Georgann Rea & Fallen Princesses

Georgann Mary Margaret McAdams
“Snowy” by Dina Goldstein

For some time between Mother’s original, orphaned self, Loretta Gronau, and her ultimate self-made self, Georgann Rea, there was the girl above — Georgann Mary Margaret McAdams, St. Teresa’s Academy Class of 1956.  She was a pretty, young, intelligent girl rescued from an orphanage and living the life of a princess in the wealthy Plaza section of Kansas City, Missouri.  And her life was a fairy tale in the truest sense because her step-mother was evil and the abuse and beatings she suffered inside her very large house went unknown by the outside world.  

This Georgann was biding her time, dreaming of the next twist in her story, the arrival of the handsome prince and her rescue.  And it happened when she met my father.  And while she may have grabbed the keys to his white charger and jumped into the driver’s seat, the end result was the same–they went away to their fairy tale life.  Only it wasn’t what the now Georgann Lawless had expected…

I came across the Fallen Princess series of photographs by Dina Goldstein a photographer based in Vancouver, BC, on Facebook.  They are being “shared” and “liked” all over the place.  They are, like my mother’s story and my own and most other women in one way or another I suspect, a fascinating expression of the ideas of what it is to be a woman in the last fifty or so years — a sometimes twisted combination of expectation, reality and fantasy fueled by our culture and history.  Here’s a link to Dina’s site if you’d like to see more:

I suspect as the photos spread even wider, that they will come up in my Book Group Skype sessions.  Inevitably, during our discussions of Chanel, readers share some of their own stories or their mothers and their childhoods.  And while exact details are always different, there are basic struggles and issues of identity and freedom and frustration that seem common to us all from Betty Friedan who so clearly expressed my own step-mother’s frustrations with marriage and the role of wife that she got a divorce upon finishing her book to now in the responses I hear to Chanel Bonfire.  Andrea Dworkin’s book “Women Hating” from the 70s has a very interesting chapter on fairy tales and the lives of women in contemporary society. 

If your Book Group is reading Chanel, I’d be happy to set up a Skype or FaceTime Q & A with you.  Just email me at  I’m sure we all have lots to talk about!


2 thoughts on “Georgann Rea & Fallen Princesses

  1. Your Mom, Dad and I worked years ago at the Guthrie and you girls were little. JUst would like to know if your parents are living?

    1. Hello Joan,
      Thanks for writing. Unfortunately they have both passed away. My father in 2000, and my mother in 2006. Both died quite young. I’d love to know what you worked on with them at the Guthrie! Please let me know.

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