Sunday, August 26, 2007
So Dear To My Heart
When I was growing up, my three sisters and our parents drove to my maternal grandparents' home every Sunday. These visits with our many cousins, aunts and uncles (my mother was one of nine) were not just visits - they were events! Following a huge potluck meal (we'd pack the trunk of our old Hudson with fried chicken, potato salad, Jell-O and usually a devil's food cake or Mother's famous Frosted Creams) the adults gathered around a table in grandma's big kitchen where they played pinochle, told stories and laughed for hours. Oh my did they laugh. Of course we kids would draw our chairs near to listen. We all had our favorite stories we'd request over and over. "Daddy, tell the one about............Please?" We didn't realize it at the time, but these stories were an oral history of our family.
We lived out in the country on 200 acres where my father and mother not only grew corn, alfalfa and soybeans, but also raised horses and Shetland ponies. So going to the huge metropolis (probably 600 people back then) of Marengo IL on a Sunday afternoon was a thrill. Even more exciting tho was the fact that directly in back of grandma's house was a MOVIE THEATRE!!! And it cost a dime to get in!
In the winter when we couldn't play outside for long in the brutal cold, we cousins, dimes in hand, would troop through the snow to see the latest show. "Take your coat off when you get there so you won't be cold when you come back outside," Daddy would always warn. Somehow there was always enough money for popcorn and candy - Milk Duds and Jujubes being favorites.
The gentle, wise and heartwarming film So Dear To My Heart (Walt Disney 1949) was an absolute favorite of mine. The movie begins as the pages of a scrapbook open (I saved my allowance and as soon as I could, bought a scrapbook of my own at the dime store) and proceeds to tell the story of small-town America and a county fair in 1903. The movie stars Beulah Bondi as Granny, Harry Carey as the county fair judge, and Bobby Driscol and Luanna Patten as the two children.
I loved this film when I first saw it back in the fifties and I love it now. If you've never seen it, do add it to your list. It's a classic!