Who can escape watching Miracle on 34th Street this week? It seems like every time I turn on the TV, there it is. I watched it two times in two days* and found that I was focusing on different things each time I watched it. Then it hit me that throughout my lifespan, I’ve been focusing on different aspects of the film depending on where I was in my social development.
Stage 1. Santa Of course Santa. When I first encountered this movie in the network-only backwater that I grew up in, I was already beyond believing but who wouldn’t want to entertain the idea, even only briefly, that he might really be out there somewhere, even though you know he’s not. I think the timing of my first viewing might have been immediately after the There was a real Santa but he died in a helicopter crash phase on my BELIEVE timeline.
Stage 2. Career Gal Love those 40s movies where the department store workers have mink coats and plod home in suede high heels to their apartments overlooking Central Park. Maybe that’s the underlying reason that I moved to NYC as soon as I could. Never did get a mink but there was point where I had a full-length synthetic possum coat. I looked stunning. Better than a possum, anyway.
Stage 3. House Later in life when I contemplated my own ideal future life, a vision of that charming Cape Cod-style house was part of it. No wonder little Susan Walker was so insistent about it. Looking at the house this week on the first viewing, I see now that it was thrown up as part of a collection of Long Island cracker boxes of the sort that gives “suburban development” a bad name. On the second viewing, I saw that it didn’t have enough windows and I would never consider it in real life for that reason alone. Life experience can be a real drag sometimes.
Stage 4. Cane Ever since Sami’s bout with Lyme Disease, he uses a cane in the morning until he gets going. We have a collection of canes: the upstairs cane, the downstairs cane, the car cane, etc. One of them is even a classic wooden cane like the one leaning against the fireplace at the end of the movie. Sometimes I come downstairs in the morning and I can determine at what point in his morning routine he didn’t need the cane anymore by where he leaves it. Hanging on the oven handle, hanging on the chair back, hanging on the edge of the kitchen sink, etc. For one brief moment, we’re back to Stage 1 as I think “That’s just like the cane in the move”. Then I wonder if Mrs. Claus ever sharply exhales in disgust when she finds abandoned canes in her way.
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Related / Tragic: from Our Department of Can’t They Leave Anything The Hell Alone?
I am very glad I didn’t know about the 1992 remake of one of my favorite Christmas movies until last night because I had 18 years of blissful ignorance. That’s over. Click here if you want to be repelled.
* Sami was on the couch recuperating from ILI** and watched it more times than that. Consecutively.
** Influenza-Like Illness. (Ain’t I a pain?)