Betty White: Baudy Broad, Golden Girl, Legend

With only a few hours until we turned the corner into a shiny new year, we thought the list of reasons why we couldn’t wait to put a period on 2021 had nothing left. We were wrong, but now we have officially paid all our dues. Everything we may have still owed to this extra manure-ish year – paid. Because her. There are people in this world that make you feel like – as long as they are still breathing the air we breathe – something is still right with this world. And yesterday, we lost one of them in Betty White.

A painting of Betty White by Jen Cretu.
Image Credit: Jen Cretu Art

One Last Gut Punch in 2021

The significance of her death feels even heavier on this, the last day of an already crappy year – and 18 days before {what would have been} her 100th birthday. This post is not an afterthought. It was planned. Well before her passing. Because who doesn’t love Betty White? Couple our universal love for her with her one hundredth birthday and how could the day go unacknowledged? I had actually just finished watching her Saturday Night Live muffin skit {IYKYK, tawdry giggles included within} when I got the news.

A tweet by Paula Poundstone with the text: You know what's really great? We told Betty White that we loved her while she was still alive. We feel the loss because she was such a light. Unending energy. The purest personification of joy. Her sweet demeanor always balanced with her propensity to be “bawdy” and her affinity for perfectly sprinkled four letter words. There is something about watching a near centenarian cuss like a sailor with a twinkle in her eye and a touch of wicked in her grin that was unexpected and always… funny. Her greatest gift to the world was her ability to bring a smile to our faces.

Course: BLB 101

Susie Meister tweet about Betty White with the text: Live your life in such a way that if you die at 99 it's still too soon. #Bettywhite.Living your life in such a way that there are only good memories left behind upon your passing is a feat seldom attained and one that deserves recognition. And study. Research. Perhaps a class. BLB 101 {How to – Be Like Betty}. From some of her more well know quotes, chapters might include:

  • Get at least eight hours of beauty sleep, nine if you are ugly. Qualifies as Self-Care.
  • Lest we not forget nutrition – recognition of the foods she identified as her favorites and credited with keeping her alive for so long. This one might be called – Hot Dogs, French Fries and Vodka for Healthy Living.
  • Mind your business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much. Let’s call this one… Morning Mantras for the Man/Wo-Man in the Mirror.
  • And of course, a section on relationships with nuggets of wisdom like… If a guy’s a cutie, you’ve got to tap that booty.

Seriously Though

The world knows she was a character, but she also had a lot of character. One of my favorite true stories about Betty White is the one with Arthur Duncan. Way back in 1954, when Betty had her own show and before diversity was on trend, this talented Black tap dancer was a guest on her show. When threatened with cancellation if she didn’t eliminate him from the lineup, she responded, “Live with it.” And then she increased his appearances on her show. Character.

Real Life > Fiction

Tweet by Seth Meyers with the text: RIP Betty White, the only S N L host I ever saw get a standing ovation at the after party. A party at which she ordered a vodka and a hotdog and stayed till the bitter end. Betty was a huge animal lover and served on the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association Board of Trustees for over 40 years. Had she not been an entertainer – she said she would have been a zookeeper. When casting for the Golden Girls, she was initially selected to play Blanche and not the naïve, loveable Rose. Betty White and Rue McClanahan switched roles resulting in what would be the beginning of two most loved television characters. After a Facebook campaign designed for just the purpose, Betty, at 88 years old, became the oldest person to ever host an episode of Saturday Night Live. She had a role in every skit on that episode. Fittingly, Betty currently holds the Guiness Book record for the longest television career for an entertainer.

She had some extraordinary roles, but none of the characters come close to being as extraordinary as the person behind the characters. We loved watching her in real life as much as we loved watching her perform. Upstaging the best of them with little to no effort. She was the entirely loveable, inappropriate auntie that we couldn’t wait to show up to the reunion.

Finding consensus in this world is nearly impossible, but today we were united in appreciation for the life of Betty White. A woman after my own heart, she called herself one lucky broad – and left this world knowing that she was loved. She once said that when people call her a legend, she just laughs because she has us fooled. But this is one time when the joke is on her. Betty White, you are indeed a legend.

A tweet by Ryan Reynolds with the text: The world looks different now. She was great at defying expectation. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. We'll miss you, Betty. Now you know the secret. A photograph of Betty White. I think everyone needs a passion. Whether it’s one passion or a hundred, that’s what keeps life interesting. If you live without passion, you can go through life without leaving any footprints. – Betty White, 1922-2022


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Betty White. Baudy broad, golden girl, legend. Logo: Houston Moms. A painting of Betty White by Jen Cretu.

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Joi Bailey Green
Joi was born and raised in San Antonio. After a brief pit stop at the University of Texas in Austin, Joi moved to Houston in 1994 and began checking boxes off her never ending to do list. During this time and in no particular order, Joi taught a little bit of everything between first and eighth grades, got married and then divorced, completed grad school, birthed a few babies – Ferris {November 1997}, Warren {December 1999} and Laylah {March 2006}, moved an old lady into her home – Granny {January 1925} started working in Human Resources, served an excessive amount of time (on boards, in booster clubs, team momming) as a crazy sports momma, and learned a lot of life lessons. Joi is known for her unabashed honesty, always present sense of humor and her #TeamTooMuch style of doing everything. On most days, you can find her caught up in her love/hate relationship with politics, feeding her Facebook addiction, or counting the number of days until her last child graduates from high school.


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