Doting Housewife or Banned Author? (with Judy Blume)

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When Judy Blume was 22 years old, she decided to defy her husband’s orders and vote for John F. Kennedy rather than Richard Nixon. That tiny act of rebellion in the ballot box became a defining moment in her life. Sam asks Judy how that set her off to become one of the top banned authors in the country, what her ideal sex ed curriculum looks like, and whether she’ll ever write a book about Margaret in menopause.

Follow Judy Blume @judyblume on Twitter and @judyblume4real on Instagram.

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Samantha Bee, Judy Blume

Samantha Bee  00:01

My friends here at Lemonad Media the podcast network that produces this very show have teamed up with Apple books for an exclusive book club. It’s hard enough to make all the choices we have in a day and the lemonade a book club makes it easier on you because they give you a recommendation each month. And what is so great is that you can then listen to those authors on one of the limonada podcasts in a behind the scenes interview. Last month I had the honor of talking with Laura Dern and Diane Ladd about their book honey Baby mine, which was the June laminata book club pick. Our July book pick is a powerful memoir by Alexis Jones called Joy Hunter, where she details her journey with her husband and her best friend in an RV as she both heals and disrupts her life. Look, if you are at a crossroads with choices in your life, this is the book for you. Check it out at and enjoy this episode and make good choices. When I was younger, I was a nerd who knew a lot about sex. I mean, growing up we had the Kama Sutra on the walls as decoration. It was the 70s and of course I read every Judy Blume book I could get my hands on, Judy taught me a lot. I mean, like definitely more than the gym teacher in charge of sex ed ever could have. Actually, I’m sure for most of us it was Judy Blume which is why she’s one of the most banned authors in the country. Sweet, sweet Smarty Judy Blume. Banning authors and books is not new. But it’s one of those few retro things that you freely want to keep in the past like a jello salad. That is not salad. Because when politicians start banning books in the name of protecting children, you know, things are gonna get really bad. protecting children from what learning about racism, learning about their bodies, learning about families with two moms. I save some of my most choice words for people like Ron DeSantis politicians who don’t want to just dismantle our public education. But when it got our public libraries because they’re afraid of knowledge, like not for themselves, I mean, they have lots of knowledge. They want to keep that knowledge for themselves. So just joining l stab it. Ron DeSantis is making it almost impossible for kids to learn in school. And he’s taking it a step further by making sure they can’t even learn on their own time in libraries. Let dorks be dorks. Kids in Florida need an easy way to access information because everyone needs to know how to protect themselves against alligators. And Matt Gates. Being a book can teach kids that what you will learn from them as dangerous or wrong or gross that you’re different, but in a bad way, when really, these books show us that we’re not alone. We’re at Gracie, and we’re Pimply, and we’re scared of everything, and that’s normal. books give us the confidence that despite our Gracie pimp leanness, we could still maybe even explore our own bodies. I don’t know, is that nuts? Of course, it’s not just Judy Blume books though honestly, I can support a library that was only a Judy Blume books, just not sure that she would support that. Anyway, of course, it’s not just Judy Blume books. It’s any book that challenges white heterosexual norms. They’re caught blocking kids from getting any information about sexual orientation, gender, consent race, like I don’t know what school is like in places like Arkansas or Oklahoma or any of the other states that I’m not allowed out in. But I know that denying kids information comes from a place of deep fear and insecurity. And I hope when you’re carrying the big pile of books to your book burning, it falls on you and crushes you to death. Maybe not to death, it just imperils you. This is Choice Words. I’m Samantha Bee. Today we are joined by the author Judy Blume. You love her books like super fudge. Are you there? God it’s me, Margaret forever, Dini and countless others. She’s also the owner of books and books, a bookstore in irony of ironies, Florida, read her work while you still can enjoy the episode and make good choices

Judy Blume  06:02

Hi, Sam.

Samantha Bee  06:06

How are you?

Judy Blume  06:08

I’m kind of okay. I’m kind of good.

Samantha Bee  06:12

Okay, what’s happening? Why only kind of good? Are you discombobulated?

Judy Blume  06:18

Yes, I am that and I’m packing to leave town tomorrow.

Samantha Bee  06:22

Oh, you are? Yeah. Oh, what kind of a packer are you? I’m so curious. Do you pack? Are you an intricate Packer? Are you an organized packer?

