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<v Speaker>Over Easy with host Jim Hartz and Mary Martin. <v Jim Hartz>Hello and welcome again to Over Easy. Remember, back in the 1950s and 60s, <v Jim Hartz>Ozzie and Harriet Nelson became one of America's most endearing and enduring couples, <v Jim Hartz>embodying all the fun and foibles of modern marriage. <v Mary Martin>Everybody remembers Ozzie and Harriet's long running TV series. <v Mary Martin>And we have a scene from a film called Here Come The Nelsons that became the <v Mary Martin>pilot for their show. Now, let's take a look at one of these priceless moments from <v Mary Martin>that film. When you see it right down.
<v Jim Hartz>Ozzie and Harriet were married in 1935. <v Jim Hartz>When Ozzie died in 1976 after 41 years of a happy <v Jim Hartz>marriage, Harriet Nelson had to make one of the most difficult transitions any of us <v Jim Hartz>face. The adjustment to widowhood. <v Jim Hartz>Today, we'll be examining that adjustment, one that millions of women, as well as men who <v Jim Hartz>suffered the loss of a spouse must make every year. <v Mary Martin>I n addition, we'll be visiting with Harriet Nelson. <v Mary Martin>We'll talk to writer Richard Meryman, whose book Hope: A Loss Survived <v Mary Martin>tells of his experience after he lost his wife of 23 years. <v Jim Hartz>And we'll be joined by noted psychologist and grief counselor Dr. James Peterson. <v Jim Hartz>But first, let's welcome one of America's favorite entertainers. <v Jim Hartz>Ladies and gentlemen, Harriet Nelson. <v Jim Hartz>?inaudible? I can't pass up the opportunity to get a kiss from you. <v Harriet Nelson>Oh, what a lovely compliment. <v Mary Martin>Wasn't that funny? Did you see the film? <v Harriet Nelson>Don't you love him in that? <v Mary Martin>But - I love you both, but - The timing is so - it's just as marvelous now
<v Mary Martin>as when you made it then. <v Harriet Nelson>He was for real. <v Mary Martin>So that's the next question I was going to ask. <v Mary Martin>Were you the real Harriet Nelson at home and <v Mary Martin>on the screen? <v Harriet Nelson>Well, maybe I wasn't as long-suffering as I was on the screen. <v Harriet Nelson>I had my moments. <v Mary Martin>You did? But it was your pers- I mean, it really was more or less your - <v Harriet Nelson>I think it was. I think it indicated - our show at that time indicated family <v Harriet Nelson>life at that time. Lots of people now will - will <v Harriet Nelson>equate it with today's family. <v Harriet Nelson>But there is no connection. <v Harriet Nelson>Things were so different then. Now we are - I think people are a fragmented family. <v Harriet Nelson>It's no one's fault particularly. <v Harriet Nelson>It's just that work takes us thousands of miles apart. <v Harriet Nelson>Like take my family, for instance. <v Harriet Nelson>I have one boy in New York now and another one I think is in Nova Scotia. <v Harriet Nelson>I called him night before last and he was home for one day. <v Harriet Nelson>And I said, where's your next tour?
<v Harriet Nelson>He said, well, we start in Nova Scotia. So that was - <v Mary Martin>Ricky? <v Harriet Nelson>That's right. <v Mary Martin>He - he has his own band, doesn't he? <v Harriet Nelson>Yes, he has his own group. <v Mary Martin>Marvelous. Oh, you must be so proud of them, though, because - the other one. <v Mary Martin>What does he do? <v Harriet Nelson>He's a director. <v Mary Martin>A director. So they're still in the in the business? <v Harriet Nelson>Oh, yes. Well, you know, they started when they were children. <v Harriet Nelson>And you don't give it up that easily. <v Harriet Nelson>You know, they've learned along the way. <v Harriet Nelson>And David is a very fine director, as a matter of fact. <v Harriet Nelson>He directed, oh, six or eight Ozzie and Harriet's. <v Harriet Nelson>People didn't believe that because he always thought that Ozzy was standing on the <v Harriet Nelson>sidelines. But he really wasn't. <v Jim Hartz>Let me ask you some about your family life, especially your relationship with Ozzy during <v Jim Hartz>those years. There are always certain situations where you got to disagree. <v Jim Hartz>You're playing this warm couple on television. <v Jim Hartz>Did you ever have any serious disagreements off camera about your lives or what <v Jim Hartz>you were going to do in the film? <v Harriet Nelson>No. Oh, no. You mean about about the show? <v Harriet Nelson>About the show? No. Whatever he said.
