Category Archives: goosebumps

True Halloween Story: circa 1935 or ’36

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This was in my past Halloween posts.

One from what I consider the “classic

collection” of stories. When I used just

words to describe and illustrate my

posts. The man you will hear sharing an

old memory is gone now. He has since

passed away. . .

Let’s go back to the year my Mom would

turn 85 and I was visiting her at her

Senior Living apartment. We had

ordered our meals to take up 

to her apartment. . .

“An elderly gentleman was waiting to

pick up his and his wife’s dinners

last night, usually we sit for about 

25-30 minutes chatting with other

people.  Mom sits and sips her wine,

looking and studying faces. Some

are familiar and some are not so. 

We talked to this nice man, named

Felton, a few nights in a row, 

so she was less wary and 

more comfortable with him.

My Mom asked him if he liked

computers and if he had ever 

read any blogs?

Great “kidder” my Mom! 

You know how when you are young, 

you may”use” your kids as excuses 

or possibly as the way to open a

conversation? 

My Mom is the best for being my

“story hunter,” lately.

She asked him the best question!

“Do you have any special, scary

childhood memories of Halloween?”

Here is Felton’s story, with mostly

memories from his fourth grade

“trick or treating” experience.

He thinks it would have been 1935

or maybe 1936 when they occurred!

Felt and his two good friends,

one a boy who had grown up with

him and also his “best friend” and

a girl he had been considering

being his “girl friend,” were heading

out on a long ago Halloween night.

The candles in the pumpkins on his

porch were lit, his parents, he

recalled, were sitting and waiting

to hand out homemade cookies

wrapped in waxed paper and tied

with orange ribbons.

Felt’s friend, Buddy, was wearing his

“bum” outfit and his “future girlfriend,”

Sally, was wearing what she was

calling a “Snow White costume.”

Felton says he thought her big sister

may have lent her a headband and

pasted some costume jewelry on it,

like a crown, and she had a blue skirt,

white shirt and red vest on.

Her sister had given her rosy cheeks

and bright red lipstick-stained lips.

In Felton’s opinion,

“Sally looked beautiful!”

and added,

“I was wearing a plaid flannel shirt

and worn out jeans, with a big

hobo pack on a stick.

We boys often went as hobos.”

A side funny comment was made

when Felt reflected some more,

“I suppose Sally didn’t want to 

get any apples,” 

(as Snow White.)

We all smiled and Mom

chuckled saying,

“That’s a good one!”

Felt informed us that his memories of

actual treats were apples, cookies,

carrots and even cold pancakes.

(We said, “Really?!”)

and if lucky, 

homemade popcorn balls

and rarely,

Cracker Jacks!

Felt set the “mood” then, by saying,

“Did you ever think a witch lived

down the street from you?”

Mom said,

“Yeah, but she was just Mrs. Donahue!”

(We all laughed a bit about her reply!)

There was a house at a dead end of his

long and winding street. He said

it was very dark and gloomy due to

no street lamps so he and his friends

had never gone to beg for treats there.

It was rumored to have “spirits” that

flew around and haunted it with a large,

old witch living there. As the story

went, every kid that attempted to stop

and sell anything or stop and ask

for treats, would be killed with 

their eyes would be pulled out 

of their dead

eye sockets!

Mom gasped, appropriately!

I was enthralled, secretly memorizing

the phrasings that he used, too.

Felt added, “The eyeballs were the

witch’s souvenirs!”

Felt bragged that he never believed

the stories but had never gone up

those rickety steps nor had asked for

donations to his pillow case, full

by the time he reached that

end of the road.

While getting towards that end of the

street along came his

big brother,

Freddy.

“How did I recognize him in his

costume?

Well, let me tell you this, he had

no business trick or treating!

He was far too old to be doing it!

But he had my cowboy bedsheet over

his head, with his eyes cut out,

being on both sides

of a horse!”

He continued farther saying that his

brother had “broken the brother

covenant”

by daring him to go and ring the

doorbell or knock on that

big gray door!

We both asked,

“Did you really have a

‘brother covenant’?”

