Let’s Do the Time Warp Again…

I have watched a couple of films from the early 80s — box office films from back when I was too cool and arty-farty for that. And too broke. They do reflect the times (1980/81) and both of them I’ve watched so far were good enough. They weren’t superficial and the characters were 3 dimensional. One was Starting Over the other was Rich and Famous. Neither was a great work of art, but the women in the films were, though not quite my age peers at the time (they were older), going through a lot of the same things I was going through (divorce, career, confusion) at the same time. No one was fabulously rich — at least not in the beginning. Their teeth were not white beyond human brushing abilities, and even when they changed costume, they sometimes put on the same outfit (oh no!!!) I don’t remember the clothes being so ugly, but I guess they were, but there were some cool shirts.

Female identity was a theme in both films, and it was very murky. All the women in the films were trying to sort THAT out. At the time these movies came out I was doing pretty much what the women in the films were doing — graduate school, trying to sort out a life post-divorce, and, past that, a life on my own. What DID I want to be when I grew up? Their apartments looked similar to my apartments. Their boyfriends looked like mine. Their dilemmas were similar to mine.

It was interesting time travel. The films made me think of a quality I wish I had more of as a person and that is emotional courage. I don’t have much of that. I’ve made some mad leaps but (usually) without the emotional courage to follow through. Leaps should not lead to a pocket of black doubt and easy discouragement, but that’s what has always happened. I guess I was primed for that realization because yesterday I also lifted the veil covering the shelves, protecting the books from dust (it’s a burlap bag that once held organic Guatemalan coffee) and looked at a few of the volumes of The Examined Life. They are full of emotional doubt — well, there’s other stuff too — but a lot of emotional doubt. The final volume — 2005 — ends with a note I wrote a couple of years ago summarizing the whole mess when I went through them and put dates on each book. Love requires the most emotional courage and remains a complex and inscrutable question throughout the 23 volumes.

Watching the old movies — and looking at the last few years of The Examined Life (2000-2005) — I was struck also by how many lives we all live — how many I’ve lived and the streams of people who’ve wandered through my lives. There are letters from students, and photos of them pursuing their dreams and thanking me for the encouragement. There are emails from a friend who meant a lot to me for a long time, who died suddenly of a coronary. All of these lives and lives and lives.

Yesterday ahead of the Fabulous Tea Party which will take place today I went to Del Norte to pick up a centerpiece. The florist/gift shop/coffee house is run by some Mennonite women. I like them a lot. The young woman who helped me asked what it was for. “Oh, my friends and I are having a little tea party tomorrow.”

“That sounds nice,” she said. “Is it a special occasion?”

“Well, my neighbor is Swedish, my grandma was Swedish and the party is for St. Lucia’s day which is actually next Monday but that won’t work for us to get together.”

“What do people do on St. Lucia’s day?”

I told her about the oldest daughter, the crown of candles, of 12 days leading up to Christmas. “It’s sweet and beautiful,” I said.

“Have you been to Sweden?” she asked me.

“No, but I’d like to go. In winter. I like snow,” I said. We’re all wanting snow down here right now.

“Oh! I would too! I’d love to go to Sweden.

I heard something in her voice that struck a chord in me. Wanderlust. A unmarried Mennonite girl with wanderlust. I wanted to buy her a plane ticket and then make THAT film. ❤

8 thoughts on “Let’s Do the Time Warp Again…

  1. I would help out on your movie set doing whatever I can and try not to feel useless. Loved this read immensely. Thanks for joining in Martha 🙂 🙂

  2. Well Martha, I’m not so sure about your definition of emotional courage. It seems to me that being on my own and choosing my own path without regret would take the kind of emotional fortitude and personal courage that many don’t possess… just saying that I think you very courageous! And being able to recognize wanderlust in another must indicate you still have that travel bug!

    • I guess maybe we look around at others and see what they were able to do (you and Sparky) that we could never do and they seem braver than we are (to us).

  3. I remember the Mennonites in Michigan as being very good people from all perspectives. They baked fabulous bread with they sold at local stores and I asked my father to always buy it if it was available. He did all the shopping and sometimes I’d tag along to hang out by the comic book rack.

    The stores didn’t mind if you sat there and read to comic books. The whole point was to get you out of (usually) Mom’s hair while she did the shopping. Much more likely she’d shop at a grocery store with a comic book rack. If once in a while you plopped down 15¢ for one you couldn’t live without, that was a bonus.

    • Here too. They have a bakery/cafe in my town and a bakery/coffeehouse in Del Norte and this little store. They commission the Amish to make fried pies. It’s pretty cool. My grandmother was a Mennonite

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