Thursday, February 26, 2015

What Would Cissy Do?

Do you remember them?  They are the Davis family from the sitcom Family Affair.  Naturally, I aligned with Cissy, the eldest sister.  Family Affair was one of those shows that I only saw in reruns when I was home sick from school.  Twins Buffy and Jody were adorable and Mr. French so very debonair, if a bit put out by his new charges.  But it was Cissy whom I studied carefully.  Her colorful mini-dresses were neatly tailored with Peter Pan collars and trimmed sleeves.  I loved her striped skirts, chain belts and bouncy flipped hair.

As for a big sister, Cissy was benevolent and loving to her siblings and tried to explain their new world to them.  The Davis' landed on Uncle Bill's doorstep when they became orphaned suddenly.  I clearly remember the night Cissy went to the mother/daughter dance in a beautiful chartreuse gown on the arm of loving and stoic Uncle Bill, her tawny hair attractively piled on the top of her head.

Thankfully, the Davis' were well-to-do because the family resided in a toney New York City penthouse that had nickel doorknobs in the center of its doors.  And Cissy had a splashy mod bedroom with daisy wallpaper. 

I was a pre-teen when I watched Family Affair and it was at that time that I began to be drawn to youthful muses to emulate.  I was also experiencing a passionate and blossoming interest in clothes and Cissy had plenty of them, all with that quintessential late 60's vibe I still find so appealing.  Her pale tights, small boxy handbags and pastel spring coats made my heart leap with joy and the fact that she was just so nice.  There was a soft ladylike vulnerability to her face and I imagined she was my older sis too.

Our heroes and icons give us blueprints for living and help us hone in on the kind of women we want to become, not just in appearance but also in grace.  "What would Cissy do?" was something I asked myself often and then acted in a way I thought she might, which always seemed sunnier and more pleasant.  Cissy taught me that it was ok to be soft-spoken, considerate and that it was also ok to love and wear clothes that were unabashedly feminine, with hues plucked from summertime. 


  1. What a nice post. I too used to watch reruns of Family Affair and looked up to Cissy too. She was a good role model. I wonder where she is now?

  2. I loved that show too. It was always on after school along with Gilligan's Island. I identified with Buffy because of the age I was at the time, but I did love Cissy's clothing and her perky nature.

  3. I never watched this show but I did know of it--I guess I was busy watching Art Linkletter's House Party! Cissy sounds lovely!

  4. Thanks for the great memories Donna! There were so many "Family Friendly" programs back when we were of that impressionable age.

  5. Hello Donna. This is so spooky because just the other day I was thinking about Family Affair. You will laugh but I identified with Mr. French! He was my favorite character on the show. My favorite episode was when he and the kids were stuck in a cabin in the snow with only a chocolate bar and a few other kitchen staples. He went out and caught a fish and came back in and made the kids dinner and dessert. I can't tell you what an impression that had on me. That may just be where my love of simplicity started. Wow, what memories. xo

  6. So glad to hear from you Janet. Your simplicity movement has inspired me! And I liked Mr. French too. Spooky that you were thinking about the show indeed. But then again, we write in the same vein!