Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What is a True Friend?

Those of you out there who fancy yourselves sticklers about the English language (and I am actually one myself) will probably take issue with the title of this post.  I am not sure if it's good English or not.  I mean, can a "friend" be a "what?" 

But I titled this post that way because I don't want to just talk about friendship, I want to talk about how to be a true friend, what qualities that constitutes.  And I also want to pay tribute to someone who passed away recently who embodied all of those qualities.

When I was a young girl, I remember my mother telling me that we are lucky if, when we die, we have true friends that we can count on one hand.  I thought that was very odd because at the time I had many friends that were besties.

Now that I am a woman of a certain age, I know what my mother meant.  If we are lucky, we all have many friends throughout our lives.  But as we get older, our lives take us away from our friends or our friends leave us, so that when we find ourselves nearing the end of our lives, few are left and we are fortunate indeed if we can count five true friends still in our sphere.

We have different kinds of friends and for various reasons.  We might have friends because we share common interests or we have work friends or people who are friends because their kids are on our kids' soccer team or we might consider our neighbors our friends.  But when it comes to our true friends, what we love about them and expect from them is more than just common interests, our work, the soccer team or their living close by. A true friend is so much more than that.

My friend Jim, who passed away last week, was one such person, a true friend for 47 years.



I first met him during my senior year of college.  He was an antiques dealer who had a studio next to his home where he lived with his mother. He was from, as they say, old money.  He was the epitome of a gentleman and dressed like one. He often wore a jaunty hat, carried a cane (often one with a secret compartment) and sometimes sported spats!


He hired college students from my college to be night watchmen at his studio, because it was filled with beautiful and valuable furniture and art objects.  The studio was not open to the public nor did he have a staff. The studio was open by appointment only as he sold mostly to other dealers. Jim would hang out in the studio.  It was his place of business, after all, but I think he also hung out there to have a social life away from his aging mother, whom he felt responsible for and was taking care of. He enjoyed socializing and, because Jim had great charisma, those college watchmen and their friends would hang out there with Jim at night. It was 1970 and I was one of those kids who came to know Jim that way.

When I first met Jim, I thought he was really old.  I realize now he was only about 15 years older than I was, but through my 21 year-old-eyes, everyone over 30 looked old to me.  The studio was a wonderland of colonial era highboys and art and beautiful objects.  We played billiards on an antique billiards table, backgammon on a 17th century mother-of-pearl inlaid backgammon table and had fun trying on his collection of hats. 



As night fell, the studio was a source of mystery to passersby who would press their noses against the glass to see who and what was inside.  He called those people "the children of the night."  I think that's what he called us too.

Over the years that followed college, my husband and I lived in the studio briefly as caretakers, but when I moved back to California to find my first library job, I lost touch with Jim for a few years, but when I discovered he had moved to California, we started up where we left off and have been in touch regularly for the last 41 years.

I spent many evenings with him and others playing cards and games (his version of Mahjong was a particular favorite) and laughing.  Lots of laughter. Jim had a wonderful sense of humor and a warmth that made people gravitate to him.  He was also extremely thoughtful. He never missed phoning me on my birthday, and when my son was born, he bought him his first stroller. I took my parents to meet him; He walked me down the aisle when I married Hubby in his back garden,



and when I was going through a bad divorce he gave me comfort.  He was thoughtful and caring and that is why he had so many friends. Everywhere he went, people just wanted to be around him.  He had friends in the highest social stratosphere and friends with no money, but they were all interesting and loved Jim. 

One of my favorite stories about him is when he was helping me move.  He suffered from narcolepsy, so it was not unusual for him to nod off briefly during conversations, but he took medication that allowed him to drive.  So he was driving a U-Haul truck for me, helping me move away from a place and a marriage.  I was chatting away as we were driving the 30+ miles to my new home when I suddenly realized he wasn't responding to me.  I nudged him and said "Jim!" really loudly. He had nodded off! He said he didn't remember anything for the last five miles!

I attended a few antiques shows with Jim and was always amazed at his eye and his taste.  He would find the most interesting items and always knew exactly what they were.  He would hold up an item and ask me if I knew what it was.  I didn't and he would say, "It's a utensil especially for separating the sections of a grapefruit!"  Or something like that.  He was highly respected in the antiques world as a man who knew the provenance of practically everything and as someone who was extremely fair and honest.