Judy Blume  06:33

I am pretty organized. I like packing to go home better than packing to go places because I don’t have to make the decisions. You know, it’s whatever is here. Although I’m here in my apartment in New York, so it’s not exactly like that.

Samantha Bee  06:51

Do you know why we’re going to be very when um, we’re not going to spin out. We’re going to make this a very chill experience for you.

Judy Blume  06:57

I can tell. I can tell that

Samantha Bee  07:00

The dulcet tones of my voice. We’re here to have an easy, we’re gonna have an easy moment.

Judy Blume  07:07

So calming, Sam, it is so good.

Samantha Bee  07:11

For listeners who are listening to this podcast who aren’t that familiar? We did an event together. In I think it was in 2015 for your book in the unlikely event, which was a huge book.

Judy Blume  07:25

Oh, we had a great time at the Y we did a great time.

Samantha Bee  07:29

We done it for people who don’t know, there’s that great documentary about you. And I don’t say that. It’s great because I happen to be in it, which I am. Which was such a pleasure to do. But it’s a great documentary. And I learned much about you that I actually didn’t know. Plus, we have the movie. Are you there? God it’s me, Margaret. How what was that experience like making that film? Were you present for the filming of are you there God?

Judy Blume  07:57

I was on set for five weeks. Okay, we divided it up because Kelly was shooting all the children at once. And so I was there for two weeks. And that was children. And then of course, Margaret. And you know, Nancy, are there? Yes, all the time. And so when I went back for three weeks, that was when the adults were there, Kathy Bates and Rachel McAdams and Benny softy. It was the most wonderful experience I’ve ever had. Wow. You know, doing anything like this. I mean, Kelly and Jim. Everyone made me feel welcome, which is so new to me. It’s like what writer is welcome.

Samantha Bee  08:42

That never happens. Exactly. That is a dream team. That’s a dream team.

Judy Blume  08:47

They are they are and we’re a dream team.

Samantha Bee  08:50

And it’s very faithful. It’s a very faithful adaptation of the book.

Judy Blume  08:56

It’s, I say, if you liked the book, you will not be disappointed. But but it’s also a little bit expanded and so that you get to know the adult characters you get to know her family, and I love it. I can’t even remember anymore. And Kelly says the same thing. Neither one of us can remember. Wait, did that come from the book? Or was that something Kelly wrote for the movie? Is that all together? Because it just works that way.

Samantha Bee  09:26

Did they consult you when you were there? Were you a part of conversations or I think there was a discussion about the box of maxi pads.

Judy Blume  09:36

Yes, that they had forgotten somebody had forgotten that the kids buy something called teenage soft days, which of course doesn’t exist. It’s something I made up and I was there when they were shooting the scene and I’m going you know they’re picking up a traditional box with a with a commercial name. And I said Kelly, you will hear from From the Margaret brigade, you’ll hear from them and they will say, Where are the teenage softies And so finally, when I thought with teenage software.

Samantha Bee  10:14

Release, what a relief because they would have heard from people do you have a brigade? Do you have Margaret brigades?

Judy Blume  10:20

Yes, I once I once wrote a blog about the Margaret to traditionalists who want the belt and the Pats. And for the ones who have allowed the fact that the like, the second that book was published, everything changed. And you could get pads with little sticky, you know, right away kids still use today. sticky pads fist in your undies? Right? And so, it was a British editor who said to me, you know, why don’t we just put that in? And I did it. I did it myself. And but still the people who read that first, you know, the first edition, First Nation, they want things as they were they wanted the I’m sorry, do you hear that siren? No. Okay. Oh, good.

Samantha Bee  11:16

I’m so well, you know what, I also live in New York. So I don’t hear sirens. Maybe the whole audience is like, is there a crime in progress? But you and I are like, what? We don’t even maybe it’s possible. I’m probable. It’s probable. Yeah. I don’t even remember the belts. I never saw I skipped when I started my period, there were no belts.

Judy Blume  11:39

When you’re young, there were no belts. I mean, that said the book came out in 1970. I can’t remember what month but it was right after that. Okay, that the equipment changed very soon after that. But you know, there are still people out there who have that first edition. And they’re reading it now. And so they want to know they like it. What are these belts? How do they work?

