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It’s all because of a book…….

Interview with PBS Member Ivy (PBSmaven).

Ivy will appear on ABC’s 20/20 tonight, July 15, 2011 as a part of an episode about Kathryn Stockett’s book, The Help.

PBS:Books often have a tremendous impact on our lives, but rarely is such impact so significantly apparent as has been the case with The Help and our very own Ivy (PBSmaven).

Thanks for asking me to do this interview. I feel like an actual celebrity! lol

Back in Dec. 2010 I read the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The premise of the book is about the women down south and the maids or “help” they had and how they treated them. This took place in the 1960s just before and during the civil rights movement.

The book made me think about my childhood in NY also in the 1960s and a maid that we had growing up back then. Her name is Dorothy and she’d been with my family since my great grandmother…for three generations. The book made me think about how much she meant to me and still does and how much of an influence she had on my life. The book prompted me to write a letter to Dorothy and let her know.

After I wrote the letter I went onto Facebook and looked up the page for the book and movie. I made a comment on the page about how much I enjoyed the book and how it prompted me to write the letter to Dorothy. Soon after I was contacted via Facebook by a producer from ABC’s 20/20 show, Denise Martinez – Ramundo. She asked me if she could speak to me about the letter and the book The Help and of course I said yes. As the producer heard the story of my relationship with Dorothy she asked if I’d be interested in having ABC fly me back to NYC to have a reunion with her. At this point I should mention that Dorothy is now 85 years old and not in great health and due to my own health issues I’m not able to travel much. However, this was a once in a lifetime chance so I knew I had to take it or I’d never see Dorothy again. So on June 15, 2011, ABC flew me back to NY for my reunion with Dorothy. I was interviewed by two of the producers from ABC, Denise Martinez – Ramundo and Lynn Redmond as well as correspondent Deborah Roberts. You’ll have to watch the show which airs this Friday, July 15, 2011 to see how it all turned out!

PBS:  The Help by Katheryn Stockett has been a book that has had lots of people talking about it since the day of its release. Did you have it Wish Listed?

Ivy: No, actually I was so interested in the book that I have to say I went out and actually bought it! That’s the first time I’ve actually bought a book in years! lol I always get my books on PBS but this one I just had to read as soon as I could.

PBS: Did you enjoy reading it because of your life experiences and/or because it was a great book?

Ivy: Both. The Help was easily one of the best books I’ve read in the past year. However, having grown up in the 1960s and having the life experiences that I did brought the book to life for me.

PBS: Can you tell us a bit about the person you were reunited with?

Ivy: Dorothy is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. She was my guardian angel, my protector, my second mother…she was and still is family to me. Dorothy is very religious and always taught me right from wrong. Most of all, she taught me how to love. That even if someone has wronged you to still try to be good to them because you don’t know what they’re going through. So basically she taught me compassion. She is truly an inspiration. She also has a fantastic sense of humor and her laughter was contagious!

PBS: Can you share a memory with us?

Ivy: One of my favorite memories was having lunch with Dorothy. As a little girl I’d sit with her and we’d have lunch and just talk. I honestly can’t remember specifically what we talked about but I remember she would teach me right from wrong and how to be “proper”. To this day, that’s stuck with me.

PBS: How does your experience parallel the book?

The only real thing I can think of that relates to the book (not really a parallel story here) is that I kind of relate to the character Skeeter. I’ve always been the kind of person that can’t stand to see injustice or suffering and the way I grew up was that there was no black or white. People are people, plain and simple. Dorothy and her family are black, I and my family are white, yet I’ve always considered Dorothy and her family my family. To me, we’re all blood. The book made me think about how Dorothy and her family may have been treated by the world back then and it made me really sad to think that they might have been treated any differently then my family and I had. Recently I had a conversation with one of Dorothy’s daughters, Jacqueline about this and she told me that when they had gone down south back in the 60’s they did encounter situations with separate bathrooms for black people and white people, and her being a little girl she didn’t know what it meant and she went into a white bathroom. She said her father scolded her when she came out but she didn’t understand why. It still amazes me to think that people could have been, and in some cases still are, so ignorant and prejudiced. People are people. We all have a heart, we all go to bed at night, we all go to the bathroom, we all love. We’re all the same person.

PBS: This must have been quite emotional for everyone involved in the reunion. Did you cry?

Ivy: OMG did I ever!! I warned the ABC crew that I was a crier and to have tissues handy! I lived up to my promise! lol

At one point when I was reading the letter I had written to Dorothy, there wasn’t a dry eye in my house. lol My Mother, who hadn’t heard about the letter, was crying buckets, the producer was crying, I think even the camera man was crying! lol

PBS: Would you share an excerpt from the letter?

