Let's get physics-al: Evan Handler in String Fever
Scott Wynn
Let's get physics-al: Evan Handler in String Fever

For Bexley's second half, "African Violet Society," Holmes abandons her father's petty anger and turns to her mother's small-scale ambition. Recalling some of Ellen Gilchrist's daffier stories, Holmes relates the events that lead to her mother's presidency of a "very exclusive" ladies' club in Bexley. These include the failure of the current president to convince the governor's wife to lunch with them, and the mental breakdown of the interim president. The farce unfolds as the Holmes's maid, Minnie, becomes deeply involved in the civil rights movement, for which she is nearly let go. Most of the humor in this segment arises from Holmes's depiction of her mother's inability to comprehend the changing times. Minnie breaks down after Martin Luther King's assassination and Mrs. Holmes wonders if she knew him personally. When Minnie complains, "Miz Holmes, you just don't care anything about my people," Mrs. Holmes says, "That's ridiculous! I've got a whole dining room full of African Violets!" It may be a sign of progress that we and Holmes can look back in amusement at the racism and obtuseness of rich Eisenhower-era socialites. But judging from current events, the right-wing bigots may get the last laugh. —James Hannaham

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