Samantha Bee  12:05

That’s what are these belts, I cannot imagine trying to you know what, I’m going to go home. And I’m going to try to explain to my daughters that they you used to have to wear a belt. That’s one thing. They will not be able to wrap.

Judy Blume  12:19

You had to choose between a safety pin or a little hook. That was there. I use the safety pin. I don’t know why I thought that was easier than a hook. I guess it It prepared me for diapers. Too many years after that.

Samantha Bee  12:39

You know what? Those two things are not so far apart? are not so far apart? Is it? Is it strange for you? When people because I imagine when you do you do so much press you go around you do all these things? Is it weird for you that people introduce you as like a legend? Like, is it weird to hear that word? The icon icon? It is legend? Yes. So weird.

Judy Blume  13:05

It’s like who are they talking about?

Samantha Bee  13:09

So when you go back to your, your, your regular, the regularity of your life when you return to Key West, and you go back to the bookstore? What do those days look like? It seems very, it seems tranquil to me.

Judy Blume  13:23

But it’s not. And it’s worse now because it’s become a destination. I mean, we love it in terms of you know, people come into the bookstore, but it’s become a destination to go to Cuba and go to the bookstore and I left cardboard Judy there while I was here. Yes, we have a full size cardboard.

Samantha Bee  13:47

People who stand next to it and take a picture.

Judy Blume  13:49

They don’t I actually thought they might, which would save me a lot of trouble because it’s, uh, you know, I like to work in the bookstore. I go there to work. And I like to dust the shelves and arrange the books and, you know, scan them and and do my work as a as a bookseller. I don’t get anything done.

Samantha Bee  14:13

Right. Yes. And if someone’s there, I’m sure you want to honor their experience of seeing you. One thing that I noted when we were doing the event at the at the why it was so observable, watching you interact with your fans, and you have interacted so deeply with your fans throughout the years. But when people meet you, they often have a really emotional experience. It’s very meaningful for them. And the way that I observed you just very carefully, letting everyone have a real moment with a lineup, out the door and down the stairs, it was remarkable. Just a lot of grace in those moments.

Judy Blume  15:05

It’s been very emotional over the year. Yes.

Samantha Bee  15:09

So this podcast is about choices that we’ve made like big choices, little choices, things that seem like small leaves, but actually turn out to be biggies as they echo through our lives. If you look back, is there a choice that you’ve made either big or small in your life? That affected absolutely everything? Like, is there an obvious one that comes to mind? Or is it not something you often think about?

Judy Blume  15:34

I think I take myself back to that young woman that I was. I think I was maybe 22. It was my first presidential election. Oh, it was actually probably the first time I voted. You have to be 21 to vote New Jersey, then. So my first presidential election was John Kennedy was running against Nixon. I wasn’t newly married, but I was pregnant. So I must have been married for a year or two. And I was pregnant with my first baby. And it was November of 1960. And my husband was a young Republican, okay. And he, you know, was not such a anyway, rather than go into the politics of 1960. I was a fan of John Kennedy’s. And my husband was a young Republican who wanted me and expected me, I was a little Wi Fi, and expected me to make phone calls, and deliver information packets around town, we lived in little suburban town in New Jersey. And I was expected not to think about these things for myself or argue or tell him why I was for Kennedy. But I went into that voting booth. And I remember still the way I felt when I push that lever for Kennedy. And it was like, I did this thing. I thought this out for myself. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I kept it a secret. For a long time. I kept it a secret. Wow. But I did it. And I mean, that was such a defiant and defining and defining moment in my life. When it was like, I am not a person who’s going to do what I’m told to do. Right? Right. And I actually as I grew older, and now I’m mature, so I’m supposed to be anyway. I don’t like it when somebody tells me what to do. Even if it’s take a breath, Judy, take a breath. Don’t tell me what to do. Because that’s who I am. But it was that moment. That spoke to me. And and I felt so good. I don’t think it spoke well, for the marriage, the brand new merit.

Samantha Bee  18:32

But probably not. There were probably other indications along the way.