When I moved from California to Seattle, we still stayed in touch regularly and when we would visit, he would always share some wonderful object with me.

This is my favorite.  Do you know what it is? 
(see the end of this post for the answer).



So many happy memories.  I could go on and on, but the point of this post is not just to pay tribute to my friend, though I hope it does. 

What I want to do here is plant a seed, to get you thinking about the people who are and have been your true friends. 


What is a true friend?

  • A true friend is always there for you, always takes your calls
  • A true friend lights up when she sees you
  • A true friend is your own personal cheerleader
  • A true friend is happy for your success and happiness even if he or she is not happy or successful
  • A true friend listens to you and cares about your feelings
  • A true friend makes time for you so you can create some memories together
  • A true friend goes out of his way for you
  • A true friend is thoughtful and generous
  • A true friend rarely lets you down
  • A true friend loves you warts and all


Jim was a true friend and a true gentleman.


 

I will miss him for the rest of my life.

Now that I have planted the seed, I want this post to be a cautionary tale for you, so that you will tell YOUR true friends how much they mean to you because they will not be around forever. Do it now before it's too late so you will not have any regrets. Even though I have lived 1000 miles away from Jim for the past 12 years, I visited him several times a year, and in his last year of life when he was suffering, I am so glad I was able to be there with him, to share our memories, tell him I loved him and how much his friendship meant to me. Those moments and all of the memories of our friendship comfort me now, and I have no regrets other than that he is no longer on this earth and I wish I had had more time with him.

So my mother was right.  Now that I am nearing 70 and every year on earth with my friends is a blessing, I consider myself lucky for the small group of true friends I have and have had.  It takes effort to have true friends.  You have to make time in your busy schedule to be together so you can create memories, but it's worth it, because when that true friend is gone, you will have those memories to keep you company.

So do it now.  It's the day after Memorial Day.  Why not also remember your friends who are still with you and make sure they know you cherish them?!

Oh, and that treasured object?  It's an elegant and old, but defunct $100,000 chip from the casino in Monte Carlo.  But it is priceless to me, just like my true friend, Jim!

 

Thanks for Reading!

 
See you Friday


for my review of


"The Nice Guys"

 

and


 The Week in Reviews

(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)


 

 and the latest on

 

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before


 I Die Project."






 
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Friday, May 27, 2016

"Money Monster" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "Money Monster" and the DVDs "An Honest Liar" and "Mustang."  The Book of the Week is "Heart of Glass: A Memoir."  I also bring you up-to-date on "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Trouble in Paradise."]




Money Monster


A hostage situation plays out in real time on live TV.

George Clooney plays Lee Gates, arrogant over-the-top host of the financial advice TV show "Money Monster," a circus of a show where he gives out stock tips and financial advice while dancing and wearing outrageous costumes. 

As the film begins, we learn that IBIS, a company that Lee strongly urged his viewers to invest in ("It's as safe as your savings account") has suffered a "computer glitch" which resulted in the loss of 800 million dollars.  Lee is about to go on air to talk via satellite to the CCO, Diane Lester (Catriona Balfe), in lieu of the CEO, Walt Camby (Dominic West), who is nowhere to be found.  Just as the show goes on air live, a man posing as a delivery guy, storms onto the set with a gun.  He makes Lee put on a bomb vest and says he will blow him up if the cameras don't keep rolling and he is not allowed to talk on TV live.  Director Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) back in the control booth complies and the movie plays out in real time as Gates and Fenn try to figure out what to do.

We learn that the gunman is Kyle Budwell (Jack O'Connell), a young man who has just lost his mother.  He has also just lost the $60,000 he inherited from her when he invested in IBIS as per Lee's assurances it was a safe investment.  Though Lee offers to get his money back for him, Kyle says it's not about the money now.  It's about the American people knowing what crooks the moneymen are and he wants Camby to pay too.  In the meantime, as police swarm all over the studio, Patty is trying to not only find Camby, but also what was really behind that "computer glitch" that lost investors $800,000,000.