And Felton said, “Well, these things

are understood between brothers!

He should not have made me have

to do that and I was embarrassed

if I didn’t, due to Sally being there!”

Felton then added,

“Nobody wants to look like a chicken

when your future reputation is riding

on the dare! I was trying my hardest

to make a good impression on Sally!”

This is the precious line I memorized

and closed my eyes to keep for you all:

“After all, death is instant, but being

called a ‘chicken’ lasts a lifetime!”

This part continued to be very good,

I am so glad we had the time to listen

to Felton. We encouraged him with nods

of our head and “go on’s” along

the way, too.

So, Felt says, he went up the broken

down stairs to the dark, looming house

and trying not to make any noises. He

stepped carefully so that the wooden

porch beams would not creak. He felt

the palms of his hands get sweaty.

He “crept” towards the door.

As he was reaching for the doorbell

next to the huge gray door with paint

peeling off it, the door flew open!

He heard from deep inside of the

“witch’s house,”

a continuous shrieking sound!

Felt said, “It sounded like a ‘screaming

banshee!’ It gave me goosebumps!”

Felt told us he turned sideways, he is

never sure WHY he went that way,

but he headed down the length of the

porch till he ran into

a large, wooden

big tub or vat.

He toppled over ~ INTO the vat!

He felt squishy, slimy shapes in his

fingers

(“Oh no! the children’s eyeballs!”

Felton told us.)

Then the light on the porch

suddenly came on!

He was in a wooden vat of grapes!

The sticky, purplish liquid wasn’t blood!

The round, mushy shapes

weren’t eyeballs!

The large, “witch” came towards him,

yanked on his arms and dragged

him into her house.

The woman said,

“Wait here!”

Felt said, “I did not dare move! The door

of her house had been slammed shut

and that woman seemed angry!”

She went into what he assumed was

the kitchen because she came out

into her sitting room, where she set

two tea cups down and the still

hissing tea kettle on a

crocheted hot pad.

She again used a demanding tone,

“Don’t you dare sit down!”

And she stomped up the stairs in

these big, untied leather boots.

When she came back she had a nice

warm set of wet wash cloths

and handed one at a time to Felton.

He wiped off reddish purple “goo.”

She inquired his name, he told her.

She finished wiping him up with a

dry towel. She laid the towel on

her couch for him to sit down.

She then told him

her name was “Miss Miller.”

She asked him to sit down.

She handed him a wax paper

wrapped caramel apple.

She poured him a hot cup of tea.

Felton paused to say,

“I noticed that my big brother and my

friends did not knock on the door

nor come to save me!

I sat back on her rose tapestry sofa

and enjoyed my caramel apple

and listened while she talked to me.”

“She told me that she didn’t have

any children nor did she have any

friends. She told me this while

I waited for my tea to cool off.”

Felton said in a soft voice,

“I sensed she was lonely and

I felt sorry for her, too.”

She told me she was making wine

and that vat was filled with the

beginnings of a good wine, needed

days more to ferment.

She looked at me and I looked at her.

Really studied her.

She looked about fifty but at my age,

who knows how old she was?”

With a bottle of her homemade wine

in his one hand and a second

caramel apple wrapped up and

thrown into his pillow case of less

exciting treats,

Felton was sent on home after

about thirty minutes

of conversation.

Felt turned as he was leaving and said

he would come back, 

if his mother let him, 

another day to visit.

Felton said,

“Miss Miller smiled one of the nicest,

warmest smiles I have ever been given.”

“I always thought of Miss Miller from

that time on, as a nice neighborly lady.

Oh, and I had the best of times riding

on that wave of popularity

when you “beat the bad guy”

or “are a super hero” because I

lived to tell the story of going into

the witch’s house and making

it back home in one piece.

Best of all, my older brother,

Freddy, got in big trouble

for leaving me there!”

Happy Halloween!

ūüćĀ  ūüćÉ ūüĎĽ ūüćā ūüĆö

Halloween’s “A’coming!”

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My two precious granddaughters, who I labeled the “M & M’ girls were over last night.

