I first saw Katherine Hepburn in Philadelphia Story decades ago when TV had few channels and aired old black and white movie to fill up the channels. I watched her, in awe of her spunk, her confidence in herself and in the world around her. I thought wow I want to be a woman like that. I watched her movies, Bringing up Baby, African Queen, Lion in the Winter and On Golden Pond. I think I was the only 7 year old who watched that movie.
As I grew up and started figuring out how the world worked, my respect and awe of her grew. She donned pants when women were being escorted off the street even arrested. She had strong beliefs and spoken them never apologizing for her intelligence. And when her career tanked and she was considered box office poison, she turned her career around with the Philadelphia Story. I too wanted to have that strength and needed in my life when the life I knew and loved was shredded with my parents’ divorce.
I needed Katherine more than ever. I watched her lined face hanging and liver-spotted, her hair tucked up, heard her scratchy, posh voice and watched her hands shake. She hadn’t lost any of her spunk or intelligence. I never met her but she helped me decide on the woman I wanted to be. Katherine didn’t follow the beat of her own drum, she created the music. My music sometimes skips or hits a horrid note but Katherine taught me to Write a new song.