Director/actress Jodie Foster (her fourth directorial feature film) manages to keep the tension building and writers Jamie Linden, Jim Kouf and Alan DeFiore manage to mostly avoid the clichés we have seen so many times in these kinds of films.  Just when you think you know where it's going, the film veers.  Though the ending may be unsatisfying to some, it is certainly a realistic one.

Similar to "The Big Short" in its depiction of the financial world with jargon we aren't supposed to understand (and that's how the fat cats get rich), this one doesn't have the humor and sharpness of "Short."  It also has some far-fetched situations and is slow to get started but once it does, it is fast-paced and tense.  It's also an interesting inside view of what goes on behind the scenes at a TV show.

Jack O'Connell as Budwell is a relative newcomer.  He is a British actor who starred as Louis Zamperini in "Unbroken."  Here as the disturbed and depressed Kyle, he puts in another worthy performance. Catriona Balfe as Lester is a striking film presence who fans of "Outlander" may recognize.  I hope to see more of her.

Clooney is also very good here as he makes the transition from an arrogant and clownish host of a financial TV show on a Fox News type channel to a man who understands and cares about his captor.

Julia Roberts is always good, but what is going on with her?  Though this part is larger than her recent one in "Mother's Day," she is definitely supporting Clooney and O'Connell here.  Since director Garry Marshall directed her in "Pretty Woman (which sent her career into the stratosphere)" and she is friends with Clooney, has she decided to help out her friends rather than seeking starring properties for herself?  I would love to see her in a mature romantic comedy.  But at least she isn't wearing a horrendous wig like the one in "Mother's Day," though I question her wardrobe choice here too.  What's with the high water trousers?  Julia, you were a plain Jane in "The Secret in Their Eyes," you looked awful in that wig in "Mother's Day" and here you also dumbed down your looks and you hardly had any moments with Clooney. You talked mostly to the camera crew. We want to see you in something romantic and glamorous!

"Money Monster" is the name of the TV show, but it's also a metaphor for what money, the greed for it and the loss of it, can do to a person.  The film is also a commentary on how not only does the media feed us sensationalism, even when it involves human suffering, but how we viewers gobble it up.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a well-crafted bit of adult entertainment, but you can probably wait for the DVD.



 
***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!

Out on DVD






An Honest Liar (2014)


The life and career of James Randi, who was a magician known as The Amazing Randi but who devoted himself to exposing  so-called psychics, paranormal hoaxes and the very magic tricks he used to perform.

Starting out as a magician - The Amazing Randi - James Randi spent most of his life exposing psychics and so-called mind readers, who he believed were misinforming and cheating the public. He famously said that magicians are the most honest people - they say they are going  to fool you and they do. Randi took issue with anyone who used "magic" for anything other than entertainment. 

Randi debunked bare-handed surgeries which were a big phenomenon in the 70's, aliens, and channelers such as Ramtha.  He was also a fixture on talk shows, showing how magic tricks were done. He even went so far as to create a hoax of his own by grooming his boyfriend, Jose Alvarez, into the medium Carlos, to prove how easy it is to fool the public.  Randi made up the persona and his entire background, and the media gobbled it up and never bothered to check his background. He was able to show how gullible people are just because they so much want to believe in the afterlife. Randi wanted to show that mentalists and psychics were just magicians who wouldn't admit it.

Born in 1928 in Toronto, Canada, Randi was inspired by The Great Blackstone and set out to become a magician.  He joined a carnival and never went home again.  One of his specialties was as an escape artist like Houdini but when he had a close call trying to replicate Houdini's milk can escape, he gave up his act to devote himself to debunking faith healers, psychics and others.  He later helped Alice Cooper with his guillotine illusions.

Uri Geller was a favorite target of Randi's.  Remember him?  He made a career out of mentally bending spoons.  Geller was the darling of researchers and a Stanford study seemed to prove his powers were real. Geller was able to fool the scientists.  It was as if the scientists were transfixed by what Geller did and the force of his personality and thus failed to use scientific methods.  But Randi figured out how he was doing it and helped set Geller up for failure on the Johnny Carson show. Randi was almost obsessed with Geller, because Geller would not admit he was a sham.  Randi wrote a book about him called "The Truth about Uri Geller." Despite Randi's obsession to discredit Geller, Geller strangely provided an interview for this film.