<v Harriet Nelson>We had an agreement at this point. Whatever he said on the set went and whatever <v Harriet Nelson>I said at home, you know. <v Mary Martin>That's marvelous. <v Harriet Nelson>And I made it stick. <v Mary Martin>Well, you'd probably have to. I mean, my husband and I were in business together. <v Mary Martin>I. <v Harriet Nelson>I know that you were. <v Mary Martin>But you and and Ozzy were together for married for 41 <v Mary Martin>years,. <v Harriet Nelson>40 years, uh-huh. <v Mary Martin>I was almost 34. But we - you have to have that. <v Mary Martin>You know, one - one is the boss. <v Mary Martin>When we first married, they said, you know, is your husband going to <v Mary Martin>have two pair of pa - a pair of pants? I said, we have two pair of pants to every coat in <v Mary Martin>our family. <v Harriet Nelson>The same thing was true of us. Well, there can't be there can't be two bosses on the set. <v Harriet Nelson>You know, that'll just never work. <v Mary Martin>Never. <v Jim Hartz>Did you ever have any conflicts in the business side of your relationship? <v Harriet Nelson>No, Ozzy - he always discussed everything with me. <v Harriet Nelson>All decisions were made together, made at home together.
<v Mary Martin>Did he do the writing, too? <v Harriet Nelson>He was the head writer and editor of the show. <v Harriet Nelson>Yes. Uh-Huh. <v Mary Martin>Isn't that ?inaudible? <v Harriet Nelson>It was a - It was a seven day a week job. <v Harriet Nelson>It didn't seem like much, but we shot five days a week. <v Jim Hartz>Wow. <v Harriet Nelson>Well, we did - we did so much location. <v Harriet Nelson>You know, we didn't - we weren't on tape. <v Harriet Nelson>We did it on film. And we had to get outside of the house. <v Harriet Nelson>So they - they said in Los Angeles they were going to rename Griffith Park "Nelson Park," <v Harriet Nelson>because we did so much stuff out there. <v Jim Hartz>After Ozzy died, you had to take a much more active role <v Jim Hartz>in running the business. <v Harriet Nelson>Well, it was - <v Jim Hartz>What was that period like for you? <v Harriet Nelson>The business, as such, stopped with his death, you know. <v Harriet Nelson>As a matter of fact, that - made it doubly hard because <v Harriet Nelson>there wasn't anything to turn to. Work stopped at the same time, you know. <v Harriet Nelson>And that was very difficult. <v Mary Martin>Aren't you performing now in movies? <v Harriet Nelson>Oh, once in a while. I'll do - I'll do a picture now and then, or
<v Harriet Nelson>I do a fantasy island or. <v Harriet Nelson>Oh, aloha, paradise. <v Harriet Nelson>Yes. You know, when things come up that I think are going to be fun. <v Mary Martin>Harriet, didn't you sing? <v Harriet Nelson>At one time. <v Mary Martin>I saw you. <v Harriet Nelson>Where? <v Mary Martin>I saw it. I saw it. I think I was still in Weatherford - hadn't quite gotten <v Mary Martin>out to Hollywood then. <v Mary Martin>But, you know, I went very early to Hollywood and I did see you in a movie. <v Mary Martin>I'm really sure. <v Harriet Nelson>Oh, that was - <v Mary Martin>You sang at the brig - Broadcaster - <v Harriet Nelson>How dear of you to remember. ?inaudible? <v Mary Martin>I just adored it. <v Harriet Nelson>Oh, thank you. Well, it was with Rogers and Astaire. <v Mary Martin>That's right! <v Harriet Nelson>It was Follow the Fleet. <v Mary Martin>I saw it in Weatherford. I was teaching dancing and I went home and practiced how to sing <v Mary Martin>just like you. [Laughter] I did. <v Harriet Nelson>Did you have Randy Scott put his arm around you when you finished? <v Mary Martin>No, I didn't. <v Mary Martin>No I didn't ?inaudible?. <v Jim Hartz>I want you to meet two other guests that we have with us today who are going to help <v Jim Hartz>us explore the subject. One is Richard Meryman. <v Jim Hartz>He is a former editor for Life magazine who lost his wife to