We built a slide out of my youngest daughter’s discarded yoga mat and pillows. We

played with my oldest daughter’s Barbies, recently donated to join my collection. She

is the one who has two boys… We played ‘make-up’ and ‘dress-up’ along with reading

all of my Fall books. They still like the story about the two mice who are on two sides of

a pumpkin, tending it and growing it into the, “The Biggest Pumpkin Ever.” They also

liked the simple cardboard preschool books about pumpkins and trick or treater’s. The

last reminder of a great book for this season is, “The Nutty Nut Chase ” book.

We watched the ¬†original “101 Dalmatians” with the scene animations being so lovely,

designed to entrance and bewitch the viewers with fall leaves and engrossing, dangerous

winter scenes. My Marley exclaimed about the chubby puppy who I think is named “Rowdy,”

“That puppy needs a diet!” I noticed that the man of the household is smoking a pipe, which

would not ‘do’ in today’s children’s¬†cartoon movies. (I have to say in the ‘old days’ I would not

have even thought twice about weight problems of puppies nor smoking pipes in my¬†dad’s or

granddad’s mouths.) This came up with¬†my Santa Claus which is porcelain and old-fashioned

“‘Twas the Night before Christmas” books, all still having pipes with smoke circling the head

of Santa Claus l, by ever observant children.

When we were finally settling in to sleep it was around eleven o’clock. I was ‘pooped,’ but wished

to ask what they would be for Halloween. They are BOTH going as “Elsa’s” character from the

movie they so love, called, “Frozen.” Would they go as ‘twins?’ No, they would not since they

are the same person both being, “Elsa.” I so love that no one says, that silly word, “Duh!”

anymore.

I mentioned that I will be up at my Mom’s for the holiday. They asked, almost in unison,

“Why can’t you¬†I be here with us?”

I remind them each time this subject matter comes up, “I hope you will be with me when I get

old and come visit me when it is my birthday.”

Wouldn’t you know 6 year old Marley woke up and asked me to get out the art supplies. Even

before they ate the pancakes I had made them!

I required the two little girls to go “Clean up first.” I began singing the “Clean up” song¬†which

caused  Makyah, age  3, to groan and moan. I ignored her, getting paper, scissors, markers,

crayons, lots of stickers out (I had quite a supply when I left preschool special ed. Paid for, as

I used to always do, with my own money for extra seasonal supplies and books.) While Marley

laid on the ground, Miss Drama Queen, Marley got right down to business, used to

this responsibility in her kindergarten classroom.

They put pumpkins, scarecrows and turkeys on 5 x 7 index cards saying,

“Nana, please write, ‘Happy Birthday, Great Grammie O’.”

Marley needed help to copy some of the¬†letters, but is able to write her and Kyah’s names.

Kyah added lots of “x’s” and “o’s” to hers while Marley could write out “I love you lots!”

They stapled them into a little book for my Mom to get on November first, her #86.

We headed back to their house at noon, since Mommy was going to make them lunch.

I gave them hugs and said, “See you Tuesday for your brother, Landen’s birthday and

thanks for the lovely cards for my Mom who will adore them!

Both my daughter and daughter-in-law will send Mom and me photos via cell phones of

the six grandkids. My son doesn’t text me often except to send me a ‘thinking of you’ or a

‘I love you because…’

 

Here is an (hopefully) amusing joke! You know my source, who is very reliable in her

twice weekly letters to me, inserting news articles about Cleveland, Ohio and other senior

and health related subjects!

 

COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN:

“You know you are too old to Trick or Treat when. . .”

 

#10. You keep knocking on your own front door.

 

#9. You remove your false teeth/wig/hair piece to change your appearance.

 

#8. You ask for soft high fiber candy only.

 

#7. When someone drops a candy bar in your bag, and you lose your balance and fall over.

 

#6. People admire your great Boris Karloff mask and you aren’t wearing a mask.

(You may insert Abe Vigoda or other aged people who have character in their wrinkles…)

 

#5. When the door opens and others yell words, but you forget to say, “Trick or Treat.”

 

#4. By the end of the night, you have a bag of restraining orders.

