With a career spanning an incredible 45 years, Joan Crawford knew a thing or two about drive, determination and organization. Crawford, an actress who blossomed as a silent screen starlet and ended up as a pop culture icon with her "no wire hangers" manta, was well known not only for her talent, but her passion and fierce obsession for all things organized and clean.
While we think Joan Crawford got a bad "no wire hangers" rap through a "literary license" --she can't defend herself-- she never made any apologies for liking a clean and organized home. While her behind the scenes tantrums were and continue to be highly disputed by family and friends, there was no doubt the starlet was organized. Crawford sought to transfer that same discipline to her children. And that discipline stuck with two of her children who never complained. You can watch the film "Mommie Dearest" to see what happened to the other two children-- who rebelled against the pressure and recounted it as much as child abuse.
A life well planned:
A Life Magazine article written February 21, 1964 touted her passion for precision. While touring the East Coast in preparation of the release of her film Straight-Jacket, she brought mountains of clothing choices (being able to change clothes up to 10 times per day), provided local management with a long list of accommodation preferences and press meetings and gave a long list of general do's and do not's when it came to gatherings and interviews. Always prepared, she whipped up a smart picnic on a train at a moment's notice when the train attendant said the dining car was out of power. When asked how she could come up with such a substantial picnic-on-the-train spread, Crawford replied to the writer accompanying her on the train:
"If you have an organized mind, you can do anything."
Joan Crawford hated dust. She covered furniture in the living room with plastic covers. She also had a private disdain for people who don't take care of their homes. Even after she hired a houseful of housekeepers, she still felt she had to re-clean after cleaning day. In an interview, she answered from her heart, take it or leave it:
"Look, [plastic slipcovers] keep the upholstery clean, and I so seldom have guests these days, that I might as well be as orderly as possible. With all this crap in the air--nothing stays clean that isn't covered. We do not live in a hygienic age.
Maybe I've always been a nut when it comes to cleanliness. When I was a kid I'd scrub the hell out of the rooming houses and crummy apartments my mother and her husbands lived in...and even after I had the money to hire an army of housekeepers and maids I ended up doing the cleaning myself because they never got things really clean. It's just part of being civilized, that's all. And I'm not about to apologize for it.
I had one hell of a time with [second husband] Franchot. He found it amusing and irritating, both, and there were times I could have strangled him when he'd answer the phone and say, "Sorry, she can't speak to you right now; she's cleaning the toilets."
That's one thing I could never understand, out on the Coast. I'd go to a party at someone's house, more like a mansion, really, and I'd go to the bathroom and have to wipe the seat with wet toilet paper before I dared sit down, or I'd sit on a couch, wearing a white gown, and come away with a film of dust. Once I went into the kitchen for a glass of water, and when I turned on the light the cockroaches scattered like mad. I don't understand this sort of sloppiness, and I don't think I ever will."
What do you think?
It's time for you to give us your thoughts on this story. Do you think that sometimes you can be TOO organized? Do you know someone who has obsessive comulsive disorder (OCD)? What is your personal philsophy about raising children who are independent but understand structure and the need for productivity? Tweet me your thoughts on Twitter or leave a comment below.
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