<v Jim Hartz>cancer and rebuilt his life and went on to write about his experience. <v Jim Hartz>And with him is a close friend of Over Easy's, Dr. James Peterson, the psychologist <v Jim Hartz>and grief counselor who's helped hundreds of men and women adjust to the loss of a loved <v Jim Hartz>one. Ladies and gentlemen, Richard Meryman and Dr. James Peterson. <v Mary Martin>Welcome. Welcome. Oh, that means something. That means something good. That means <v Mary Martin>somebody's going to get married. <v Harriet Nelson>Yes, it does. Dr. Peterson, will you marry me? <v Mary Martin>Now's the time. Say yes. <v Harriet Nelson>Dr. Peterson, how important is it for a person who's lost a loved one or lost a spouse, <v Harriet Nelson>regain his identity in that regard? <v Harriet Nelson>?inaudible? identity? <v Dr. James Peterson>It is the critical factor. <v Dr. James Peterson>Because previously, if it's been a long marriage, one is merged with the other. <v Dr. James Peterson>It's like an amputation. <v Dr. James Peterson>And most of your self is gone. <v Dr. James Peterson>So that to get a new identity <v Dr. James Peterson>becomes very -.
<v Jim Hartz>How do you do that? <v Dr. James Peterson>Well, you do - number one, in terms of personality, you <v Dr. James Peterson>have to let the memory of the other person recede into the background. <v Dr. James Peterson>They're still there. I think you would both agree that always our <v Dr. James Peterson>past mates are part of our lives, but they aren't close. <v Dr. James Peterson>Right after the death, they are. <v Dr. James Peterson>We talk with them and so forth. So that our first rule in <v Dr. James Peterson>doing therapy - grief work - is to make some distancing <v Dr. James Peterson>and the bitterness and the sadness recedes. <v Dr. James Peterson>And then the mellowness and the joy and the reminiscences become part of it. <v Dr. James Peterson>That's the first thing. <v Jim Hartz>But I'm not sure that I understand how that reestablishes your identity. <v Dr. James Peterson>That's the ground on which then you're free enough from always <v Dr. James Peterson>thinking about the other. So then you can begin to explore other avenues <v Dr. James Peterson>and you must have other friends.
<v Dr. James Peterson>Married friends you had sometimes drop away. <v Dr. James Peterson>Did you two find that? <v Harriet Nelson>Yes. Yes. <v Harriet Nelson>You feel like a stork on one leg. <v Dr. James Peterson>That's right. <v Mary Martin>That's a marvelous description. <v Dr. James Peterson>It is. And -. <v Harriet Nelson>Really is hard to keep a balance. <v Dr. James Peterson>You have to find some new people. <v Dr. James Peterson>Then you have to find new activities because the activities you had were interlocked with <v Dr. James Peterson>your mate. And so you begin to make some ?inaudible?. <v Dr. James Peterson>You reach out and see what now is going to bring you satisfaction. <v Mary Martin>You wrote so beautifully in your book about your daughters. <v Mary Martin>The first paragraph in your book is one of the most touching things I've read. <v Mary Martin>Really. I just love it. I haven't finished it yet because they've kept us pretty busy <v Mary Martin>here at Over Easy. But really, it's just so warm. <v Mary Martin>Heartwarming. <v Richard Meryman>That's really nice to hear. How old are the children now? <v Richard Meryman>Well, the older one, Meredith is just 16. <v Richard Meryman>Yes. And the other is 13. <v Jim Hartz>How did you cope with the grieving, your wife's loss and having to raise two daughters
<v Jim Hartz>at the same time? <v Richard Meryman>Well, it's it's really an impossibility. <v Richard Meryman>But you come as close as you can. And part of you is really crazy. <v Richard Meryman>You're just you're besieged by emotions you can't control, sudden <v Richard Meryman>attacks of crying, numbness. <v Richard Meryman>And you're - it's a full time job just to cope with your daily life. <v Richard Meryman>On the other hand, you are the children's continuity. <v Richard Meryman>You - They turn to you for support, for reassurance. <v Jim Hartz>How did you help them? <v Richard Meryman>I - Well, two things. I was there a lot. <v Richard Meryman>We wrestled. We - we did everything. <v Richard Meryman>I mean, a lot of every time I came home, it was touch and feel and <v Richard Meryman>and be there for them. <v Richard Meryman>The other thing that I did was at first they were very - <v Richard Meryman>I was very indulgent. I wanted to make them be happy, let them <v Richard Meryman>stay up late, watch television, not make their beds. <v Richard Meryman>And they got naughtier and naughtier.
