Posted by: njbrown | September 8, 2009

Julia and Paul – in sickness and in health

September 8, 2009

Julia and Paul had a uniquely beautiful relationship to the end of their lives.  I haven’t found much about it, but this was lovely:

Laura Shapiro: “Her new career crashed like a meteor into the center of their marriage. New roles sprang up and grabbed them — she the star and he the support staff — but they were determined to maintain what Julia called “that lovely intertwining of life, mind, and soul that a good marriage is.” “We are a team,” she often said. “We do everything together … Whenever she talked about her career, she said “we,” not “I,” and she meant it literally. Paul attended all business meetings and participated in all decisions, helped rework the recipes for television, hauled equipment, washed dishes, took photographs, created designs and graphics, peeled and chopped and stirred, ran errands, read the mail and helped answer it, wrote the dedications in all her books, accompanied her on publicity tours and speaking engagements, sat with her at book signings, took part in most of her press interviews, provided the wine expertise, baked baguette after baguette, and in general made a point of being at her side on all occasions, professional or social. When he wasn’t needed, he disappeared happily into his own world, painting and photographing and gardening … Every morning they liked to snuggle in bed together for a half hour after the alarm went off, and at the end of the day, Paul would read aloud from the New Yorker while Julia made dinner. “We are never not together,” Paul said once, contentedly.”
Source: Laura Shapiro. Just a Pinch of Prejudice.” from Julia Child. 2007.

A number of years ago, I read Julia’s name in a list of famous women who had survived breast cancer.  Apparently, Julia had this in 1968 at the age of 56.  Paul lived quite disabled in a nursing home for eight years prior to his death.  I read somewhere that Julia called him when she was away every night.  What rare and wonderful people who modeled marriage at its best.

When I came back to work after cancer surgery – not Julia’s kind – I said to my staff that I wanted to be like Julia Child and live decades beyond my cancer and die in my sleep.  I said she was probably planning another television show or book even then.  Julia was an inspiration for women in so many ways – then and now.



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