Where Will 'Mad Men's Sally Draper Be 10 Years After The Finale? This Girl's Got Writing In Her Blood
In the penultimate episode of Mad Men, Betty Draper was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer that will take her life in less than a year. In her goodbye note to her daughter Sally, Betty writes, "I know your life will be an adventure." Throughout the series, we've rooted for Sally to overcome the tragedies of her upbringing to become a well-adjusted young woman. What will happen to Mad Men 's Sally Draper 10 years after the show ends, in 1980? Will she try her hardest to not become her parents? Or will Don's prophetic words ring true, and she'll become just like him and her mother?
Sally was supposedly born in 1954, which would make her 26 in 1980. But what comes before that? In that poignant round-up of last glimpses of our favorite characters in the finale episode, "Person to Person," we saw Sally stepping into the role of caretaker for her mom: washing dishes while Betty gets weaker, shielding Gene from bad news, and teaching Bobby how to cook. No doubt, the few years after Betty's death will be a challenge for Sally. In her mom's absence, she'll probably be taking on mothering baby Gene, and mentoring Bobby. If it weren't for the responsibility that she probably feels for her brothers, I would guess that Sally would move to San Francisco and shack up in Haight-Ashbury. In the end though, I imagine her staying in the northeast.
Owing to Sally's rebellious streak, you could argue that she wouldn't go to college. However, I can't imagine that Don would let her get away with that. She tends to listen to him when he levels with her. My best guess is that she'd go to a small liberal arts college. But rather than directly repeat her mom's college experience at Bryn Mawr, she'd go somewhere slightly more alternative like Hampshire or Sarah Lawrence. Perhaps she'd study psychology — owing to the roiling mental illness cauldron that was her childhood — but she'd read Joan Didion's Play It As It Lays, which would inspire her to become a writer. She'd also read The Feminine Mystique, and it would change the way she views her condition in the world, as well as her understanding of her mom.
After school, Sally would move to New York to do the following things: find out if she wants to be a writer, and get a taste of the "real world" and see if it's all it's cracked up to be. She'd move in with one of her college friends, and they'd have the kind of complicated but desperately close relationship that young twenty-something girls have when living together.
Peggy, who is now a bigshot, would use her connections to get Sally her first job. Turns out, Sally can write, so Peggy has no problem getting her in the door at Ms. She starts as a fact checker, but works her way up the ladder, and becomes Editor Suzanne Braun Levine's assistant. By the time it's 1980, she's an associate editor, and reports from the front lines of second wave feminism on the regular. Respect.