Another favorite target was mentalist and faith healer Peter Popoff who wowed audiences with his abilities to know everything about them and then "cure" them of their ailments. Little did they know that Popoff's wife was feeding him the information he needed through an earpiece.  Of course no one knew that, but when Randi brought a private investigator with him to one of Popoff's performances and the investigator discovered the frequency Popoff was using, he was exposed. Needless to say, Popoff did not provide an interview for this film.

Naturally Randi got backlash.  He was a popular talk show guest in the 70's and 80's, especially on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.  He had a certain arrogance about him that could be off putting and he was a controversial figure, probably because people believe what they want to believe and no amount of facts in their faces will usually change that.

However, it's interesting to note that Randi offered a million dollars to anyone who could prove that psychic and paranormal powers existed and could withstand scrutiny using scientific methods.  Randi is now 86 and no one has ever collected that money.

Penn and Teller, who also like to show the "magic" behind the "magic," and other magicians, as well as scientist Bill Nye weigh in on Randi's life work and his influences.

An honest liar is one who uses deception to conceal the truth or to reveal the truth. Directed by Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein, the film ends with an irony regarding some deceptions in Randi's personal life showing that he could also fall under the spell of believing what he wanted to believe.

"I am a magician.  I know how to deceive people and I know when people are being deceived."

Randi devoted his life to trying to save us all from being hoodwinked but even today, frauds and manipulators flourish, proving that no matter how smart or educated we are, we can be deceived.  Speaking of which, those calls you are getting from the IRS?  Hang up the phone.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a fascinating look at a fascinating man who devoted his life to saving people from deception when he himself was being deceived.  If you like documentaries, this is a good one.







Mustang (2015)

Five sisters living in provincial Turkey are imprisoned in their house to protect their virginity while they await arranged marriages.

Five school girls say goodbye to a beloved teacher and head home from their co-educational school with their friends. The girls are sisters who are ophans living with their grandmother and their uncle. On the way home, they all cavort in the sea, the girls getting on the shoulders of the boys to have chicken fights. It's all very innocent, but a nosy neighbor reports to the grandmother what the girls had been doing and tells the grandmother the girls were "pleasuring themselves on the boys' necks."  The grandmother beats the girls, and though the girls are outraged at the misconception and fight back, the uncle calls them whores and locks them in the house.  They also take away their cell phones and computers and anything else that might "pervert" them.  The house is turned into a "wife factory," where they are given "wife lessons," - cooking, sewing and cleaning. They are also taken to the doctor to check on their virginity because virginity is crucial to finding a good husband. 

But these girls are not subservient.  They are defiant and find ways to sneak out of the house. Sonay, the oldest, already has a boyfriend and has been doing a bit of sexual experimentation, but the kind that would still maintain her virginity.   

Lale, the youngest, is the narrator of the story.  She is an avid football fan (soccer to us in the U.S.), so the girls sneak out of the house to get to the game.  Unfortunately, they are seen on the TV by the grandmother and the uncle and when they return home, bars are placed on the windows and finding husbands for the oldest girls begins in earnest.  This is not a big problem for Sonay because her boyfriend asks for her hand and is considered eligible. But Selma, the next oldest, is not so lucky and is matched up with a stranger.  So one girl gets to marry the  boy she loves and is happy.  The other girl has an arranged marriage and is not. There is also the implication of the Uncle molesting one of the girls.  What fate awaits the other sisters?

Written by Deniz Gamze Erguven and Alice Winocour and directed by Erguven, this is a feminist film that says even in a society repressive to women, women and young girls will still fight for their freedom like the wild stallions of the title.  No matter what the culture or the punishments, in this day and age, it is human to want freedom even if it means death.  And where there is a will, women will buck and pull against the reins to try to be free.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a moving story that will make women who do not live in a repressive society thank their lucky stars.
(In Turkish with English subtitles)


 
 
***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***



251 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?







Trouble in Paradise (1932)


A gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket join forces to rob an heiress.

Lily (Miriam Hopkins) and Gaston (Herbert Marshall) meet in Venice.  They are both pretending to be someone they are not.  She calls herself a Countess and he calls himself a Baron, but soon they recognize each other for what they really are:  He is a thief and she is a pickpocket.  Gaston literally shakes down Lily to get his wallet back (it's hidden beneath her dress) and he reveals that he has stolen her garter. Their criminal inclinations turn each other on and they fall in love.

