Maxine can still crack me up. Like her, there was always someone around in the family who called a spade a spade. In the “politically correct” times we’ve been living in, and now, where EVERYTHING IS AWESOME, I can appreciate Maxine’s character even more. Because most of the people who used to be like her are gone. And I know I should watch Jon Stewart, but I don’t have a TV.
The other day while at the market, I saw a young girl, maybe 11 or 12 years old, hugging a colorful book to her chest. I asked her if I could see the title of the book. It was, The Book of Awesome. Her mother was behind her, and I asked what the book was about? She said that every kid is reading it, and her daughter just loves it. Nothing wrong with love, but this book even has its own Wikipedia page, Now how weird is that? What a peculiar thing, that there is a book written for people to read, about things like,
Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket and Other Simple, Brilliant Things
I wonder what Maxine is gonna have to say about it?
Hey, I might actually read this New York Times bestseller and start to wear a t-shirt with the cover on the front.
So who is the person behind Maxine’s character? The following is taken from the Hallmark website:
John Wagner, Hallmark artist since 1970, says Maxine was inspired by his mother, his maiden aunts and his grandmother, the woman who bought him art lessons when “fill in the pumpkins” was about the extent of his art classes at St. John ‘s Catholic School in Leonia, New Jersey.
When Hallmark launched the Shoebox card line back in 1986, nobody knew that the crabby character gracing the covers of a few cards would become a celebrity. It didn’t take long for Maxine’s irreverent quips about aging, the workplace, retirement, political correctness, and of course sex (or the lack of it) had struck a cord.
“If Maxine can get a laugh out of someone who feels lonely or someone who is getting older and hates the thought of another birthday, or if she can make someone chuckle about stressful interpersonal relationships, then I’m happy. Putting a smile on someone’s face is what it’s all about.”
Why the name ‘Maxine’?
“People at Shoebox started referring to the character as “John Wagner’s old lady”, and I knew that would get me into trouble with my wife,” John says. So the Shoebox team had a contest among themselves to name the character and three of the approximately 30 entries suggested “Maxine”. John says the name is perfect. He’s also humbled by such acceptance of Maxine, and admits he’s proud of her.
So now you know!