“Lizzie Borden Took an Axe and….” WHOA! STOP RIGHT THERE!. NO SHE DIDN’T! NO, SHE DID NOT! IT WASN’T AN AXE – IT WAS A HATCHET! CAN YOU PEOPLE GET THAT STRAIGHT ONCE AND FOR ALL???!
LOOK, I’LL ILLUSTRATE THE DIFFERENCE FOR YOU:
Here, let me illustrate a little further:
Now, granted, that’s just the head of a handle-less HATCHET, but it’s STILL a hatchet. Oh, I know, “hatchet” doesn’t fit into that inaccurate quatrain quoted more often than reruns of that Elizabeth Montgomery made-for-TV movie. But look, here she is and what is she holding?
A HATCHET!! And a pretty good replica of what was presented at the Trial, sans the handle, of course. Anyway, it was a HATCHET. A HATCHET, AND NOT AN AXE.
Point is, that particular quatrain and the images from that specific movie have created a mindset of Lizzie Borden not only being guilty, but a one dimensional, psychopathic persona with whom most of the “cult” followers are familiar. People who read books and who have studied the case know differently. However, those gawd-awful paranormal shows and misinformation regurgitated from one documentary to another have permanently encapsulated the poor woman into a blood-drenched, demented killer. But no matter.
Perhaps we can start by re-writing that “haunting melody”????
LIZZIE BORDEN TOOK A HATCHET
AND GAVE HER MOTHER 19 WHACKITS
WHEN SHE SAW HER WORK WAS FINE
SHE GAVE HER FATHER ANOTHER NINE.
Come on. Give it a try. It has a nice beat and you can skip rope to it. Any bibliophiles out there wanna put it on YouTube? Be my guest.
A friend recently wrote me that Lizzie Borden was a replicant cyborg sent from the future to kill Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Borden. I found that interesting and began thinking: What if she was a 19th Century Doomsday Prepper in Fall River?
Just as modern day Doomsday Preppers, Lizzie Borden would have contemplated her reasons: A collapse of the economy and the loss of her father’s fortune and what that would mean to her own financial security; a hostile takeover of the drunken Irish mill workers; an aerial attack by France dropping exploding cheese and wine bottles from giant air-filled balloons killing two thirds of the town’s population and half its horses. Or maybe she just felt she had to prepare for *something* because doom and gloom was a recurring characteristic of her basic personality. After one adopts this premise, it follows she would have begun her preparations with the planned elimination of dour Andrew and long-suffering Abby. I think those plans would have included disposing of the hatchet in such a manner it would never be found. After all, she came from the future (OUR future) and she may have studied on reverse engineering of manufactured steel and bio-chemical reconfigurations and transformed the hatchet into handkerchiefs. Hey, it’s possible.
It was her July 26, 1992 article by which I was informally introduced to Mary Cantwell. I was in NYC on July 26th and 27th of that year enroute to Fall River for the 1992 Centennial Conference on Lizzie Borden. I was so struck by her humor (let alone accuracy in her column) and thrilled she had spoken to my friend, the late John Corrigan.
When I first arrived in Fall River, I showed the article to Florence Brigham, then Curator of the Fall River Historical Society. Florence put me in touch with Mary Cantwell and we subsequently enjoyed a correspondence over many years. We shared the fact we had raised our children on our own as working mothers in two decades (70’s and 80’s) where workplace policies were not considerate of our situations. One of her low points was being dumped by James Dickey, (he wrote Deliverance) for a “ravish me now’ much younger blonde. Men. Can’t live with ’em. Can’t kill ’em. (I forget who originated that). Which brings me to this next random selection.
I have this theory about why men are pigs.
Men have their sexual organs outside – usually perpendicular and on the hunt. Women, on the other hand, have their sex organs placed internally. “Internalized sex.” Get it? Oh they gather, sure, but they think differently. We like the romantic aspect of the act – men just like the act. Gross generalizations here, but this post isn’t supposed to be more than a paragraph or two and look what I’ve done?
So I’ll shut up for now and go back to writing Lizzie Borden’s Burn Book Diaries. Boy, oh boy, is *she* gonna have her day!!!