<v Richard Meryman>And I realized that what they really wanted was structure <v Richard Meryman>and control. And I was giving them freedom at a moment when they wanted structure. <v Mary Martin>Needed it, too. <v Harriet Nelson>It was good for you to have that involvement, too, at that time, wasn't it? <v Richard Meryman>Certainly was. I think what I missed as much as anything was an object <v Richard Meryman>- a person to love. And they fill that void. <v Mary Martin>You write so beautifully. And I used to read a book a day. <v Mary Martin>I mean, I really loved reading. And suddenly when Richard left, I couldn't read. <v Mary Martin>I couldn't read one thing. I couldn't concentrate. <v Mary Martin>And I would read want ads in the paper, you know, in the back. <v Mary Martin>I couldn't read - read headlines. I could not make any sense. <v Mary Martin>It's just - been just eight years now, it's just beginning to come back <v Mary Martin>where I can read again. <v Harriet Nelson>That is just happening to me, too. I read the same paragraph over and over. <v Mary Martin>And not understand one word. <v Harriet Nelson>Right. And now I'm beginning to finally break a book. <v Richard Meryman>It's, uh. That's true for me, too. <v Richard Meryman>The thoughts come into my head uncontrolled.
<v Richard Meryman>It's very hard to be a writer. ?inaudible? <v Jim Hartz>What was it like with your children? With Rick and Dave and the grandchildren? <v Harriet Nelson>My boys are adults. You know. <v Harriet Nelson>They're full grown men. And so I had great support from the entire family. <v Harriet Nelson>But on the other hand, being full grown men and with their own families, they had <v Harriet Nelson>their own daily lives to continue. <v Harriet Nelson>We don't live quite that close together, you know. <v Harriet Nelson>They live in a valley and I live in Laguna. <v Harriet Nelson>Quite a distance. <v Jim Hartz>I've got to ask you. Is there a tendency to depend more on them now or was it initially <v Jim Hartz>and have you moved from that? Or how did how did that change? <v Harriet Nelson>No, we became great friends. <v Harriet Nelson>Really? Yes. I was able to discuss with them parts <v Harriet Nelson>of their father's life with me that I would ordinarily with probably another <v Harriet Nelson>woman friend. But we're on that kind of basis. <v Harriet Nelson>I can talk to them about anything. And - and I always know. <v Harriet Nelson>And they knew that I wanted to stand on my own two feet because I was going to have to do
<v Harriet Nelson>it eventually, you know. <v Harriet Nelson>And so they would let me go - if they knew that I knew that I needed <v Harriet Nelson>help, they were there. But being being adults was very <v Harriet Nelson>helpful to me and their families, their wives. <v Mary Martin>I must say that my children have been marvelous about it. <v Mary Martin>And I'm glad that we don't all live close together because it becomes a great event <v Mary Martin>when we when we get together. <v Mary Martin>But they're all - we're closer now than we've ever been in our lives. <v Mary Martin>So I'm I feel like I've had a second chance. <v Harriet Nelson>It's wonderful when they accept you as a friend and not just a parent. <v Jim Hartz> Dick, did you consciously go out and try to build a circle of friends <v Jim Hartz>or did you try to rely more on girlfriends ? <v Richard Meryman>Well, I think this is where a man's experience <v Richard Meryman>is different from a woman's. As a friend of mine said to me, you're catnip. <v Richard Meryman>I mean, women really flocked around. <v Richard Meryman>And it was a question - [Laughter].