Judy Blume  18:37

Oh, yeah. 16 years, I stayed married for 16 years, married for six, two years, two children. And you know what, when I did that I’m proud of I, once I had the kids, I always always took them to vote with me. Even if we had to sit there for hours. They knew this was exciting. And you know, they would sit on the floor and play and then would move up in line a little and they knew this was something important.

Samantha Bee  19:08

I agree with that. My daughter is voting for her first time next year. She turns 18 Next year, I’m so excited for her. So I did still there’s still possibility in a vote. I don’t know there’s something about it. There’s possibility in it. That’s what we have to say. Yes. How much did he know that you were writing? Or did you start after that moment? Or you must have walked around with just that? You know, when you have that little like champagne tummy? Just like little bubbles in your tummy a little free song in your tummy and you’re just like a little spring in your stuff? Because you’re like, I am a rebel. I did something for me. Did he know that you want it to be right or at that point?

Judy Blume  19:47

No, I didn’t know. I didn’t You didn’t know. I had. I had the two babies, you know one right after another. Well, two years apart, okay. And I like that I like babies. I like baby care, like having them around and taking care of them. And but then, you know, my mother told me, my mother said, when they take their naps, what you do is you wash the shoelaces from their little shoes. So they’re white and clean. Oh, washed the shoe lay what? Yes. And do you know, I did that? Oh, this is before they had little velcro shoes. You know, they had little white shoes or saddle shoes with shoe laces. And I did that for a little bit. And then I thought to myself, What am I doing right? Washing shoelaces when they’re taking their naps? What Why would anybody do that? Right. And so I had to rebel a little bit. You were like.

Samantha Bee  20:54

I didn’t vote for Nixon. And I don’t think that these shoe laces require this much cleaning.

Judy Blume  21:04

That’s right. I I think about my mother and what she thought was important, you know. But anyway, I think that set me on my way to know that I had to have something. Something of my own to do wasn’t washing shoelaces.

Samantha Bee  21:24

We’ll be right back with Judy Blume after this Did you put pen to paper? For the first? Did you know that? They took a nap one day and you were like, I think I’m gonna start writing something down. That’s a big step.

Judy Blume  25:17

Yeah, I don’t think that I, I would like to say, I actually decided one day I was going to do that. But I don’t remember that happening. I do remember when so they were must have been a little bit older. You know, maybe they were like two and four. Okay, when I started, and I used to make up stories, when I wash the dinner dishes after after dinner, make up little rhyming stories in my head. And then one day, I started to write them down and illustrate them, and put them together with little brass fasteners and send them off to publishers. And they were rejected, you know, they were rejected. But I didn’t stop. I kept going. I was very determined, I think, very determined.

Samantha Bee  26:13

And I think that I didn’t understand prior to seeing the documentary, how I didn’t understand the extent to which you really were kind of swimming upstream. Yet no one was particularly encouraging to you know, many people actively, you’re actively discouraged from writing. Yes. Yes. I was shocked by the story of your husband bringing around a children’s book author or an author.

Judy Blume  26:43

So my husband was a lawyer, and in his law firm, was a friend of his, okay, who knew somebody who wrote children’s books. They were published, they were quite successful. They were little rhyming books. Okay. Allah Dr. Seuss, but not Dr. Seuss. And he said, so why don’t you bring in some of Judy’s work, and I’ll show it to him. So that’s where the letter came from. That was, dear Judy. I’m sure you were very nice girl. But get out your hanky and prepare to cry. Oh, it was so. So oh, it was awful. And it was an also it was I’m sure you’re a very nice girl, Judy. But you really can’t write.

Samantha Bee  27:37

You are a very nice girl. Pat, pat, pat, on the head. Yes, please. For the good of your children. Please stop. This is not.

Judy Blume  27:49

You know, this is how it was? This is how it was.

Samantha Bee  27:55

Well, how did you know? What was it inside you? That made you believe that this was your path? Because that is some very serious social conditioning that people are trying to put on you that people are loading on to you? How in the world? Did you stay so firm in your belief?

Judy Blume  28:17

I wish I had an answer for you. I just think that I might have been a very nice girl. But I was also a rebel girl and saw inside. Was this other Judy, that maybe they didn’t know about? And I don’t know where that determination came from? I don’t know. My father. Maybe. But you know, he wasn’t alive. To see any of this.