Later, in Paris, it is clear the pair are cohabitating, something that would not be allowed in later films once the censorship of the Hays Office took hold.  The two focus in on a rich perfume heiress, Madame Colet (Kay Francis, a lovely actress who is largely forgotten today).  Gaston steals her expensive purse and returns it later for a large reward.  Despite the fact that she is being courted by ubiquitous veteran character actors Charles Ruggles and Edward Everett Horton, Mme. Colet falls for Gaston not realizing he plans to rob her.  She hires him as her secretary and gives him full rein over her finances.  Gaston hires Lily as his assistant and the two plot to relieve Mme. Colet of her fortune.  However, Gaston becomes romantically entangled with Mme. Colet which threatens to derail his and Lily's plan.

This film is the epitome of the sophisticated romantic comedies for which director Ernst Lubitsch was famous: witty repartee, sexual innuendo and comic situations.  It has been heralded as the quintessential screwball comedy that influenced those that followed: "The Lady Eve," "Bringing Up Baby," and others.

These comedies set in the world of tuxedos, gowns and opulence brought people out of their Great Depression doldrums and let them laugh and live vicariously, even if only for 85 minutes.  Unfortunately, this kind of sophisticated adult comedy was later off limits to audiences as the prudish Hays Office came into being to rid films of sex and anything that might be upsetting.  Even married couples were depicted as sexless, sleeping in twin beds.

Kay Francis  and Miriam Hopkins went on to star in countless melodramas, but it's difficult to remember Herbert Marshall as a romantic comedic leading man as he is here.  He went on to star in serious character roles ("Foreign Correspondent" and "The Razor's Edge") and Baby Boomers would remember him more as a character actor on TV.  

Why it's a Must See: "After his emigration from Europe and arrival in Hollywood at the tail end of the silent era, Ernst Lubitsch quickly established himself as a master of the technical with an ear for comic pacing.  Admirers called his particular talents the 'Lubitsch Touch,"...a sophisticated sensibility...changing the tone of American comedies and leading to the rise of the 'screwball' antics of Howard Hawks and Billy Wilder, both of whom revered him...That famed 'Lubitsch Touch' indicated his deft method of delivering sexual politics with a barely discernible wink, and that meant a clever way with words and stories to subvert, surmount, or gently prod the relatively prudish...American standards."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

I have a soft spot in my heart for these old Depression era films.  I sat watching many of these with my Dad on the late movies that were a staple of late night TV in the 50's.

Rosy the Reviewer says...short, sweet and witty, they don't make movies like this anymore.





***Book of the Week***





Heart of Glass by Wendy Lawless (2016)



A twenty-something young woman tries to find herself in 1980's New York City.

This is the follow-up memoir to Lawless' "Chanel Bonfire," where she chronicled her life growing up with a narcissistic, alcoholic and suicidal mother who made "Mommy Dearest" look like a saint.  Now she is estranged from her mother and has made her escape to New York City, but finds herself adrift.

When she divorced their Dad, her mother had spirited Wendy and her sister, Robin, away from their father and moved them to London.  Now on her own and not sure what to do with her life, Wendy reestablishes her relationship with her father, an actor with some regional theatre fame.  She also discovers that she likes to act too, but don't think having an actor father is an automatic entrée into starring roles.  Wendy pays her dues in summer stock, regional theatres, bit parts in soap operas and making the rounds in the New York theatre world and eventually goes to acting school.

Throughout, Lawless candidly shares her romantic ups and downs, run-ins with the famous and not so famous, what it's like to try to break into acting, her thrift shop wardrobe and her mistakes, as she makes her way around the New York City of the 1980's, before gentrification, when it was a gritty art scene. 

She is funny and self-deprecating, sparing no details as she searches for love and her place in the world.

Side note:  One of my favorite parts of the book was Wendy's dalliance with a fellow named Tarquin.  How many do you know with that name?

Well, I know one...



Rosy the Reviewer says...aspiring actors will enjoy this as will millennials trying to find themselves and Baby Boomers who can remember what it was like to be young in the 80's.

 
 

That's it for this week!


Thanks for reading!

