Before Ann Landers There Was Bubbie!

There isn't a newspaper or magazine out these days that doesn't have an article on how to cope with the many stresses of life. Ann Landers and her twin, Dear Abby dole out advice on every topic known to mankind (more often womankind.) Dr. Ruth helps people with their sexual dysfunctions. Dr.Rosemond tells us how to raise perfect kids and Dr. Laura screeches at us over the airwaves that we're doing everything wrong. Wow! We're really lucky to have so many mavins to help solve our every problem!

As if they aren't enough, we can also find help on the talk shows. The hosts who probably have little or no education in counseling, solve a myriad of problems. It amazes me how much advice is imparted by Oprah, Montel and Maury, to name just a few. Does hosting a talk show automatically make one an expert in such personal matters as relationships,child rearing, and curing the neurosis of people they just met?

In the past, rather than strangers, we had people who knew us so well that they had insight into our problems and therefore were able to help us with them. At least they would listen patiently which was tremendously comforting. These people were Bubbies and Tantes and next door neighbors - people whose experiences were much like ours. People who truly cared about us.

As a child, I would often see my bubbie or mother and one friend or another talking in hushed tones as they sipped tea at the kitchen table.When I came in the room, they usually lapsed into Yiddish, because I was a "little pitcher with big ears". Often I was witness to their tears and comforting embraces. My bubbie had only a 5th grade education, yet because of the steady flow of people sitting atround our kitchen table, I knew her wise cousel must have been very comforting to them. If she were here today, I know she would scoff at the talk shows. On the other hand, when no one else was around, she just might have tuned in to Dr. Ruth.

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