Sunday, March 20, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Week 12 - Movies

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History is an annual challenge for family historians to write about their own lives.  Amy Coffin is the author. 

Mom loved movies.  We'd climb into a jitney (a sort of taxi) and ride from our suburban home in Daly City to whatever theater in downtown San Francisco was showing a kids' movie.  Lady and the Tramp was a favorite.  Alice in Wonderland gave me nightmares of falling down a never-ending hole in the ground.  Yikes!

Mom's big purse would be full of the makings of spectacular salami and cheese sandwiches that we'd put together and eat during the movie.  Real Italian salami, not the mushy stuff they now sell in the chain groceries.  Swiss cheese with flavor that "bit" your tongue.  Incredible onion rolls that married the meat and cheese superbly.  Nonpareils for dessert (little domed coins of chocolate with tiny white balls of white sugar on top).  Glorious!

Not that food was always the highlight of our time together.  But it was sure a very close second to whatever else was going on. 

Movies were magic for me, and still are.  I've watched my share of stinkers, but a few were more than worth the time:  Out of Africa, Funny Girl, all of the Bourne mysteries, Star Trek (my husband and I found our first common interest in the original TV series), Star Wars (the original three movies, not the latter), Dr. Zhivago, Galaxy Quest (not Academy Award material, but it was hilarious!), The Godfather series, Roxanne, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Toy Story series, The Professional (if you haven't seen this, you've missed one of Natalie Portman's best childhood performances), Terminator (and another of Arnold's successes -- Kintergarden Cop), WALL-E (a lovely animated film), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (hey, I'm not averse to English comedy now and then), Braveheart, Up (one of the best of all time, animated or otherwise), and many more.  Any genre can have its winners.  Die Hard comes to mind, along with Rocky.

Mom was still taking me to movies during my high school years.  We went to see a James Bond film with Sean Connery -- Thunderball.  A delicious, sexy film with a handsome star.  But.  Have you ever sat through a sexy movie ... with your mother?  Mortifying.  She never made a comment.  I didn't either.  But I'm sure my beet red cheeks must have said it all.

Mom missed going to the theater after her hearing deteriorated to the point that it would be physically painful for her to be in a theater with its blaring sound.  So when I visited for the holidays, I'd bring my video player and a batch of movies on VHS tape.  We could control the sound and spend hours watching in the comfort of her living room.  Me on the floor, her on the couch with her afghan over her legs. 

Whenever I see a really great movie, I think about her and wonder if I could maybe sneak some salami and cheese sandwiches into the theater.  I carry a big enough purse.  Hmmm.

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