Beehivey, Redheaded, and Giddy

Happy 88th Birthday to Charlotte Rae!

You take the good, you take the bad, you take the housekeeper on Diff’rent Strokes and give her her own spin-off, and you’ve got a hit 80s sitcom called The Facts of LifeCharlotte Rae played the housemother of Eastland, Mrs. Garrett. And although Father Time has turned her hair a fetching shade of white…

most of us remember her all beehivey, redheaded and giddy:


You older folks may remember her as Sylvia Schnauzer on the sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?, but she will always be Mrs. Garrett to me.

Like The Nanny‘s Fran Drescher, who was married to a gay man for 21 years, Rae stayed with her husband for an astonishing 25 years until he came out of the closet.


I guess she took the good and took the bad.


Other than the movie about the pig and the spider, as well as an alternative music hit that I used to watch on MTV’s 120 Minutes called “Charlotte Anne,” I have no association with the name. Not all English degree majors have an affection for Charlotte Bronte with two dots above the e.

But the name is winning favor amongst modern day mommies-to-be. Don’t call it a comeback. Okay, call it a comeback. Back in 1999, the name Charlotte was ranked #308 in U.S. Popularity. By 2012, it had zoomed to #19. The most recent information from May 2013 shows the listings as such:

I know, old people’s names, right? Well, history repeats itself. Although I wouldn’t get too excited about seeing Maude up there any time soon.

25 thoughts on “Beehivey, Redheaded, and Giddy

  1. Oooh Oooh-Car 54 Where are you? I remember that show. It wasn’t very funny. I remember Mrs. Garrett better. I think Charlotte is a charming name. Whenever I hear it I always think of the movie “Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte”. Not anyone named Bronte. With or without 2 little dots. And what the heck do those 2 little dots mean? Oh I Goggled “oil pulling”. Yikes. Sounds interesting. Would bacon grease work?


    1. Ooh, I wish bacon grease did work. I’m going to try a week of oil pulling and see if it makes my gums feel better. I never saw “Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte.” The name is growing on me, too.


      1. Yes. Nick Cage (OK, does anyone really call him Nick?) found the “key” that unlocked the treasure room in the first National Treasure Movie ( Now I would very much like to see a National Treasure 3 someday…) So the ship was named Charlotte, (they may have mentioned why, but I just don’t remember)
        There is also a band that came out in the 90’s called Good Charlotte , but alas I am not up on my 90’s music so have no idea if they were any good.


      2. I do recall that band, but couldn’t tell you any song of theirs. It must be terrible. They should be called Bad Charlotte since we can’t remember their hits.


  2. True story, Kerbey: My whole life, I heard my grandfather calling my grandmother Tess. When I got into my teens, a light bulb went off finally that Tess was a nickname, so I asked my Nana what her real name was.

    Charlotte, she said. She made a face. I told her that Charlotte was a way prettier name than Tess. She made another face. And, whoa, could she make a face.

    I never mentioned the name Charlotte again.


    1. Tess sounds like a spitfire name, Charlotte more soft and subdued. How you get Tess from Charlotte is like getting Jack out of JFK. I hope you can find a picture of her making that face. 🙂

      My association of Tess is high school, reading Tess of the D’Urbervilles. No idea what it was about.


  3. Oh what a wonderful way to start your post! I love that song and what fun to have it in my head 🙂 (no sarcasm here, really) She looks good for 88. Did not know her husband came out as gay. Huh. Seems you’ve been doing name research, Kerbey. Any reason in particular?


    1. I just love celebrity trivia, that’s all. 🙂 No, names are fascinating! I have strong feelings toward names. Today I am bothered by Kameron.


      1. That’s why I’m so rich! And my husband’s agriculture degree has proved equally useful while he puts bikes together! Yay, four years of college!


  4. Mrs. Garrett was a interesting TV character because she was not technically a TV mom but still fulfilled the TV mom role in a warm and compassionate way. Red heads rule.. I should know I am married to one.


  5. Very cool memories came flooding back from this, Kerbey! I love the older women in shows that we did not pay attention to, when we were younger. They have some great quotes and fantastic ‘attitude!!’


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