 

#3. You have to¬†carefully choose a costume that doesn’t dislodge your hairpiece.

Or one that covers up your body challenges…

**No slutty nurse costumes for you anymore! (women)

**No more Superman costumes; more likely the Pillsbury Dough boy would work. (men)

(ha ha ha)

 

#2. You are the only Power Ranger or Sleeping Beauty princess with a walker or a cane,

in the neighborhood.

 

And, as David Lettermen would say,

“The Number One Reason Seniors SHOULD NOT Go Trick or Treating Anymore. . .

 

(Are you ready for this one?. . . It directly applies to me and my own elderly problems…!!)

 

#1. You keep having to walk home to use the bathroom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October’s Bewitching Month

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In a book called, “Brownie Year Book,”¬†written and illustrated by Palmer Cox, he

gives us twelve poems for a year.  This was found in an old anthology book, which

was published in the year of my birth, 1955. I have not featured the other months,

but may in the coming year, 2015.  It includes amusing, detailed pen and ink drawings

of these little ‘Brownies.’ ¬†They are not elf-like nor¬†imps.¬† They are not¬†younger

versions of Girl Scouts either. They look like little men. You may find these curious

characters on the Internet. Go ahead, check what the ‘Brownies’¬†look like. Otherwise,

I like the power and intricacy of words and will try to draw a picture in your mind of

them.  Their eyes are sometimes bugging out of their sockets.  In the wacky month

of June, the Brownies are banding together to go on a gentle ride in a boat along a

lazy stream. Alas, they reach a sudden increase of speed. Soon, they are falling out of

their boat going down a waterfall!¬† Chaos and amusement can be found in¬†each month’s

transitions. The ‘Brownies’ are an unexpected pleasure like some kind of dwarves in

their own little adventures. I think they could compare to the movie, “The Box Trolls,”

in their antics. There can be some ‘episodes’ of serious intent as this October shows:

 

“October

When woods are tinged

with all the glow

October on the woods

can throw,

And game is plenty

on the tree

And every kind

of weapon free:

The Brownies

imitate the way

Mankind does creep

upon the prey.”

(Palmer Cox)

 

 

 

OCTOBER CALENDAR

 

Birthstone: Opal

Flower: Calendula

 

You should be filling out your absentee ballots applications, if you won’t be able to

make it to the polls. One month until elections are here in the U.S. in November.

It will land on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. My Mom and my youngest daughter

sometimes vote using absentee ballots. I sent out a text to one, a hand-written

letter to the other.  Not sure if this will be true this year or if they will make it to

the Polls!

 

Late October, exciting times are coming: The 110th World Series of Major League

Baseball Championship games keep on going with round #7 playing on October 29th.

 

October 1st-

Remembering 10/1/64 when over 3000 University of California Berkeley, gathered

in protesting Civil Rights activist, Jack Weinberg being arrested, surrounding the

police car. Mario Salvo and other activists had formed the organization of FSM,

(Freedom of Speech Movement.) It was not necessarily just for African Americans,

as there were many Spanish speaking members, along with whites, including Jewish

people. This incident lasted over 32 hours and ended peacefully.

 

1- Quarter Moon.

 

3-4- Yom Kippur.

From sundown on October 3rd until sunset on October 4th.

 

7- Children’s Health Day

Support mothers and fathers who protect their children by keeping their vaccinations

and shot records current. I support our local health clinic in Delaware, Ohio by donating

to their funding.

 

8-¬†Hunters’¬†Full Moon

In October, Native Americans also call this Dying Moon and Travel Moon.

 

9- Leif Erickson Day.

Leif Erickson was believed to be the first (recorded) Nordic explorer of North America.

His Viking ship and members of his crew are shown appreciation on this day. If you

wish to see a humorous interpretation that explains this to children, see Leif Erickson

on Google, then add “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

 

13- Columbus Day.

Celebrating the ‘discovery’ of America, by Christopher Columbus.

Fly flags for honoring Veterans as this is a government holiday in the U.S.

 

15- Last Quarter Moon.

 

17- Alaska Day (observed).