<v Mary Martin>I love that. There aren't that many of you. <v Richard Meryman>It was a question really of -. <v Mary Martin>Then it's better to look for new friends in a way. <v Mary Martin>Is that right? <v Richard Meryman>You know, you just. I was actually - Well, I didn't have much time for that <v Richard Meryman>sort of thing. I allowed myself two nights a week of social life. <v Richard Meryman>But it was terribly important to me. <v Richard Meryman>Because you really want to feel that there is some escape from all of this <v Richard Meryman>pain, some - some way you're going to get out of it. <v Jim Hartz>I was just going to ask you. You described sort of an initial period after the loss of a <v Jim Hartz>loved one? What, when do people - most people begin to start really thinking <v Jim Hartz>about the future? Is this a multi year process? <v Dr. James Peterson>Well, the process goes something like this. <v Dr. James Peterson>And Mary mentioned it and you mentioned it. <v Dr. James Peterson>The first period is a period of paralysis that can last up to six <v Dr. James Peterson>months where you can't think of anything. <v Dr. James Peterson>You can't read. You have stomach problems. <v Dr. James Peterson>And so then after that, when, as I say, you begin
<v Dr. James Peterson>to distance a little bit, then you can begin to <v Dr. James Peterson>depend on your children ?inaudible? more. <v Dr. James Peterson>And I want to put one thing in here that is extraordinarily <v Dr. James Peterson>important. What we're finding in our studies, we now have over 700 ?inaudible? <v Dr. James Peterson>Interviews, widows and widowers. <v Dr. James Peterson>What we're finding is that an intimate friend, <v Dr. James Peterson>it isn't just that, you know, you get more friends, but it is you find someone <v Dr. James Peterson>that has gone through the same experience that understands your emotions, <v Dr. James Peterson>that you can put your head on the shoulder and cry. <v Dr. James Peterson>Now, if you can do that with a child, that's fine. <v Dr. James Peterson>Generally, you can't. We're also finding that the one person in the family <v Dr. James Peterson>who seems to be most useful in doing what you're saying, coming out of it and finding new <v Dr. James Peterson>identity is the oldest daughter. <v Dr. James Peterson>Yes. We men are not so good at that <v Dr. James Peterson>from what they're learning in terms of the study.
<v Dr. James Peterson>Now, to have children and to have them about available <v Dr. James Peterson>by telephone, if you're feeling low, that's fine. <v Dr. James Peterson>But we need more than that. We need to talk and talk and cry and <v Dr. James Peterson>cry. They need the tears to wash away that <v Dr. James Peterson>terrible sadness and the guilt. <v Dr. James Peterson>Everything that is associated. And if we can have that, that friend, <v Dr. James Peterson>which I call intimate, then that helps a great deal. <v Mary Martin>Do you, Harriet? Because I do. <v Harriet Nelson>Yes. And you know what? I found myself doing - scratching around <v Harriet Nelson>for things inside myself to feel guilty about as though I were punishing <v Harriet Nelson>myself. I think that I was, wasn't I? <v Dr. James Peterson>Exactly. <v Mary Martin>?inaudible? terribly. <v Harriet Nelson>- that he is gone and you are here, and you are trying to punish yourself for <v Harriet Nelson>being here. <v Dr. James Peterson>Exactly. <v Richard Meryman>But that's part of mourning, I think, is that you really have to deal with those things. <v Richard Meryman>And I think of mourning is as wearing out your grief like <v Richard Meryman>an old suit. You go over and over and over that until it's gone.
