With the Warmth of the Holidays, the New Novel, David Sunshine, Recalls the Romance, Beauty and Glamour of New York City in the 1960s

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Novelist Morrow Wilson: “You could feel the optimism and the hope was palpable.”

Author Morrow Wilson

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This isn’t nostalgia, it’s fact.

Novelist Morrow Wilson says, "The holiday season is more beautiful in New York than in any other American city." (Perhaaps that's why he chose to marry his late wife, Golden Girl, Rue McClanahan, on Christmas day at the Waldorf.) Morrow Wilson was reflecting on the days of yesteryear which he depicts in his semi-autobiographical novel of the TV industry during the time of “Mad Men.”

“I’m not sure crinolines, white gloves and girdles were the answer to women’s prayers. But the elegance of JFK and Jackie in the White house, her Chanel suits and pillbox hats, certainly made a fashion statement. Helen Gurley Brown had just published Sex and the Single Girl, which, despite savage middle-brow criticism, was a pioneering feminist document that said women could and should have the same sexual freedom as men. It was the first how-to book on that subject. In it, she scoffed at the idea that an unmarried woman was a failure, and discredited magazines like McCall’s and Ladies Home Journal that wrote in every issue that women had no sex drive. The Pill had just been introduced.

“The time itself – when food, clothes, restaurants were cheap and everyone had money, when a good bottle of French wine was three dollars and school teachers could vacation in Europe every summer, when a family of four lived comfortably on $100 a week -– I knew then that there never was and never would be a time like it. What a contrast to today’s culture of fear, incivility, wire-taps and security guards everywhere."

While the story David Sunshine tells of an optimistic young man trying to make his way in the post-Golden Age of television and his bitter-sweet love affair with a woman whose head is turned by rich and powerful men, is not all glamor, the 1960s were a time when everyone was full of hope. Even the early stirrings of the civil rights movement demonstrated the hope that age-old injustices could at last be ended, and ended now.

If the innocent country boy coming to the big city to learn about life is a classic and timeless story, the protagonist of David Sunshine embodies the hope, the optimism, and the courage of a quite specific, unique and bygone time.

“We all had a dream in those days,” says Morrow Wilson. “This isn’t nostalgia, it’s fact.”


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