Born in early 1931, my father grew up in the era of movie-going. Every Saturday afternoon, he and his mother went to a neighborhood theater in Snowstorm City. My mother, who grew up outside of Big City Like No Other, would walk to the theater with her older sister and their friends. The theater would show two movies, usually, and a newsreel.
That’s what people did in those days, to take their minds of economic hardships, the harsh realities of life. In dark theaters, they watched their favorite movie stars sing and dance in glamorous costumes.
This winter, my parents decided to expose their grandchildren to some of the old movies by instituting movie night at their house. I was out of town for the first movie night, but I went over with my kids on the night they showed Top Hat with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. The plot was even more ridiculous that I had remembered, but there was lots of singing and dancing, beautiful costumes and funny dialogue. I sat on the couch between my daughter and Shaggy Hair Boy, snuggling under a quilt, and eating popcorn as we watched Ginger Rogers twirl around in dress that swirled with her. Then we gathered in the kitchen for cider and dessert.
On the way out to the car, I started tapdancing on the frozen ground, twirling around as if I were wearing a filmy, floaty dress instead of a winter coat and hiking boots. Those old movies have that effect on me.