I fell in love with Natalie Wood the first time I saw this old black and white movie. One of my favorite scenes is when she is teaching Santa (Edmund Gwenn) how to blow bubbles with her chewing gum and it explodes in his beard. Another is when Santa is teaching her about imagination while demonstrating how to behave like a monkey.
The movie which premiered in 1947 ,was based on a story by Valentine Davies and went on to win Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Gwenn), Best Original Story and Best Screenplay (Davies). It was nominated for Best Picture but didn’t win.
Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade was a yearly ritual in our family and was an intoxicating mix of the smells of turkey roasting and pies baking, with the lure of Christmas literally around the corner. I grew up at a time when Thanksgiving was the gatekeeper for the Christmas holidays. The day after Thanksgiving meant that Christmas was officially on it’s way. Stores exploded with decorations and cities put up all their lights. Tree lots sprung up over night and Santa Claus became a beacon of hope for millions of children all over the world. It was truly magical. This story begins around the parade, Susan Walker’s (Natalie Wood) mom (Maureen O’Hara) works for Macy’s and helps with the parade.
I loved this 1947 version because it captured the diversity and universal spirit that Santa Claus represents. He isn’t just about presents, but is the symbol of international good will. When he speaks Dutch to the war orphaned, little girl sitting on his lap,and then sings a song with her in Dutch, you realize this isn’t just about retail consumption. A mesmerized Susan looks on. She realizes everything her mother has told her about Santa Claus being a myth, might not be true
I love Thelma Ritter (she’s a hoot) as the exhausted mom who decides to set Santa straight (when he tells her little boy he will get what he has asked for) when she knows there isn’t one to be had anywhere she has looked. She thanks the Macy’s manager for the wonderful “stunt” they are pulling in sending customers to other stores if you don’t have it, starting a new trend in shopping.
I had a simple Thanksgiving feast with my son today at the home of a long time friend. There is nothing better than great food and good friends, AND the kick off of my holiday movies. Tomorrow’s movie is a surprise. See you then. Happy Thanksgiving friends!
[Originally posted November 23, 2011]
So many of them…Libraries,turkey,friends, old movies. Speaking of which, tomorrow kicks off my personal movie count down to Christmas. I have a pretty big collection of holiday movies that I start watching on Thanksgiving. I usually watch at least one a day…I can hear my son groaning in Colorado now. He is the lucky one because his sister is here and will be forced to wear ear plugs to avoid the holiday favorites her mom watches every year. It usually starts with “Holiday Inn” strarring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire but not always. I have at least eight versions of “A Christmas Carol” including Mr. Magoo’s (my kids loathe this one the most because it’s a musical and they can’t get the songs out of their heads for days) and the Flintstones. It is my favorite story of all time. I didn’t appreciate it either when I was younger but find the reminder of second (third, fourth etc.) chances comforting. My favorite version of this movie is “A Muppet Christmas Carol” and it is the only one I can get my grown kids to watch with me. I keep telling them some day when I’m gone they will want to watch them but they vehemently deny that will ever happen.
Most of the movies are oldies because they don’t make good movies anymore. Even Hallmark has gotten cheesier but times change and maybe that’s why I love going back to a simpler time, if there even was such a thing. Most of these movies were made before I was born but capture a spirit that I love, black and white. You had to use your imagination. My kids say they are boring but I say they are classic.
Speaking of classic…I read Nicole Baart’s book “Snow Angel” that was co-written with Glenn Beck. That is one talented writer and she’s ours! How lucky are we?! The story has touches of Sioux Center throughout (it’s a fictional town) so see if you can find them. She is one of the most poigniant writers to come on the horizon. The story reminded me of how lucky I was to have “angels” in the wings to parent me and love me when my own didn’t.
Don’t forget to grab a wrapped Christmas book on the adult display table. To make it more fun we have mixed some free “gift” books in with the rest so you might really get a surprise. You’ll have to unwrap it before you leave so you can check out the library copies. That starts December first. Book club does the same random process for the book choice and we will meet here Dec. 17 to talk about our favorites. Please limit yourself to one free book. Thanks for making the library such a delightful place to work! Marsella
[Originally posted November 1, 2011]
I was setting up a book display for November and was trying to come up with a theme. I usually know the theme before I set it up but not this time. It is all cook books with yummy comfort foods and lots of pumpkin and squash recipes. I tried numerous combinations but nothing fit. I was getting frustrated and then it hit me, KISS, keep it simple silly. PLENTY… it sums up the season ahead doesn’t it? Somehow when I am worrying over how little my pay check seems to cover it never occurs to me to acknowledge the bounty all around me. I was driving to work this morning and a corner house had a yard completely covered with the most beautiful golden leaves. It was so pretty and I was grateful for this person not keeping up with the raking. I had an unexpected free oil change with an air filter thrown in from a wonderful group of guys. I found out that I can change a medication that I can no longer afford. There is plenty to be had all around me and I wouldn’t appreciate it as much if I had everything.
I found this wonderful quote in Susan Fox Rogers’ book:
“Tell me what you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver
I’d plan to spend it in a library. Wait a minute, I already am! Read a cute new mystery named “Books Can Be Deceiving” by Jenn McKinlay. It is about a librarian who moves to an small island village. Don’t hear about too many of those jobs in real life. That is why the trip is so enjoyable (and cheap) from one’s couch.
If you haven’t read “I am the Messenger” get a copy, we still have a few. It is wonderful and I look forward to our discussion in November. Stay plenty (sorry) warm. Marsella