By Dennis Lythgoe
Deseret Morning News
Published: Sunday, March 16, 2008
LEAP! WHAT WILL WE DO WITH THE REST OF OUR LIVES? by Sara Davidson,
Ballantine, 322 pages, $15, softcover.
Sara Davidson is a baby boomer journalist who authored "Loose
Change," an international bestseller about three women in the '60s.
In this book she looks to the future for her generation as they age.
She selected a number of celebrated baby boomers, such as Carly
Simon, Tom Hayden, Gloria Steinhem and others, to glean their
combined wisdom. Carly Simon told the author of her difficulties with
aging, how she "supposedly retired" and how tired she is of
rejection. "I was not allowed on the David Letterman show. I've
always been on Letterman. When they turned me down, I thought, 'That's it.'"
Simon said she hates it when people tell her "how young" she looks.
She would rather they said, "You're beautiful at your age," which the
author writes is true.
Simon said she was always "racing the clock" because the music
business continually looks for the next young thing. After turning
40, Simon said she just "fought to keep my head above water."
In her 50s, she had surgery for breast cancer at the same time her
career hit the skids. The CD on which she was working, "The Bedroom
Tapes," was soon tossed by her recording company. She moved to Boston
to be with her husband, Jim Hart, who was teaching poetry at Harvard.
"Feeling discarded like a dog," she said, was worse than undergoing
chemo. Then quite suddenly things changed. She kept composing, her CD
was revived, and she made it back to the top 10 with "Moonlight Serenade."
The book's next well-known person was Tom Hayden who became infamous
as a young man for his strong political opposition to the Vietnam
War, and he married Jane Fonda. Once the protest era passed, Hayden
had a successful political career in California. Davidson met him
after term limits forced him out after 18 years in the California Assembly.
At 62, he ran for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, but he lost
to a hotshot attorney in his 30s whose campaign theme was "A New
Generation of Leadership." After his loss, he suffered heart failure
and underwent a quintuple bypass operation. When he had physically
recovered he started seeing a therapist for depression. He now feels
his life is "accelerating to its end."
Gloria Steinem, the most famous and most beautiful of the modern
feminists, was 65 when Davidson met her. While a young woman, she
went to work as a Playboy bunny so she could write about the
objectification of women. She edited Ms. Magazine, gave lectures and
helped open hundreds of doors to women. She never felt the same
interest that most women feel for marriage and having a man in her life.
At 66, Steinhem surprised everyone by getting married for the first
time to David Bale, an environmental activist. But three years later,
he died of brain cancer. Afterward, she said she had waited so long
because she was looking for someone she could have "interdependence'"
with without giving up herself.
She also said "he had the greatest heart of anyone I've known."
These are just a few of the many great stories Davidson has
accumulated in this fascinating little volume.