She was born prematurely in a plantation home in Woodstock, Tennessee and named Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer. The year was 1870. Her parents wrapped her tiny body in blankets and surrounded her with heated bricks. Few expected her to survive, but Little Lizzy not only lived, she spent the next ninety years defying expectations.
Lizzy’s childhood was as difficult as her birth. The war was over; but the standard of living she’d been born into was gone with it. Her financially challenged family sat in their large deteriorating home and ate sparse meals on fine china. Although she was in her teens before she was exposed to a formal education, Lizzy entered The Female Academy in Clarksville, Tennessee with a sound knowledge of literature and history through her own study of the classics she’d found in her grandfather’s library. Lizzy finished school and married young. She didn’t get happily ever after; she got a mentally ill and abusive husband. As a result of his abuse, Lizzy soon suffered a brief collapse of her own. It was during her recovery that she found her calling as a writer.
Lizzy never enjoyed a happy home with children underfoot, which makes it even more surprising that she became the pioneer of today’s advice columnist, writing under the pseudonym of Dorothy Dix. Long before “Dear Abby” and “Dear Ann” there was “Dear Dorothy” dispensing love and marriage advice with humor, kindness, and common sense and endearing herself to an estimated audience of 60 millions readers, earning herself the title of the most loved woman in the world.
In today’s southern quote we hear advice from this famous undefeatable Tennessean. Dorothy Dix once said, “There isn’t a single human being who hasn’t plenty to cry over, and the trick is to make the laughs outweigh the tears.” – Dorothy Dix