Samantha Bee  28:49

Did your kids read your stories? Your you were reading your sewers, doing your stories for your kids, I assume? No, I wasn’t Oh, you weren’t number like, this is my lane.

Judy Blume  28:59

This was mine. This was for me. This was me. But yes. I mean, my daughter when she was reading Yeah, um, she read, you know, by second grade, I guess. She was my first reader. She would come home from school and pull the pages out of the typewriter and read them. She was very interested.

Samantha Bee  29:22

I love this story so much, because it takes so long for a lot of people. And if they ever even find their voice, it’s very hard to people can take their whole lives to get to the point of knowing that all that is left is to just speak from the heart. And I feel like you were channeling something so deep, just for you. Sitting with your typewriter, working, working, working with no promise of anything really on the horizon other than the work.

Judy Blume  29:55

Yes, that’s true. Well, you know, I yeah, I’m in the first two books I wrote, and and all the books that I wrote before that that were rejected, you know, imitation Dr. Seuss, rhyming picture books. All that. I mean, they were exercises in writing. And even the first two published books, I think we’re still exercises in how to do this. Although there are people who now tell me that Aigis house, which is the one book I’ve written that I would write again, if I could, but I’m never going to, because I learned to write after he sells, but they tell me, people like Jason Reynolds. I love Jason Reynolds. And, and Charlamagne tha God, say to me, that was a book that was really important to me. And I’m like, This is so incredible. Because I never knew, you know, that, that that book touched anybody. It wasn’t until I wrote the third book, which was Margaret, that I was letting go.

Samantha Bee  31:06

It’s so funny. Like, I don’t think there’s an author that I can think of, in my whole, like, speaking personally, in my whole entire life, whose books I’ve read more, including Aigis house, which I also loved, I just, we all had them, we all had all of them. You were so excited when there was a new one. I remember when Tiger I came out and we were like let go, get it. That we would all read but also reread. You know what I mean? That exercise of just like reading, reading, coming back to it, even when you were much older than the content of the book. I think I’ve read super fudge when I was in my late teens, just because it was relaxing, felt like a friend.

Judy Blume  31:51

I mean, kids are wonderful in that they do reread right again, and again. I just got I think it came. I think it was a tweet about a woman. This is like my favorite new thing. She wanted so much to own a copy of Margaret. And she couldn’t. And so she went to the library and took it out again and again and again. And what she did, when she took it out, was she copied it. She hand wrote the whole thing. So that shit Yes, so that she would have her own copy something like, I don’t know, I think she told me 47 years ago, she did this or maybe she was 47. Now I can’t remember. But I have that’s the first time I’ve ever heard that. And she sent a little picture of you know, she still has it, of her handwriting. This is how she had copied the book so that she could have it and I I said please, please, please send me your address. So I can send you a signed copy of Mark. So you can have a real one.

Samantha Bee  33:05

This is unbelievable.

Judy Blume  33:09

I know it came as a tweet. And you know, you think you’ve heard everything. I mean, I didn’t think that I could be surprised. Yes, I want a reader would tell me but this was just this really touched, right? Really got.

Samantha Bee  33:26

That is magnificent. Um, this woman. Now I want to meet this woman. We all do we all do. I also didn’t realize that you’re one of the most banned authors in America, you’ve been being banned.

Judy Blume  33:45

I’ve been being banned for a long, long, long, long, long time.

Samantha Bee  33:50

So you have a much practice with being thought of as a provocative writer. Did you think that you were being provocative when you were writing? Because I don’t know?

Judy Blume  34:01

No, maybe when I wrote forever, okay, but no. And you know, the 70s when I was writing most of the books that you were growing up on. It was very good time for books and writers and kids who were reading the books, and then everything changed in the 80s. But people today they don’t remember that, you know, and I’m thinking of Who do I have left in my little group of bound authors when we used to go around together and, and speak and speak out in the 80s and I don’t think that there are any of them left.

Samantha Bee  34:45

Do you feel like those sensors from the 80s seems so quaint now, compared to the DeSantis is of the horrible? Oh my God, my goodness.

Judy Blume  34:54

Yes. Oh Phyllis Schlafly, you know she probably I read a pamphlet called How to read your schools and libraries of Judy Blume books. And so I had my secretary send away for one of these pamphlets. So we could see it and and she got it, you know, and there it was. There it was, and it told you what to do what one thing it never told you to do was read the book.