<v Dr. James Peterson>We call like grief work. <v Jim Hartz>Grief work? <v Dr. James Peterson>Grief work, and it's extraordinarily important. <v Dr. James Peterson>If one doesn't do it, one is then psychologically paralyzed <v Dr. James Peterson>for the rest of one's life. <v Jim Hartz>What happens if you don't get your grief out? What happens to you? <v Dr. James Peterson>If you keep it inside - if you deny it, you keep it inside, and <v Dr. James Peterson>it's as though you were bound up in a straitjacket emotionally. <v Dr. James Peterson>You can't laugh or cry. You can't do anything. <v Dr. James Peterson>And there are people whose whole lives are like that because they haven't cried <v Dr. James Peterson>and they haven't shared. <v Mary Martin>And they - and they are warped. I mean, their lives are warped because of it. <v Mary Martin>Exactly right. <v Richard Meryman>I've always understood that 50 percent of all men marry within six <v Richard Meryman>months. And I think it's because they have found - they've used a woman for this <v Richard Meryman>intimate person and get more and more involved and get married really too soon. <v Richard Meryman>Too soon and have this problem that you described. <v Richard Meryman> <v Dr. James Peterson> The reason that it's too soon is because <v Dr. James Peterson>one is not marrying for the proper reason, that there is a relationship established
<v Dr. James Peterson>that one is marrying to have a sounding board. <v Dr. James Peterson>And that isn't why we want to get married. <v Mary Martin>It doesn't work, often, because of that. <v Dr. James Peterson>No it doesn't. <v Harriet Nelson>I think one of the finest days of my life came the <v Harriet Nelson>first day that I found out I could laugh again. <v Dr. James Peterson>Yes, exactly. <v Harriet Nelson>I mean, I felt like I'd graduated, you know. <v Jim Hartz>Do you remember? <v Harriet Nelson>Yes, I do. And it hasn't been too long ago. <v Harriet Nelson>As a matter of fact, a couple of weeks ago. <v Harriet Nelson>You want to hear about it? <v Mary Martin>I'd love to hear about it. <v Speaker>Well, it was the night that William Saroyan died, and I was sitting there having my <v Speaker>dinner by myself, which is not the happiest thing in the whole world, to sit and eat <v Speaker>dinner by yourself. And it was on television and they came on, said <v Speaker>that Saroyan had died. And I thought, oh, what a loss. <v Speaker>You know, what a wonderful mind, we're going to miss him so. <v Speaker>And then they said that his last words were that he knew it was inevitable, <v Speaker>but he thought he was going to be the exception. <v Speaker>Wonderful mind. At a time like that, he could think of something like that to say. <v Speaker>And I laughed out loud. And it was the first time I laughed out loud in six years
<v Speaker>and I kept laughing all evening long. <v Speaker>As a matter of fact, every time I thought about it for two weeks, I laughed, you know. <v Jim Hartz>Is that it such a typical reaction James? <v Dr. James Peterson>Yes. And that's beautiful, because it tells us you see that there's <v Dr. James Peterson>release now that you can laugh. <v Mary Martin>I had a dream - I'd stopped dreaming. <v Mary Martin>And I didn't ?inaudible? tell you the whole dream, but. I didn't dream at all. <v Mary Martin>I'm sure people do. But there was nothing. <v Mary Martin>I couldn't, I didn't dream. I couldn't read. <v Mary Martin>And one night - oh, I would see at least a year and a half after that, Richard - <v Mary Martin>I had this dream and I saw Richard as clear as a bell. <v Mary Martin>I mean, he looked so well. He looked so handsome and not like he - <v Mary Martin>when I first met him. And he had on a hat. <v Mary Martin>He never wears a hat. Never wore a hat. <v Mary Martin>And he just looked so beautiful. <v Mary Martin>And he was coming towards me. And I tried to touch him and it was gone. <v Mary Martin>And so I said, my friend, my close friend, Janet Gaynor, I told her the dream. <v Mary Martin>And she said, Mary, you are now released. <v Mary Martin>You saw how well he looked. You saw how absolutely well he looked.
