Patty Andrews lived a long and, by most accounts, full life.
She was one of the biggest stars in America in the 1940s and beyond as the lead vocalist with her two sisters, Maxene and Laverne. You might have heard this little ditty:
But it wasn’t until I watched this video with my husband sometime a few months ago that I became fascinated with the Andrews Sisters, particularly the animated lead singer, Patty.
It was convenient that this was during the holidays, when you couldn’t go more than a day or two without hearing this song, which was one of almost 50 that the trio recorded with Bing Crosby:
Don’t ask me how we stumbled upon Boogle Woogie Bugle Boy, but we went on an Andrews Sisters binge, listening and learning as much as we could about this trio, which by the time my mom was born, were notorious for their infighting. My grandmother, like so many millions of American women during and after World War II, absolutely adored them.
Patty Andrews passed away at age 94 last month, the last of her sisters to go. Up until her death, her Wikipedia page said that she lived a quiet life near Northridge, California. (Now, it reminds us that she was only 17 days away from her 95th birthday.)
Even though she was one of the most recognizable voices of a generation, few media outlets covered her death. I didn’t learn of her death via Twitter, which is a rarity these days, and my own newspaper didn’t run anything that acknowledged her passing. No obit. No mention in the celebrity news section. I saw countless articles and headlines about Ed Koch, who died the same weekend, but not a single one about Patty Andrews came across my information feeds.
Our lack of enthusiasm about the passing of such an icon shouldn’t surprise me, but it’s certainly made me glad that we are learning about another icon of that era at our monthly book club get together tomorrow. M.F.K. Fisher surely knew who Patty Andrews was, but I’m less certain about Andrews’ awareness of Fisher, who was 10 years her elder. At 7 p.m. at the Draught House Pub and Brewery, 4112 Medical Parkway, we’ll talk about Fisher and her book “The Gastronomical Me,” as well as Patty Andrews and other women who were at their creative prime in the 30s, 40s and 50s.