Samantha Bee  35:25

No, you can’t read the book, you didn’t want to read the book. You don’t have to scrub your mind out.

Judy Blume  35:29

You had to go to, you know, this page or that page and and then going to school waving the book and see if it couldn’t be removed. It’s much, much worse today. You know, it’s really scary. And I live in that state. You know, I live in Key West. I know. I Yeah. I’ve been there for 30 years, and I vote in that state. And all this time, we have pretended that Keywest is its own little island that we don’t really belong to that state. But we did.

Samantha Bee  36:06

You do, and you sell banned books in your store?

Judy Blume  36:10

Well, of course, everybody who has a book store sells banned books. Yes. Because the well, you know, there are so many books that are banned today. Of course, we all everybody who has an independent bookstore, you know, we all celebrate banned books.

Samantha Bee  36:27

And really, it’s so incredible to me to imagine a book being banned for the crime of teaching children how to be responsible, sexually, or just what happens to their body.

Judy Blume  36:41

Yeah, that was forever and of course forever is still being banned in certain places. I I’m told and but the big thing that’s going on today, and I think even scarier thing, because sexuality Yes, and of course anything lb GTQ Plus is there but it’s the racism it’s as if as if the book banners want to erase history. That’s what I find so frightening. They want to change history.

Samantha Bee  37:17

They don’t want it, right.

Judy Blume  37:19

Well, how do you do that? I mean, how do you raise kids getting rid of history?

Samantha Bee  37:28

I don’t know how this doesn’t end in total fascism. Like I really don’t well. We’re on our way Yeah. We are on our way to people protest your books they don’t protest they don’t come to your bookstore to make political statement is people don’t not Yeah. cut this part out of the interview. I don’t want to give anybody ideas. Oh Lord, no thank you. Hold that thought more with Judy Blume after one more break. I want to talk about sexual education a little bit because it is something that I think about, really all the time. And in fact, I’m out there performing a show about how sexual education is so lacking and actually getting worse and worse over time. What does your ideal sex ed look like? And I feel like the whole curriculum can’t just be reading your books. I just feel like so many of our society, our problems originate in this deep pit of just not understanding human bodies.

Judy Blume  40:58

First, you have to be aware, aware that this is going on and believe it and you know, you can’t make it funny this time. There’s just no way. You know, it used to be that you could make it a little bit funny. You know, it’s terrible. But it’s like, you know, I would tell stories about the principal who said to me that he had to get rid of Dini in his school because it Dini touched her body, she masturbated. If it had been about a boy, that would have been normal. Oh, great. Do you have to get rid of that book? Because it was about a girl. Anything having to do with a girl’s sexual pleasure?

Samantha Bee  41:39

Oh, certainly. I mean, do you have the Republicans introducing a bill that would ban girls from even talking about their periods? Talking about their periods?

Judy Blume  41:48

I know, can you believe that? That didn’t go through? Yeah, that was in Florida, as far as I know.

Samantha Bee  41:53

Imagine proposing something like I mean, I can’t,

Judy Blume  41:56

Well, that’s the thing. You know, how is this gonna work? Yeah. Tell me. Tell me lawmaker. How is this gonna work? You know, a bunch of little girls in fourth grade are standing around talking about periods. And they’re not allowed to what this is, this is fascism. I mean, this is telling us Yes. What we can think what we can say.

Samantha Bee  42:19

Really? I mean, this is very bad. I mean, are we all expected to be just like carry in the shower, getting our period for the first time and having screaming like we’re dying.

Judy Blume  42:31

Love seeing that scene again. In the in the documentary. I love that.

Samantha Bee  42:36

Yeah. When, who tell you about? Oh, here’s an interesting question. Who taught you about menopause because I’m in perimenopause. Now, and I’m just wondering, can you have you ever thought about writing? You know, a follow up? Call? Where are you? God? It’s me, Margaret. Again, Margaret, in menopause. I have some follow up questions.

Judy Blume  42:56

It’s Margaret. Many, many, many, many women have come to me asking for Margaret in menopause. Of the years. Yeah. Oh, boy. That’s interesting. I mean, not you know what my answer is always Margaret is always going to be 12. So forget menopause, or get it? She’s 12 forever. But I said in writing other books. You know, maybe I’ll get to touch on that.

