A Valentine’s Day Post

My husband walks into the room carrying an old-fashioned  sound movie projector.

“Look”, he says, “ I found this on Ebay. We can finally watch our old movies again.”

He sets up the projector, and I impatiently wait for the movie to begin. I want to revisit the past. Finally, the  projector makes a whirring sound and  I’m transported back to 1982.  My heart skips a beat when I see my little girl, Stacey. She has a headful of blonde curls, and an engaging smile. Although she is barely two, she is wearing a pink shirt that says “big sister” in bold black letters.

Her little brother, Brian, is sitting in his orange baby seat. He’s only about six months old. One day, he will travel the world, but in 1982 he is restricted to the top of a kitchen table.

The movie camera turns toward me. My appearance startles me. I didn’t know I’d aged so much. My hair is long, wavy, and dark brown, and I am surprisingly thin.

I whistle at my son, and he giggles. He turns toward his sister, and intently looks at her. It’s the start of a close relationship between the two of them; one that will last.

Turning to my daughter, I ask her to say”daddy”. She complies, then shoves the movie microphone close to her mouth. I ask her to say “nose”. It’s too much for her, and she throws down the microphone. I should have known when to stop. It’s not the last time I will conflict with my spirited daughter.

The movie gets a little shaky, and I remember taking over the movie camera. I focus it on my tall strapping young husband. He scoops both children up in his arms. My older daughter, not wanting to miss out on the fun, enters the kitchen. Before she can say anything, I hear the reels signaling the end of the movie.

The wall gets dark, and we turn on the lights. Now, there are only the two of us standing in the same kitchen where the movie was made all those years ago.

Six months go by, and now I find myself standing in the “Renaissance Hotel” in Columbus, Ohio. Stacey has grown into an independent young woman. In a few hours, she will become a wife. She is behind the door, ready to reveal herself to the female members of the wedding party.

“Are you ready to see her?” asks my oldest daughter.

“Ready,”we say in unison.

The door opens, and a beautiful bride steps forward. Her  flouncy wedding dress, without jewels or beads on it, is simple and elegant. The veil has little scattered rhinestones and a pretty pearl barrette  is holding her blonde curls in place. She is wearing the simple diamond necklace my husband and I bought her for her birthday.

Celebrating Love

“You never looked so beautiful,” I say.

“Thank you mommy,” she replies.

The rest of the day unfolds like a  Frank Capra movie.  The sunny weather and blue sky make it a perfect day to get married on the third floor terrace of the lovely hotel. There is a panoramic view of downtown Columbus, Ohio. This location is fitting because generations of my husband’s family has worked in locations within view.

We all laugh at a large image of Andy Warhol staring at us from an adjacent building. It’s almost as if he’s come to the wedding without an invitation.

The wedding guests include family members from all over the country, but most of them are their friends. I miss my mother for a moment. She lived a long life, and always liked family celebrations.  A bittersweet feeling momentarily washes over me.

As the wedding party lines up inside the hotel, we vaguely hear music coming from the terrace.  My husband, daughter and I wait for our cue. I was honored when she insisted we both walk her down the aisle.

Finally, we hear the beginning notes of the  Pachelbel’s Canon, and we start towards the chupa (altar). The look on the  handsome groom’s face is joyful and loving.  She gave her heart to him long ago, so I don’t feel any sense of loss. They are so right for each other.

Since they come from two different religions—Judaism and Catholicism—they have chosen a non-religious person to marry them. He’s a lay person who has the authority to marry couples. He is a good choice; he does an expert job leading the ceremony.

They tried to include parts of both religions in the ceremony. A chupa (altar), and a unity candle. There is a reading from the New Testament.

I reach for my husband’s hand during the ceremony. We are still each other’s best friend and we are still in love.

My little girl, now grown up, stands across from her soon-to-be husband. The tears of joy in his eyes— when he looks at her— starts her own.  Lovingly, he wipes hers away.  It speaks volumes about their love.

I listen to the wedding ceremony they’ve written themselves. They have compiled prayers and words from different traditions. The ceremony speaks of love, commitment and becoming one. I am so busy watching them that I don’t absorb every word. When it’s time to light the unity candle, the wind keeps blowing it out. Finally, their two older sisters block the wind, and the candle finally lights. Later, he breaks the glass. One final tradition from Judaism and they are married.

The musicians playing at the reception are like the groom’s family. He is the lead guitar player, and one of the singers. He brings her close to him, and surprises her by singing her some songs The guests gather around to watch. Their happiness is contagious, and everyone is smiling.

The bride and groom sit on chairs, and are lifted during the ceremony, a Jewish tradition. No one is sure how long they should be aloft, and they both look relieved when the chairs are once again on the ground.