The U.S. officially got the territory of Alaska from Russia transferred on the

date: October 18, 1867.

 

18- Two very different kinds of television programming going on:

1.¬† Stephen King’s¬†movie, “Big Driver,” will be shown on Lifetime on this evening.

2.¬† “My Boyfriend’s Dogs,” will be shown on Hallmark Channel tonight. The

actress, Ericka Christensen is known for her role on the show, “Parenthood.”

 

 

 

23- New Moon (rising)

 

24- United Nations Day.

If you have never looked at all the lovely designs for different stationery, you

may wish to check out the UNICEF website. My parents ordered their Christmas

cards every year around this time. My father’s obituary had two donation places

designated in ‘lieu of flowers,’ as UNICEF and the Hospice organization in Cleveland,

Ohio. Mark Chagall’s lovely designs and the iconic Peace dove with the twig of an

olive branch were some of my favorite cards ever.

 

30- Hallmark Channel presents the American Humane Society Dog Show and

will include: 8 Hero Dogs competing for a national title. Watch these unsung

canine heroes on Hallmark Channel at 8:00 p.m. (EST).

 

31- Happy Halloween Day!

The evening before All Saints Day was once designated as “hallowed evening.”

All kinds of spirits will be roaming neighborhoods, mainly children dressed

up in costumes. Beware! If you don’t offer treats, you may have some ‘devilish’

tricks or pranks played on you or your house. . .

 

Also, a very special celebration will be going on in Nevada!

Happy 150th Anniversary to Nevada’s Statehood! There will be no schools

and all government offices closed on this Friday. Then on Saturday,

November 1st, there will be major hoopla going on, starting with a huge

parade! Congratulations for all those living in Nevada and Enjoy!

 

 

In Autumn, I enjoy going for a drive in the country, stopping and having a

hike in the woods. This is one simple pleasure that almost anyone, except

an invalid or someone bedridden can partake in. I hope you are healthy,

will enjoy the way your senses can all come into play, while enjoying the

great outdoors.

 

“The Open Road

Afoot and light-hearted,  I take to the open road.

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me, leading

wherever I choose.

 

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself

am good-fortuned.

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone

no more, need nothing.

Done with indoor complaints, libraries,

querulous criticisms,

Strong and content, I travel the open road.”

(Walt Whitman)

 

 

 

Fantasies

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Not sure the Grimm brothers would wish to be considered descendants from an

“elite line of criminal profilers” known as simply,¬†“Grimms.” The character, Nick

Burkhardt, is very popular in the television show with that name. It is a combination

of mystery, suspense, horror and fantasy. I have watched this from its premiere, with

bated breath waiting for the next episode to begin.¬†Nick’s character partner is named,

Hank Griffins, who is part of knowing Nick’s ancient history. The story revolves with

ancestry references and a fictionalized heritage besides. Hank is a good and trust-worthy

partner. This history allows him to ‘see’ and ‘fight’ by engaging in battle with all sorts of

strange creatures. The fantasy television series first appeared three days before the

holiday, Halloween, in 2011.

The other side characters in “Grimm” include a woman, Fuchsbau Rosalee, who is

able to use pharmaceuticals, including herbs and natural ingredients needed to be

‘antidotes’ and ‘potions.’ She is the “Fox,” among the characters. The Wolf,” is also

once the ‘big, bad wolf,’ but has learned to control his transformations, unless he

is angered, his character’s name is Monroe.

A very popular episode with my fellow coworkers at my warehouse is one that engages

the character of the Filipino fairy tales,¬†the¬†terrifying, ‘aswang.’ Felda, Mary Jane and

their families gathered to watch this “Grimm’s” episode that aired on March 7, 2014.

It came up again in conversation, with the new Fall Season starting soon. Next Friday,

another “Grimm” show will be presented. The March¬†scary Filipino fairy tale involved

a popular character played by a Clevelander, a Padua Franciscan High School graduate.