Samantha Bee  43:26

Well, in at the beginning of in the unlikely event, right. She’s having hot flashes having a hot flash right at the beginning of the book. I have to tell you, I forgot that part. No. And I am when I was reminded of that. I did a little a little gave myself a little high five. Good. It’s like thank you for putting it. Thank you for just plainly putting it in a book. Other working moms Did you know, did you know? Any working moms when you were writing in those early days? Or were you the lone working mom?

Judy Blume  44:02

I didn’t. Um, so I lived in a on a cul de sac, again in the suburban New Jersey. And I didn’t know any working moms you didn’t know anyone. And I don’t know. If my kids ever thought of me as a working mom. I looking back I think that a mistake that I made was letting them think this was also easy. Because I never talked about it. Really. I mean, I talked about my characters, you know, at the dinner table sometimes, but I never talked about the struggle.

Samantha Bee  44:42

So interesting. So they just felt like it came easy. They just that you were just fluidly moved between your worlds while still have a Gantt beautiful dinner for them every night.

Judy Blume  44:54

Yes, it wasn’t such a beautiful dinner. I never did become a wonderful cook. I’m good at decorating. Being fatter so?

Samantha Bee  45:02

Well, that’s important too. All right, I must my last question for you is how do you? I guess when When did your effort years start? When did you decide? When did you feel fully liberated to live the exact life that you want it to live? Did you have you reached that point where you’re like, Ah, fuck it. I don’t. I can’t please everybody all the time. I’m just gonna be me. I’m just me.

Judy Blume  45:31

I want to tell you Yes, but I’m not sure that’s true. I’m not sure that sometimes good girl, Judy. Little today wanting to please her parents doesn’t crop up, you know? And try to come out. Mostly. I’m pretty good. About a sing it. but not entirely. And I’m 85 sound so, you know, I’m still careful around certain people, especially family members, especially children. Grandchildren. I think we always are, you know?

Samantha Bee  46:13

It’s a journey. The whole thing.

Judy Blume  46:15

It is a journey. Yeah. It’s actually a journey. Yeah. And, and it changes and we change. And, yeah, that’s what makes it fun to look back.

Samantha Bee  46:27

Totally. Listen, this was Thank you. I have to thank you for your your just your generosity. It What a pleasure. And what a pleasure to just to have had the joy of participating in the documentary and also the joy of just seeing, I saw the movie movie so great. It took my daughter, we’d love to ask you what did she think? Or they think she really loved it. And it was so fun to and we were sitting there with our popcorn. And everybody who came in and passed us by looked at us and gave us that knowing smile. They were like you got your daughter. That’s very nice. It was very sweet.

Judy Blume  47:10

That’s lovely. I’m glad.

Samantha Bee  47:13

Oh, well. Lovely to talk to you.

Judy Blume  47:16

Thank you, Sam.

Samantha Bee  47:25

That was Judy Blume and I had no choice but to Google one thing after that conversation she mentioned the period belt from early versions of Are You There God, and I need to really see what they were. And it’s just what it sounds like. Like an actual pickup belt that a sanitary pad was attached to though keep it in place. You know what? I have never been more grateful to whoever invented sticky stuff, Mr. Adhesive, the god of adhesives, whatever his name is or her name. And a lot of people must have had similar questions because a real Google search that popped up was period belt back in the day creative. Thank you Judy Blume for joining me and good news. There’s more choice words with Lemonada Premium. Subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content like a rapid fire round of trivia questions based off my recent interview with Judy Blume. Subscribe now in Apple podcasts.

CREDITS  48:33

Thank you for listening to Choice Words which was created by and is hosted by me. We’re a production of Lemonada Media, Kathyrn Barnes, […] and Kryssy Pease produce our show. Our mix is by James Barber. Steve Nelson is the vice president of weekly content. Jessica Cordova Kramer, Stephanie Wittles Wachs and I are executive producers. Our theme was composed by […] with help from Johnny Vince Evans . Special thanks to Kristen Everman, Claire Jones, Ivan Kuraev and Rachel Neil. You can find me at @Iamsambee on Twitter and at @realsambee on Instagram. Follow Choice Words wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.

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