<v Mary Martin>And you don't have to feel sad anymore about it. <v Mary Martin>And it did help. And I haven't dreamed it ever again. <v Richard Meryman>That happened to me. I hadn't dreamed about her for months and months and months. <v Richard Meryman>Then suddenly I dreamed of her coming out a door in color and <v Richard Meryman>she had red hair. And I thought that's what she looked like. <v Richard Meryman>And that was it. <v Dr. James Peterson>Did you have a sense of release? <v Richard Meryman>Yes. <v Mary Martin>- it's too soon. It could happen someday. <v Harriet Nelson>I dreamt a lot, but it was always rejection. <v Harriet Nelson>He was always rejecting me. <v Harriet Nelson>I mean, this wonderful man I'd been married to for 40 years who never looked cross-eyed <v Harriet Nelson>at anybody. I woke up and I'd feel - <v Mary Martin>He didn't have time. <v Harriet Nelson>You're right, he didn't have time. <v Harriet Nelson>I kept him very busy. But - but I woke up feeling terrible and <v Harriet Nelson>terribly ashamed about it. You know, that I could even in my dreams, think such a thing <v Harriet Nelson>about us. And it kept coming, and I had - I can't <v Harriet Nelson>tell you how many dreams I had, a rejection. <v Harriet Nelson>And just in the last two weeks, I have dreamt that there was a togetherness.
<v Jim Hartz>Is that typical, too? <v Dr. James Peterson>Yes, that is. <v Jim Hartz>How do you - what do you counsel your patients to do when they have such dreams? <v Dr. James Peterson>Well, depends. If they are dreams of rejection, then we talk <v Dr. James Peterson>and they cathart and I find out what they're feeling guilty about. <v Dr. James Peterson>You know. <v Harriet Nelson>I need a therapist. <v Dr. James Peterson>The what-if's. We are all full of what-if's. <v Dr. James Peterson>What if I didn't make him work so hard? <v Dr. James Peterson>Oh, what if I'd seen he'd gone to a doctor? <v Dr. James Peterson>All these things. So we blame ourselves and then we're apt to have <v Dr. James Peterson>these kinds of rejections. <v Jim Hartz>OK. If we get to this point where we can laugh again and we know we're reemerging, <v Jim Hartz>sometimes that can be a frightening thing in itself to establish a brand new life. <v Jim Hartz>What sort of feelings do most people have at that point? <v Dr. James Peterson>The reason why it's frightening is because this is strange. <v Dr. James Peterson>We're entering a whole new domain. <v Dr. James Peterson>We're going out on our own now to do things we've never done before. <v Dr. James Peterson>And the strange in life is always somewhat frightening. <v Dr. James Peterson>We haven't got that person by our side to talk, to council with,
<v Dr. James Peterson>no. We have to do it all ourselves. <v Dr. James Peterson>And that's rough. <v Mary Martin>That's why I ended up doing Over Easy. <v Mary Martin>I'm doing something I never did. <v Mary Martin>And I think Richard would be very proud of me. <v Mary Martin>Because I don't know what I'm doing. <v Dr. James Peterson>Mary, you remind me of something that is partially an answer to <v Dr. James Peterson>a question raised in the last paragraph of your book. <v Dr. James Peterson>You have one of the most beautiful sentences I know. <v Dr. James Peterson>This sentence says that concentrated <v Dr. James Peterson>devotion of my husband would be lost if I didn't <v Dr. James Peterson>work. <v Mary Martin>It's the truth. <v Dr. James Peterson>Well, it's the truth -. <v Mary Martin>He gave me his life of work. It would have been in vain, if I don't. <v Dr. James Peterson>Exactly. But that is very important. <v Dr. James Peterson>But that which we worked on together, 20 years, 30 years. <v Dr. James Peterson>That's part of the good thing that remains. <v Dr. James Peterson>And we need to pay tribute to the other by work. <v Dr. James Peterson>And we are finding that the difference between people who make good adjustments and those <v Dr. James Peterson>make poor adjustments is partially work.