In the television series, his name is Sergeant Wu. As Sgt. Wu, his character was an integral

part of the way the case¬†against the “aswang” was¬†solved. In real life, Cleveland born Reggie

Lee, could have headed off to Harvard. His parents, who were from the Philippines, would

have been so ‘proud of him.’ He chose instead to dabble in the dramatic art of acting,

at the Cleveland, Ohio Greenbrier Theater and Cleveland Play House.

 

Make sure you check out “Grimm” for fulfilling¬†your need for fantasy crime scenes!

 

There is a rather new “fractured fairy tale” written by a woman named Helen Oyeyemi,

who has written a re-telling of the traditional, “Snow White.” Her book titled,¬† “Boy,

Snow, Bird” is her¬†newest book. This is a tale with the main character being a bi-racial

eight year old girl and her ‘badly behaving’ secret friend.¬† Ms. Oyeyemi’s history of

wondrous books includes her first book published called, “The Icarus Girl.”¬† This tale

wove African and Western cultures together in an international mythology.  Her second

one was called, The Opposite House.” Her third book, “White is for Witching,” sounded

intriguing, too.¬† While on the cover of her “Boy, Snow, Bird” book there includes “Mr. Fox”

as her most recently published before this one. If you wish to hear why the secret friend

of the 8 year is old is ‘wicked,’ you may check this out.¬† The playfulness of the book, is

shown in the mother being called mistakenly, “Boy.” While her daughter is called, “Bird.”

The rat-catcher, involved in the plot, adding comic relief. It is published by the Riverhead

Publishing Co. Its bright lime-green colored cover, captures your eyes like ‘eye-candy.’

It has a rose-covered vine winding around the title. . . like a sinister snake.

 

This is not a fantasy, but it is certainly inspiring to watch. Check out YouTube for a

community of Amish people constructing a barn. I always think of that fantastic

mystery, police story and cultural movie, “Witness,” when it comes to the artistic

‘barn-raising’ scene filmed in this Harrison Ford movie. The way it is constructed in

such a beautiful, poetic and fluid way is just goosebump raising for me. So far, there

have been over 2 million ‘hits’ of watching this Raising of an Amish Barn.

 

Here is a quotation that wraps up this post that is about the television series,

“Grimm,” some creatively constructed fairy tales by Helen Oyeyemi and

the Amish community spirited barn-raising:

 

Charles Dickens’ quotation:

“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this:

that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a

thing created is loved before it exists.”

A Quest for Forgiveness

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I watched the movie, “Philomena,” at home with all the lights turned out. I

usually like to watch movies with someone. I had reserved this at the library,

for my good friend, Jenny, and I to watch. Her aunt died, unfortunately, and

they were going to be away. Although I mention her death, it is something

that Jenny and her family have chosen to view as ‘for the best,’ due to her

declining health and age. Just so you know.

 

I was by myself absorbing a piece of history, a time where there were some

“edges” to the kindness, found¬†in religion. Judgment went hand in hand with

the predicament that Philomena got into. There was a sad part of this movie,

which will not ‘ruin’ it for you, that must be talked about.

 

Since no one was there, to discuss and ponder with, after the movie ended.

You will be my person I go to, who may contemplate what bothered me about

the movie. I wonder why some people who take on positions, like a particular

nun¬†in Philomena’s life, have to be so cruel?

 

The man, Martin Sixsmith, who was a journalist and someone who liked to

write about ‘straight news,’ was assigned a ‘fluff piece,’ or so he thought. He

ended up becoming involved with a woman’s life, which ultimately changed

his life.

Martin Sixsmith¬†wrote a book that was published in 2009 called, “The Lost

Child of Philomena Lee.” I will recommend this, before even reading it.

When life slows down in my ‘day job’ at the warehouse, (busy summers, less

so, in the winters) I will be getting this book out of the library to read.

My grandchildren will soon be back to school, so less busy times ahead in the

evenings for me. I will enjoy reading this fine story, despite my knowing its

ending. The details that are given within books, images and evocative incidents

resonate so much more when the words weave their tale.

The story of how Philomena gets pregnant is brief. It is a fleeting, emotional

choice; yet it shows her affection and interest in the young man. There are many

times in her life, she may have regretted this moment. Overall, it did not dampen

her outward spirits. Philomena is such a positive source of light and laughter.

