She Was More Than Glam and Glitz

Sara Etgen-Baker

© Copyright 2023 by Sara Etgen-Baker

Photo by the author.
Photo by the author.

Elegance is a glowing inner peace. Glamour only radiates if there is a sublime courage & bravery within: glamour is like the moon; it only shines because the sun is there.” C. JoyBell C.

As a young girl growing up in the 50s, Hollywood’s glamorous and glitzy lifestyle fascinated me. And popular actresses such as Jane Russell, Ava Gardner, and Rita Hayworth captivated me with their mink stoles, high-heeled shoes, Dior gowns, and overstated jewelry. But of all the women I saw both on-screen and off, my Aunt Betty was the most glamorous, elegant woman I knew.

Whenever she strolled into a room, I couldn’t help but notice how her warm, chestnut-colored hair captured the light just right. And her long, gorgeous eyelashes trimmed the gentlest, kindest pair of coffee-brown eyes—eyes that always held a tiny warmth within them and sparkled with bliss whenever she smiled. Her lips—glistening with meticulously applied cherry red lipstick—were flawlessly sculpted while her face—slightly lighter than ivory—was rouged and florid just like Jane Russell’s.

Aunt Betty frequently wore ostentatious earrings that clung to her earlobes and sparkled like tiny chandeliers made of Austrian crystals; so whenever she turned her head in any direction, the earrings twinkled like stars scattered across the night sky. And draped across her shoulders was her favorite mink stole—a dark, glossy fur that reminded me of the high-fashion pieces associated with Hollywood’s glamour and glitz.

And, yes, Aunt Betty was every bit as glamorous, graceful, elegant, and seductive as Ava Gardner; yet, beneath that fashionable mink stole and those glistening earrings was the most strikingly courageous, independent woman I knew. In fact, she was the only single woman I knew; and she was the only woman I knew who fashioned a career in a time when a woman’s only life choice was motherhood. She inspired me, for just being in her company made me feel as if I, too, could one day be both a glamorous yet strong, independent woman.

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