I sat enthralled watching the 1940 black-and-white movie “Rebecca” on TV recently. The novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is a favorite. I usually prefer books over movies hands down, but the film, produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was superb. It won the Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the year in 1940, the second Best Motion Picture Oscar in a row for Selznick in spite of the fact the movie seemed the opposite in style of his fabulously successful “Gone with the Wind.”
Later, I pondered why I enjoy old movies so much. (1939 is my favorite year.) It got me thinking: do I just like old things? Yes—most of the time. Given a choice of purchasing a sleek new desk over a rustic desk with history and grace, I’d choose the old ones. I enjoy meeting and chatting with young people, especially children and teens, but the elderly bring with them a wealth of history and knowledge. I treasure them and am honored to have them in my life. Yet when a package arrives at my door bringing something new, I can hardly wait to open it!
I think about the Amish, about reading Amish novels, about planning a trip to Pennsylvania Dutch country to do research and visit friends and family, and realize part of the allure is that I seem to step back into history. My chance—all of ours—to enter another era, albeit contemporary, and contemplate a simpler life.
In many ways their life is not simpler, if I’m realistic with myself. If I needed to hitch up the buggy to go to the grocery or hardware store on a drizzly morning, I’d probably opt to stay home. And I’d be writing by hand right now, perhaps a letter to send around to my family members to share the latest news. But I wouldn’t have a chance to connect with all of you, which I thoroughly enjoy!
I suppose I should be grateful that I like old, since I’m heading in that direction on a daily basis. There are cultures where aged people are highly respected, including the Amish, but I don’t see much of that in my world. Youth is king. A couple days ago at the grocery store, a much younger woman and I were aiming for the same cash register—I was slightly ahead of her. For a moment, I almost stepped back to let her in front of me. If she’d had just a few items, I would have; I usually allow people with a small amount or a child to go first. But for once I held my ground and rolled my cart to my rightful spot. She was not amused.
But back to old things … I have a small collection of teacups and prefer the oldest ones. I love my 98-year-old aunt’s quilts. And several of my friends’ husbands drive vintage cars. One of my girlfriends does too. I’m always thrilled when a new book sits upon my bed-stand, but still carry around the stories of my favorite classics in my head. And music? If I break out into song, it’s always an oldie.
What do you think of when you hear the words too-old, weather-beaten, used-up, past its prime and time to replace? There are so many advantages to modern technology, but do you still prefer nestling by a fire and reading a book, quilting, or knitting rather than dashing off to the latest movie?
What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment! Should you wish to enter to win a copy of Pennsylvania Patchwork or Leaving Lancaster, please leave an email address or contact info. I’ll choose a winner next week, at random. USA or Canada!
Congratulations to Bonnie R., winner of her choice of one of the books, Leaving Lancaster or Pennsylvania Patchwork!