She reminded me of the zany character of my Great Aunt Marie. Philomena has

‘gumption!’

She tells most of her stories to Martin with levity, without too many complaints.

She does hide her shame and her inward remorse, for what she did. She admits

to saying the rosary and going to confession many, many times, over the years.

It is when her son would have turned 50, that she mentions it finally to her own

daughter, she raised in wedlock. Her daughter is catering an event for Martin’s

fiftieth birthday, that is how the story begin. . .

 

She was a teenager, taken to stay at a home for¬†expectant mothers. The nun’s

emphasis of their being “unwed mothers” is stressed in a negative fashion.

 

Parents trying to connect with their child they put up for adoption, adults who

were put up for adoption and anyone who enjoys a good, heart-wrenching story,

will all enjoy this movie. I am sure you will find meaning in the book, too. After

all, it inspired a wonderful and well-received movie.

 

Thousands of Irish-Catholic adopted children, raised to adulthood, are still

trying to find their ‘roots.’ They are wanting to find their heritage and their

families. The reasons for the secretive records are disclosed in the book and

the movie.

The ‘nunnery’ she was sent to live until her child was born, was named, Sacred

Heart. It held a serious (sanctimonious)¬†attitude towards ‘sin.’

The expectant mothers were supposed to work, for their ‘room and board.’ They

had to do this 5-6 days a week. Philomena’s job was¬†laundry, by hand, with¬†lye

soap. Scrubbing their skin off their young hands, under rough and hot conditions.

 

One self-righteous nun, Philomena remembers, was cruel in her expectations

of these young women who were away from their families and homes. Sadly, the

head nun’s attitude¬†was expressed, “Atonement is required for your sins.”

Not that these girls, didn’t go to Confession as often as possible!

 

The babies were only allowed to be seen once a day by their mothers, if their work

was done.

 

At one point, I was bawling, tears streaming and sobs ensuing. There was a place

on one of the simple cots they slept on, if Philomena stood on it, it brought back

the memory of her son being taken away in a car. His face is pressed to the window.

 

You know this, from the very beginning:

Philomena didn’t want to give up her baby boy.

 

The story from beginning to end, includes a lot of fun and silly parts. Martin’s

teasing Philomena and Philomena’s assessments of life, people and situations

all are so special, warm and happy. You will carry the part that Judi Dench

portrayed, this amazing woman, who did become a nurse and did try to lead a

righteous life, in your head for days. It has taken me since Friday, to put into

words, the way I came to love Philomena.

 

Judi Dench did not win an Academy Award, nor was Steven Coogan nominated,

but this movie is stellar.

 

Judi Dench did an outstanding job in her 2013 portrayal of this indomitable lady.

“Philomena” will steal a piece of¬†your heart.

Contrasting Vastly Different Movies

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My Mom was on the phone to ask me if I had posted about any of

the nine movies I took out from our libary and transported to her

apartment in Westlake, Ohio last week. I told her, apologetically,

“No, Mom, but I did write about many of our activities like your

85th birthday, the Clam Bake, Randy’s¬†entry in the Chagrin Falls

art show and Halloween. My visit with you provided many stories

and I consider it a side “bonus” to visiting you, Mom!”

Mom replied, “Well, I was telling¬†my tablemates last night about

the cute animated film, “Puss in Boots.” I recommended¬†it to your

favorite server, Zach, too, since he can learn a few Spanish words,

along the way. I pictured the tall, dark and yes, handsome 16 year

old who plays the French Horn in marching band and takes Spanish,

contemplating¬†borrowing “Puss in Boots” from his local library and

chuckled!

Mom went on to remind me, that she found the third movie of the

Hannibal Lector “trilogy” a “fascinating character study in¬†evil versus

good.” Mom likes to remind me of her being a World¬†Lit¬†high school

teacher with her great summaries and compared this to a morality

play, Shakespeare wrote,¬†“Othello.” The movie we sat watching in a

spell bound trance was due to both Edward Norton (“good” character)

and the famous Hannibal Lector character portrayed by Anthony

Hopkins, of course the “evil” one!