<v Dr. James Peterson>To be able to establish the work of our hands, as the Bible says, for <v Dr. James Peterson>many reasons. One of them is that that's a tribute to your mate. <v Dr. James Peterson>And you said it beautifully. <v Mary Martin>Thank you. I mean it, seriously. <v Jim Hartz>You raised the subject a minute ago ?inaudible? a dictate about <v Jim Hartz>people who remarry quickly after. <v Jim Hartz>And you said that they do it for all the wrong reasons. <v Jim Hartz>Dick, you have remarried. <v Richard Meryman>Yes, I have. <v Jim Hartz>What was your experience? <v Richard Meryman>Well, I waited a long time. I waited two years. <v Richard Meryman>And I think that that's very important because I I felt I could not <v Richard Meryman>remarry while I still had that turmoil inside of me. <v Richard Meryman>And in fact, we lived together for a year before we were married. <v Richard Meryman>And I couldn't imagine approaching her <v Richard Meryman>emotionally while I was divided in any way. <v Richard Meryman>That would be very difficult to do. <v Dr. James Peterson>Same is true of many other decisions. <v Dr. James Peterson>We ought to put that in here that as we're coming out of the grief situation,
<v Dr. James Peterson>we should not sell our house or decide to move closer to our children <v Dr. James Peterson>or any other major thing. <v Dr. James Peterson>I say six times in my book. <v Dr. James Peterson>Wait and wait and wait. <v Jim Hartz>Harriett, I can't resist. If the right man came along, would you consider remarriage? <v Harriet Nelson>Uh, no. I'm quite sure I wouldn't. <v Harriet Nelson>It was such - mine was such a long marriage. <v Harriet Nelson>And we were - we were just never separated. <v Harriet Nelson>It was 24 hours a day. And I find at this point in my life, I just don't think <v Harriet Nelson>I want to start with that kind of a relationship again. <v Harriet Nelson>I have loads of wonderful friends and I'm very happy about it. <v Harriet Nelson>I just don't - I think it's, shall I say, too late in life? <v Jim Hartz>Don't ever say that. <v Mary Martin>It's never too late. But I understand because I feel the same way. <v Harriet Nelson>It's so hard to start a relationship again. <v Jim Hartz>We're out of time. <v Mary Martin>Oh - we could go on. You know, all these kind of things when you really are intrigued <v Mary Martin>with answers, it's too short. <v Harriet Nelson>I have learned so much this evening. <v Mary Martin>Come back. <v Jim Hartz>Thank you very much, both of you, for being here.
<v Mary Martin>I'm so glad <v Mary Martin>?inaudible? <v Mary Martin>And thank you, all of you, for joining us today, and the warmth and inspiration you've given the world. <v Mary Martin>And please come back, all of you. Harriet. <v Harriet Nelson>Merci. Thank you. <v Jim Hartz>That's it for today. Join us again soon. <v Jim Hartz>For now, goodbye from Mary and me, and all of us on Over Easy.
Over Easy
Episode Number
No. 5019
Widows and Widowers
Producing Organization
Power/Rector Productions (Firm)
KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
"The loss of a spouse is an experience shared by many older adults, and recovering from this loss can sometimes be a long and painful process. Hosts Mary Martin and Jim Hartz talk about widowhood with guest HARRIET NELSON who describes her 40-year marriage to Ozzie Nelson. She reveals some of the secrets of their amazing relationship, discusses the ways in which their family, as seen by millions on the 'Ozzie and Harriet Show,' was the symbol of American family life in the 50's. Mary, Jim, and Harriet are joined by psychologist and grief counselor DR. JAMES PETERSON and author RICHARD MERYMAN, whose book, Hope: A Loss Survived is the story of his struggle to cope with life and single parenthood after the death of his wife of 23 years. Dr. Peterson shares some of the insights he has gained from his work with widows and widowers and [discusses] the importance of completing the grief process and regaining one's own identity after the loss of a spouse. In discussing her recovery from Ozzie's death, Harriet says, 'One of the finest days of my life came the first day I found out I could laugh again. I felt like I'd graduated.' Mary Martin tells of the loss of her husband Richard Halliday and the ways in which she feels her work after his death has been a tribute to their years together. This warm and sensitive discussion on the sorrows and acceptance of widowhood is both enjoyable and informative."--1981 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producing Organization: Power/Rector Productions (Firm)
Producing Organization: KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-955325336c9 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
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Chicago: “Over Easy; No. 5019; Widows and Widowers,” 1981, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Over Easy; No. 5019; Widows and Widowers.” 1981. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Over Easy; No. 5019; Widows and Widowers. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from