Ivy: Here is an excerpt from my letter to Dorothy:
“…For the last 15 or so years…I’ve kept a picture of you next to my computer and look at it every day. It’s a picture that was taken of you at the luncheon after my grandmother’s funeral. It’s the only picture I have of you but it’s priceless to me. However, I know that with or without that picture, you’ll always be in my heart and prayers as the woman I looked up to, the woman who loved me, the woman who protected me and the woman who never failed to make me smile.”

PBS: Was it difficult to locate Dorothy?

Ivy: Dorothy’s lived at the same address for the last 50 or so years. I had her address still in my address book and ABC contacted Dorothy’s daughter’s Barbara and Jacqueline to set this reunion up. Dorothy had no idea it was going to take place until the minute she saw me.

PBS: Are you planning on seeing the Movie?

Ivy: I’m definitely planning on seeing the movie!

PBS: Have you kept in touch with Dorothy and her family?

Ivy: Yes I have. I’ve spoken to both Dorothy and Barbara by phone and I’m in close contact with Dorothy’s daughter Jacqueline both on Facebook and phone. We’re closer now then ever. We used to play together as little girls and it’s such a blessing to be able to talk as adults. I’m so very thankful for ABC setting up this reunion. I never thought I’d see Dorothy or her family again. This has reunited me with my “long lost family” and it’s been such a huge blessing to me!

Dorothy's daughter Barbara, Ivy and Dorothy

PBS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Ivy: Just two things;
Watch the episode of ABC’s 20/20 on The Help tonight, July 15th so you can see it all for yourself and….you never know where a book will lead you. Reading a book can change your life in ways that you never could have imagined!

PBS: Thank you Ivy, for sharing this wonderful experience with us!

Don’t forget, there’s still time to enter to win free passes to advance screenings of The Help in select cities before it hits theaters nationwide August 10th! Members have until July 20th to submit their entries.

Just click here, complete the 4 questions and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to receive passes to a local showing prior to the August 10th release date.

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16 Responses to “It’s all because of a book…….”

  1. Kathy W. (Nellie) says:

    Ivy, this is such a great story. I already have tears reading it at 4:00 a.m.! I have the DVR fired up and ready so all bases are covered.

  2. Jerelyn H. (I-F-Letty) says:

    Ivy, What an amazing story, I will definitely be watching. Thanks so much for sharing this with your PBS family.

  3. Ivy (PBSmaven) says:

    Thank you to Cheryl for interviewing me and to all of my wonderful PBS friends who’ve been so interested in the story!

  4. T. says:

    Wow, I loved the book and I’ll definitely DVR 20/20 tonight. Thanks for sharing this story with us

  5. Ivy (PBSmaven) says:

    It was my pleasure T.!! I hope you, and everyone, enjoys the show tonight! I haven’t seen the finished product so I’m anxious to see it too! Let me know what you think!

  6. Cozette M. (CozSnShine) says:

    WHAT a wonderful interview! I already have my DVD set up, in case I’m not home. Ivy, thank you for sharing your wonderful story of love with us.

  7. Ivy says:

    Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and to watch tonight Cozi!

  8. Susan R. (Sue-in-AZ) Gilbert, AZ says:


    What a great story – I’m all set to watch tonight.


  9. Ivy (PBSmaven) says:

    Thanks Sue! BTW, looks like you’re a neighbor!!

  10. Traci R. (faeryprincess2005) , says:


    I am really excited to see the interview tonight! It sounds so interesting!


  11. Silvercat says:

    Such a touching story and interview, Ivy. I don’t have cable but will watch the show using the link you have thoughtfully provided.

    Thanks for sharing your heartwarming experience with us.


  12. Ivy (PBSmaven) says:

    Hey everyone,
    Here’s another sneak peek for you. The producer at ABC just sent this link to me. That’s Dorothy and I in the pic. Read the story that’s 2 pages. BTW, they made a mistake with Dorothy’s last name, it’s Green, not Carter. Here’s the link: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/real-life-maid-child-cared-reunited-20-years/story?id=14079986

  13. Ivy (PBSmaven) says:

    Wow, just got a call from the local ABC news station and they’re on their way over to inteview me for tonight’s newscast!! lol

  14. myhotstylist says:

    Just watched the segment, and it was an amazing story! Thanks so much for sharing with us!

  15. Ivy says:

    I’m so glad you liked it! I haven’t even seen it yet!

  16. Ivy (PBSmaven) says:

    Just a quick update;
    When the local ABC news affiliate here in Phoenix got wind that I was going to be on 20/20 they rushed out to my house to interview me, lol. That happened last night right before 20/20 aired and the newscast aired right after. If you’re interested, here’s a filmclip of that broadcast:

    Thank you for all the wonderful and kind notes that you’ve all sent me about my story!

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