Tuesday, November 22, 2022

This is where I came in

NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY IMBECILIC: I never doubted the existence of 
The Shelter 

When I was a kid, if I or one of my nine brothers and sisters was being particularly troublesome, my mother Huena threatened to call "The Shelter."

Without having details explained to us explicitly, we all knew it worked like thisFed-up moms called The Shelter, somebody came and took the misbehaving kids away. Simple, huh?

What's really funny is that until a few minutes ago, I have: A) Never given The Shelter a moment's reconsideration and B) Never once thought it was conceivable that The Shelter might not exist. And yup, I'm a working journalist.

Huena's shelter sounds like a Children's Aid Society in Bizarro World. 

BURT OFFERINGS: Where I learned everything I know
about banking.
There's a reason I'm telling you this. I just finished reading John Cleese's autobiography So Anyway, and one of my favourite parts is when Cleese discusses his parents' movie-going habits. Mr. and Mrs. Cleese didn't care what time they got to the cinema. If they arrived midway through a movie, they simply stayed in their seats until the next screening and watched up to the part where they came in. 

I thought, "that sounds weird." Then I thought, "we did the exact same thing, a lot."

Growing up in my hometown of Sudbury, Ont., we regularly showed up 15 or 35 minutes into a movie then stayed for the first part of the next screening. This meant waiting in the dark theatre for however long was between shows, watching the coming attractions and with luck a cartoon or two, but then settling in for the part of the movie we missed. Sometimes, we stayed to the end but mostly we walked out over and in front of the other patrons before the show was done. That doesn't happen much these days.

I just googled my brain to see if I could remember specific titles where I did this but no luck. Though two very important early cinema experiences did show up. 

The first? Mary Poppins. It's the only movie my dad ever took me to. And he did so only because my mom was hosting (hostessing?) a bridal shower for my cousin Anne at our house and all the menfolk had to skedaddle. 

BARROWS OF FUN: A feast for a nine-year-old's eyes
I'd seen the wonderful movie before; I believe with my older sister Charlene or Norma. And that was a good thing because I knew to wake my dad (who had nodded off) so he wouldn't miss the scary part. (Something just occurred to me. I bet that's why, years later, when I proudly informed him that I had not one but two real bought-and-paid-for Carleton University credits in something called Film Studies, he was a tad skeptical.)

The other early
cinematic memory? Bonnie and Clyde featuring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, as what would later be described as one of the sexiest couples in cinematic history. 

Bonnie and Clyde! The sensationally sexy couple who died in a visual orgy of blood and machine-gun fire. I was nine. 

I'm pretty sure I remember the older person who brought me but I'm not 100 per cent certain so I won't name names.

But to this day, I am in total debt to whoever it was signed off on that baby-sitting assignment. 

Not quite sure why it made me think of the Children's Aid thing though.  

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