into another world. I have just finished one such book I would love to share with you…
“This Time Together – Laughter and Reflection ” – By Carol Burnett.
For Christmas this year I received from a very dear friend this beautifully written book of antidotes and reminiscences. Carol shares her thoughts and feelings, from the hilarious to the heartbreaking, and special moments during her career. I was surprised to find how moved I was, and only wish I now, had read her first book “One More Time, a memoir which is more like a letter to her daughters telling them of her life growing up in a dysfunctional family (she says), before she became famous.
In “This Time Together” each chapter, though brief, introduces us to the people Carol worked with, or had met, that made an impact on her during her career. From the first chapter, I had the feeling I was sitting on the couch with her, telling me some of the things I knew, and a lot I didn’t know, from her first hilarious meeting with her idol, Jimmy Stewart, her early days in Hollywood with her nanny, and her time on the Garry Moore Show. She shares her blunders, her successes and all the bits in between. As a huge fan of her show, “The Carol Burnett Show”, she is an amazing actress, talented, writer and a legendary comedienne, she is straight up, genuine and daring, spunky, even appearing bolshy. But there is a very sweet, loving, gentle, tender side to Carol that we rarely see, which she shares with us in this book. She admits to even being a “chicken”, doesn’t like confrontations, adores her fans, and her friends even more. One of her dearest friends and my idol, Julie Andrews and Carol made three wonderful television specials together and have been friends for about 50 years. They joke that if they ever did another special they have decided to call it “A Metamucil Musical with Julie and Carol.” Other friends she made along the way were Lucille Ball, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, and Marlon Brando, to name a few. She lets us in on tit bits, her reluctance to flying, her learning the computer and dating, having divorced from her first husband, and also husband number two, Joe Hamilton, she eventually met and married Brian Millar in November 2001 and they are still happily married today. Carol briefly shares the death of her beautiful daughter Carrie from cancer in 2002. Carrie herself an accomplished actress, writer and musician. when Carrie died it was just before the completion of a play they were working on together called “Hollywood Arms“, a stage-version of Carol’s memoir “One More Time”. It eventually opened on Broadway October 2002 and closed early 2003, winning a Tony Award.
It is her sincere tenderness to a young fan, named Kathy, that moved me the most. Carol had only known of her a short time but felt a connection and compelled to be by the young girl’s bedside, holding her hand as she passed away. Carol finishes the book with adding up all the gratefuls in her life, her husband, daughters, two grandsons, the time she had with her beautiful daughter Carrie, the people she has had the pleasure of working with, being happy and healthy and living her dream. She is a remarkable woman, best remembered for her mop and bucket, the Tarzan call and the earlobe pulling, I hope we hear a lot more of her in the future. I sure enjoyed this time together.
As I finish this review, I flipped back through the pages and a passage, “a legacy” if you will, that Carrie left her Mum, stops me, it reads:
“Our legacy is really the lives we touch, the inspiration we give, altering someone’s plan – if even for a moment – and getting them to think, rage, cry, laugh, argue. More than anything, we are remembered for our smiles; the ones we share with our closest and dearest, and the ones we bestow on a total stranger, who needed it RIGHT THEN, and God put you there to deliver.”
and my tears flowed again.
I listened to Carole narrate this book herself, which really added to its comic timing and poignancy for me. By the way, “alone on a quiet beach” doesn’t happen here unless it is mid winter 😉 but I too, enjoy beach reading.
That would be lovely to hear Carol narrate this book. She comes across as such a lovely warm caring person underneath all the comic and laughter, she just so grabbed my heartstrings. Hahaha.. actually in the car at the beach is nice to, although I was referring to benches (stools) we have here in parks and at home, anywhere really that I am alone (not worried if there are people about) and can get my head in a book.
Boy did I have a crush on Carol Burnett when I was a teenager. So this post means a great deal to me. I watched every episode of her TV program. I watched her on Gary Morton, but was a little young. I wrote her two letters asking her advice (as a teenager I lived for the theater and music) which she promptly responded to me personally — atleast it was her signature. I watched all three specials with Carol and Julie. I loved her in “Annie.” To this day, I will always appreciate the inspiration she gave me during those awkard times of growing up and becoming. I believe I still have her first book, “One More Time,” which was a lovely memoir for her daughters. I cried when I learned of Carrie’s death because they had been through so much together. I remember Shirley MacLaine took over Carol’s tour so she could be with her. But, I haven’t read “This Time Together.” Maybe I’ll get the audio book for our trip. My husband went to high school with Tim Conway, in Chagrin Falls, OH — he played blooper (soft) ball with him. And, he wasn’t a comedian at that time. I particularly like the story you share about Carol visiting the young woman who was dying — sounds like something she would do. Thanks for sharing and reminding me to read the book. Oh, how your post brought back a flood of memories. Now, you all know what a sap I am. 🙂
So Patricia, we can be “saps” together. This sounds so much like what I am with Julie Andrews. As you know it was an interview she gave that resulted in me writing my first draft of my novel. Loved that your husband went to school with Tim Conway. I know you will love this book of Carols’, and make sure you have a hankie nearby. Thankyou so much Patricia.
Got Carol’s audio book “This Time Together,” for our trip in a few days.:)
Good one Pat. Have a safe trip.
you’ll love it, I think, Pat. Have a safe journey.
Wow, that “legacy” passage is so moving. I must read this book — I bought it some time ago, and still haven’t read it!
Last June, Carol was here on her tour, and I, sad to say, misunderstood the information I read on the internet and thought she was going to a city two and a half hours away. Later, some friends said casually, “The night we saw Carol Burnett…” and I gasped, “She was HERE?” Yes. She was here. I could have gone to see her. I’m still kicking myself about that.
I must read that book!
“Oh no!” Beth *headdesk*….. Now, if I was there, I would have called to see if you had a ticket. Oh Well!
Yes that piece is moving, like I said to Patricia, make sure you have a hankie with you and thankyou.