  
See you Tuesday for

  "What is a True Friend?"





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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.


Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Go to IMDB.com, find the movie you are interested in.  Once there, click on the link that says "Explore More" on the right side of the screen.  Scroll down to External Reviews and when you get to that page, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.
NOTE:  On some entries, this has changed.  If you don't see "Explore More" on the right side of the screen, scroll down just below the description of the film in the middle of the page. Click where it says "Critics." Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list.
Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."

 
 
 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How to Stay Married Forever

On our 30th wedding anniversary, I wrote a post about staying happily married for 30 years.  Back then I said something about, who knows?  Maybe we won't make it to 31. Well, we've not only made it to 31, we have just celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. 

Years ago, when we were first married, I read an article that said if you wanted your husband to remember your wedding anniversary, agree that you will take turns for deciding how to celebrate the event each year. That meant that every other year it would be his turn to plan something and every other year it would be my turn.  We have done that and the article was right.  Hubby has never forgotten an anniversary and we have celebrated it in locations all over the world.

This year it was Hubby's turn and he decided it would be fun to visit Walla Walla and do some wine-tasting.  As you know, we enjoy that little activity together.  Let's just say we wined and dined!




However, last year it was my year and we went to Italy, so go figure, but I'm not complaining. 



Anyway, while out and about in Walla Walla, I might have just mentioned a time or two that we were celebrating our wedding anniversary (you never know when that might result in a hotel upgrade, free drink or dessert!),



and two different people (younger ones, I might add) asked

 "So, what is your secret to a long marriage?"

I had never been asked that before, so it really got me to thinking, and it reminded me of some articles I had seen lately about how to not only stay married for a long time but....forever.

How have we made it this long?

Now I wouldn't presume to give advice...well, yes, I would, I do it all of the time in this blog, but since I have been asked the question, I decided to try to answer it.

The article from "The Huffington Post" about staying married forever made many of the points that I made in my blog post two years ago - have a sense of humor, be considerate, pull your weight, have common interests, the usual stuff - except the last one.  The last point was "Don't get divorced."  Ha!  They should have started with that one.  Sort of trumps everything else, doncha think?

So, yes, if you want to stay married forever, don't get a divorce.  Duh.  But if you want to stay HAPPILY married forever, there is more to it than that.

So what is the difference between 32 years and forever? Not many if you are already in your sixties, but thirty two years can certainly feel like forever if you are not happy.

Though I think it's a good idea to go into a marriage thinking you are not going to get a divorce, to stay married forever for that reason alone is going to make two people very miserable.

Since both Hubby's and my parents were married for 50+ years, 32 years doesn't seem like a lot, but for us Baby Boomers, who drove the divorce rate up to 50%, I would say that is pretty good.

However, I know my parents were in it for the long haul no matter what. No one got divorced, and if you did, you were tantamount to being a hussy (the woman always got blamed).  I had a cousin, whom I loved, who dared to divorce her husband and she was persona non grata within the family for the rest of her life.

I am sure my parents loved each other when they got married, but they had already gone together for eight years before that happened. 



I once asked my Dad about that and his answer was interesting.  He said, "What do you do after going with someone for eight years?  You get married."  Doesn't sound very romantic. I have a feeling my mother told him to get off the pot or take a hike. 

They had three kids. All of us three kids were about five years apart.  I was the youngest, so my sister was almost 10 years older than I was, my brother five. My brother was around during most of my formative years, but my sister was not.  When I talk to my sister about how she remembers my parents, it's nothing like what I remember.  I was 12 when she got married and moved away, and I was 14 when my brother got married.  By that time, my Dad was working all of the time and my mother was making my teenage life a misery.  What I know now was that my mother was frustrated and lonely and my Dad had mentally left the marriage.





So yes, my parents stayed married "forever," but it's not what I would call a happy marriage. Once we kids were all gone, my Dad should have left and become a cowboy like he always wanted.



And my mother should have gotten a job. I only say that because she talked longingly about her life before she got married when she had a "status job" as the secretary to the president of the local bank.  She was a very smart woman who was denied a college education and I don't think she ever got over that.



I remember her trying to get a job when she was in her 50's and not being able to, and I could tell it was upsetting to her. She lived out her days babysitting for the neighbors' kids.

