The Wisdom Of Miss Sally; A Week In Review

It isn’t often that I get more than a chuckle out of snide comments clearly made about me. Oh, there’s the eye roll, too, but that hardly seems to count, as I eye roll about nearly everything that comes from the place this did. However, I feel like I have some insight, this week, or perhaps just a new perspective, and I’d like to share it because I love it, I love the person who said it, and I positively adore the people who made it possible for me to hear it.

Sally Blane, publicity photo for Advice For The Lovelorn.

Sally Blane, publicity photo for Advice For The Lovelorn.

Betty Jane Young, or as we know her, Sally Blane, was a beautiful, talented actress who formally retired from the screen, in 1939. I have been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with her son, Robert, about her life off screen, and the picture is nothing short of wonderful. She was a caretaker, a protector of those around her, family, friend, and stranger alike. There was one thing that happened to her husband, actor and director Norman Foster, that really hit home with me, as did her reaction. On television, someone was introducing the film Journey Into Fear, which Norman Foster directed. It starred Joseph Cotten, Dolores del Rio, Agnes Moorehead, and in a small part, was Orson Welles who, along with others, including Joseph Cotten, wrote and produced the film. In the introduction, however, it was said that Welles, himself, directed the picture.

Now, imagine that. Imagine that you’re walking into a room, and someone is taking credit for your husband’s work and giving it to someone else. What was Sally’s reaction?

Well, who the hell are you?

That phrase, to me, is so brilliant, in this instance. Who are you to insinuate that, because a film’s style is similar to Welles’ future endeavors, that Norman Foster was not at the helm? Is it just a feeling you get, deep inside, that wants that to be the case? Wouldn’t it be nice if everything could be laid out so easily, about the past.

Sally’s quote has been running through my mind, since I heard it. It’s so simple, but so meaningful, at the same time. There wasn’t a tone of, “I’m better than you, I have more power than you…” Rather, it was spoken as someone receiving a direct blow to everything they’ve known to be true, by way of facts and, in her case, actual living of the situation, defending the truth.

These Young girls, they’re going to either ruin me or make me brilliant, yet. I looked at myself, at my various projects and people I defend. All my life, I’ve been of the idea that I am nothing, that what I say is nothing because I don’t matter. But… that’s not the case at all, is it? Thanks to Sally, I can look at all these lies that surround me and say to those people telling them, “Who the hell are YOU?” None of us are any better than anyone else. I am no less. You are no less. We start at an equal playing field, and it is what we do with facts that determines our meaningfulness and ability to create, to feel, and to write with passion, in defense of our subjects. Long, short, picture or no, it is not me or you or the really smart guinea pig that runs the computer lab up the street. It is how much you are willing to let people see, without leading them, without making speculation that it’s an illusion. These wonderful actors, actresses, directors and producers are, for the most part, gone. We were never supposed to reinterpret their truths, but rather help to let them be known. There is nothing wrong with investigation or with verifying stories. Often times, you find things that support and even add to it. Once that is done, though, and once a multitude of people have repeatedly proven a lie is just that, the lie needs to be cut loose. It can’t be held on with a bandage of feeling like it’s supposed to be true. Lies, plain and simple, cannot be forced into becoming the truth.


Elizabeth Jane Young Foster, I adore you. Thank you.

A million thanks to all of the Young family, both here and beyond. I can’t even begin to express how much all of you mean to me. ❤


8 thoughts on “The Wisdom Of Miss Sally; A Week In Review

  1. The only problem with this blog entry is that it is too short!! You could have written on and on and I would have been up until dawn reading this article. You are a gifted, insightful and honest writer and I am proud to know you.

    You just created what will, henceforth, be one of my favorite sayings. “Lies, plain and simple, cannot be forced into becoming the truth.” Brilliant!!

  2. I must agree with Claire on every point! I’d love to know more about your view of Sally, too, as she was a fascinating, funny, charming and remarkable woman. I loved Aunt Sally and I love this post – thanks for sharing your truth & wonderful words of wisdom. I’ll be sharing it with the extended family! ❤

  3. What a fabulous quote! It could apply to those who were so quick to come to Gable’s defense and pass judgement on Loretta.

    It also easily could apply to several recent blogs by people on the “other side” of the Jeanette/Gene/Nelson controversy. They are all about smoke and mirrors. They try to deflect attention from the real subject, the so called Isabel letters, by dissecting Jeanette and Gene’s writings to explain what they “really meant.” The only ones who know what they really meant were Jeanette and Gene. And no matter how many times anyone interprets or take quotes out of context, that’s not going to change.

    Someone said it’s a biographer’s job to show all sides of a subject. While that’s true, it’s also a biographer’s job to present the facts, not their interpretation of the facts or what they WANT to be the facts. It’s also a biographer’s job to provide a bibliography so readers can verify information. read more, or judge the source’s veracity. This means dates/sources of articles, dates of interviews, etc., not vague “undated newspaper clipping” or quotes from interviews with subjects who are no longer around to say if they have been misquoted. And finally, it is a biographer’s job to provide an accurate index with the correct page numbers, not page numbers from a previous edition.

    I find it interesting that no one has addressed the misinformation in the “Isabel letters” that Kayla presented here, proving the letters are not a trustworthy source. Some people would rather read Jeanette and Gene’s minds and tell us what they really meant when they said “I love you.”

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