It’s a lively wedding, and two traditional dances are introduced to the guests, the Italian tarentella, and the Israeli hora.  At first, it’s a little awkward, but most everyone ends up laughing and out of breath.

The celebration lasts until midnight. The musicians put away their instruments, and the wedding ends.

A memory of a perfect day will be stored in my heart. It will be there for me when I need it.

Good friends can bring you joy

The older you get, the more you realize material possessions don’t mean much. You get a new car, it smells new, it’s pretty and in 20 minutes you’re used to it. You get some new clothes, you wear them once and you’re used to them.

You buy a new pair of earrings or necklace. People are  really complimenting them, not you. You’re not shining any more naturally, so you need a little help.

There is nothing like good friends. If you find good people to surround yourself with it’s worth more than material possessions can ever mean. They will listen to you when you’re in pain, they will keep you going through tough times. Laughing is a good thing to do with a friend.

Sometimes, if they’re friends you’ve had for a long time, you share a history. Treasure those friends because they’re few and far between.

Instead of looking for possessions to make you happy, look for friends. If you choose carefully, you will not get tired of them. They can keep you happy for decades.

When you’re older, sometimes you have to push yourself to meet people. There are places to go where you can meet people. There are  tons of meetups online, http//www.meetup.com.,  where people go to meet people.  I’ve joined several, and the people are great. If you share an interest, age doesn’t really matter.

Most universities have programs for senior citizens. If your 60, you can audit classes for free. What’s better then learning something new, and not having to worry about the grades your getting? Learning for the sake of learning. It’s a great way to meet people too!

I went to a writer’s conference at a community college. I was worried about being the oldest one there. I fit right in! Everyone was about my age. I felt comfortable, and  I made some great contacts.

There are Senior Centers where you can do activities: exercise, painting, dance, and all kinds of activities. You might think that’s just for old people, but take a look in the mirror.  Sometimes the people there might be the same age as you. You never know unless you try!

Columbus, Ohio, has a cultural arts center. They have great facilities for making jewelry, taking painting classes, pottery, and every mode of art that you can imagine. I’m sure there’s places like that nation-wide.

Not to mention exercise. That can do so much for you. It makes you feel terrific.   Join a health club. If you can’t lift weights, or play tennis anymore, you can go into the pool. There’s water aerobics, and even water bikes. Attend a cycling class ―in the water! After you work off all those calories, go to lunch together.

Why is it so difficult to admit you’re older? Baby boomers are such a large part of the population. We’ve made so many things cool and great. Why not make getting older the thing to do, and making and keeping friends a cool great thing to do!

Movie Review “The Artist” may even be too old fashioned for Baby Boomers

“The Artist” is a gutsy attempt to do something different in Hollywood. The scenery is fantastic, the actors are competent, but the story may be too simplistic and trite for many, especially people under the age of forty.

One wonders how it won a Golden Globe for the best picture of the year.

The actors do get to show off their acting abilities. Emotions show on their faces, and they use their bodies to best advantage. John Goodman (Al Zimmer) demonstrates his nonverbal acting abilities. He plays a shrewd, but likeable, movie producer.

The story is quite simple. George Valentine (Jean Dujardin) is a silent actor adored by everyone, including himself. In the opening scene, he takes a bow, and won’t get off the stage. The little dog who is featured in movies with him is much more engaging and appealing.

You know he is in for trouble when Al Zimmer shows him a talkie. A lovely ingenue, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) adores Valentine. In the beginning of the movie she boldly kisses him. Later on, she sneaks into his dressing room and caresses his tuxedo. This is the most sensual scene in the movie.

It’s the most sensual scene you’re going to see in this movie. As Valentine goes downward in popularity, she becomes more famous. Zimmer fires him, and makes her a talkies star.

She is deeply in love with Valentine, and keeps looking out for him. Even when he becomes a washed up drunk.

The youth of today would probably be bored by the black and white film, and the absence of sound from 99% of the movie. I don’t want to ruin the surprise by telling you when you hear anything at all.

The real star of the film is a little cute dog who provides a bit of diversion, and may entertain the animal lovers out there. He almost seems more human than the main character.

If you’ve ever been knocked down, and had to fight your way back you may be able to feel some empathy for Mr. Valentine.

If your used to car chases, special effects, and explicit sex, don’t see this movie. If you need a tricky plot to keep you interested, this isn’t for you. If you like to hear human voices, definitely stay away.

It did hold my interest 75% of the time,  but I was expecting more than I received. I would bet this is going to be the only silent movie made for another 100 or so years.

I give it a C+The + is for having the nerve to put out a movie like this in the 21st century. I’m guessing that is why the Academy of Motion Pictures gave it 10 Oscar nominations.

If you want to see a good silent movie, check out one of Mary Pickford’s old movies