I would like to start with the fun loving character of Puss in Boots,

portrayed or voiced by Antonio Banderas. It was a lovely animated

movie with a lot of dramatic and well illustrated parts to it. I especially

loved the vine that grew out of the magical beans, carrying you up into

the stratosphere to the giant’s castle where the Golden Goose and its

adorable baby Goose could be found.

My mother liked all the Spanish words and the sexy, cocky Puss who

is both Zorro and the Lone Ranger wrapped up in one wild character!

The plot is not too adult for children, the frequently innuendoes, along

with his being quite a lothario, will fly over the heads of children. I am

pleased at the twists in the plot and the dramatic way there is fire,

heart stopping (for a “cartoon”) action scenes, too. I would like to say

you will enjoy this, but am hoping you will sit with children, give them

a half way break to have a snack, since it is rather long for their young

attention spans! My Mom and I needed a bathroom break and more

snacks, since we already had some to begin our movie watching session

that rainy afternoon!

The words that I wrote down “Festival de la fuego de el pollo,” would

be ones you would want to translate, but “amigo” and “gato” are ones

that Diego and Dora in the preschool television cartoons say and teach

our younger children before they are three years old!

As mentioned Antonio plays Puss, Salma Hayek plays “Kitty Southpaw,”

and Zach Galifianakis plays the big lug, Humpty Dumpty. The evil ones,

Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris) are part of an all star

cast. The other evil character, the¬†“comandante” is played by Guillermo

del Toro.

For those who love “history” this story is a variation of a 1697 French

fairy tale, “Puss in Boots.”

This movie was nominated for the 2011 Academy Awards but did not win.

Being nominated, as we fellow bloggers always blush and enjoy the gift

of award nominations, is an honor bestowed on few animated movies. I

think you will thoroughly enjoy this film! It is rated PG.

“Viva el Gato!”

The movie, “Red Dragon,” is a well written, tightly spun story of an evil

character played by Ralph Fiennes. His different actions, including preying

on a blind woman can make you cringe, jump and shiver in fear. There are

some literary references, such as to William Blake, his quote that starts out,

with the words, “Robin redbreast, in a cage…” express outrage and sheer

rage and horror.

There is an art reference within the context of the plot and film, to The

Great Red Dragon and a woman clothed in the sun.

This literary film includes a symbol on a tree where the current killer, Ralph

Fiennes, is spying on a family. He is studying the family to carry out quite

an “R-rated” rampage. This is not for the squeamish of heart!

The symbol looks like a knife, a sword or Mom guessed an Episcopalian

cross.

It is mentioned when the detective, Norton’s character, visits Hannibal

Lector, (Hopkins’ character). Eerily, omniscient seeming, Lector tells

him it stands for “red dragon.”

The main horrific but well known fact about Hannibal Lector is he is a

cannibal. In one of the first scenes, it is taken you back before he has

become caught and in prison. He is serving a delectable meal to elegantly

clad guests. I am sorry to say, he eludes upon asking ‘what kind of meat

was served?’ to his cannibalism. We, as viewers, are assuming by his

offhand but not directly answered words, that implied reference to they

had just completed a meal served of human flesh. Sorry, eery and creepy,

I know. But, not too many readers, on this planet, would not know that

he is given a place of ‘honor’ in his ability to help Helen Hunt in one film

and then, in this film, Edward Norton’s character.

I did not read any reviews on either of these movies. I rewound the tape

for the Puss in Boots to find out the characters of Jack and Jill, along with

the comandante’s “real” actors’ names. I did not look up any of the literary

or symbolic references in the Red Dragon movie, either. I think presenting

a “fair” and not prejudicial review was my aim. I also wanted to tell you

that my Mom and I like intrigue and detective work. Both films are dramatic

and held our attention in very different ways.

Both the animated film and the horror film show how good triumphs over

evil. You may wish to check out one or both of these films on a snowed in

night or for the latter one, in the daytime.

In any case you may wish to leave the lights on for “Red Dragon”!