Yes, my parents stayed together forever but I don't think it was a happy forever.


I think we can all stay married forever if we want to by gritting our teeth and if we are willing to put up with all kinds of crap, but the trick is staying married forever and being happy as well.

Now Hubby and I haven't been married forever, but if one of us dropped dead tomorrow we could say we had been.  Forever means what we vowed when we married - "Til death do us part."  But so far, Hubby and I are still going to the gym and don't need to carry around a respirator or anything, so I would say we have quite a few years yet before we get to "forever."

But now it's been 32 years and that feels like forever.  I only say that, because it seems like forever since I was that young woman of 36 who married Hubby (and just so you know, I was not on the shelf until I was 36 and Hubby rescued me from spinsterhood - a few men before him deemed me worthy of marriage.  Just so you know).


Anyway, here is finally the point. 

It's only been 32 years for Hubby and me, and considering our age, forever could be close by, but it's been 32 HAPPY years.  We still like each other, we still hang out together and we still plan for our future together.

Over this last weekend when we were asked what the secret to a long happy marriage was, I quickly answered, "It has to be fun."  Hubby, of course, had to be a smart aleck and say, "Keep your mouth shut."  He meant his mouth, not mine.  You know, those usual "Yes, dear" and "Happy wife, happy life" clichés that I hate? Anyway, fun came to mind for me because I don't think marriage should have to be work.  Yes, we have to be considerate and all of that, but if there isn't more fun going on than work, then what's the point?

But as I thought about this more and more, I realized it was way deeper than that, and I came up with three things that I think will get you to the "f word"...Forever.


One is trust.

And I am not talking about trusting Hubby to not cheat.  At this point, after all of these years, if a beautiful young thing told Hubby how handsome he was and wanted to give him a lap dance, I wouldn't be surprised if he couldn't say no. 

No, what I am talking about here is more important to me than that.  I am talking about the kind of trust where you can expect your partner to be consistent in ways that affect your daily life.  For example, if the brakes went out on my car in the Whole Foods parking lot and I called Hubby to come help me, I can trust that he will drop everything and come right away.  I won't have to cool my heels until it's convenient for him to get away.  If he says he will come home after work, I can trust that he will.  If I am in the middle of a recipe with my hands full of flour and I realize I am out of sugar, I can trust that Hubby will run to the store and get what I need.  And when things go wrong, I can trust that he will choose to be there for me. And I will do the same for him.

But even more important than that is being known. 

If you feel someone really knows you, then you know it will last forever.  And that doesn't happen very often. Being known, really known, is what we humans all crave.  But to get there requires vulnerability and a level of intimacy that some of us are not capable of.  It requires listening, understanding, empathy and compassion. When we share our deepest secrets and insecurities and we are made to feel OK about them, then we know we are known.

Finally, I think for a marriage to last forever, you really have to enjoy each other

And I am not talking about enjoying each other's company as you go to the theatre, out to eat or visiting friends. That is important and we certainly enjoy those activities together, but I am talking about enjoying the little things about each other, still getting a kick out of each other's little habits and peccadillos after so many years. 

For example, I might bitch at Hubby from time to time.  Well, OK, a lot of the time. Though I am sure Hubby doesn't like me to nag and bitch at him, Hubby also gets a kick out of my pursed lips, flaring nostrils and narrowed eyes when I get going.  It makes him laugh which in turn makes me laugh. And what can I say?  He enjoys my company so much he will watch "The Bachelor" with me.

Early in our relationship, Hubby confessed that there was a time when he couldn't imagine being with just one woman for the rest of his life.  Hubby was a bit of a lothario when I met him.



When we got married, I used to tease Hubby about our being together "forever," as if that was something we couldn't possibly imagine.  We would say "We will be together forever and ever and ever..." 

Now 32 years later, we are getting closer and closer to the "f-word."

So if you find someone who not only loves you, but who you can trust to be there for you when the chips are down, who really knows you, warts and all, and still loves you and actually enjoys being around you, if your partner is your "person" and you are his (or hers), then you have a shot at the "f-word" -

Forever.


So here's to the "f-word!"



Thanks for Reading!


 See you Friday


for my review of


"Money Monster"


and

 The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)




 and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before

 I Die Project."




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