Happy Halloween
Posted on: 2nd October 2011 20:10:59

Welcome to the  October Installment —- Meet Me in St. Louis!


Meet Me in St. Louis was chosen for inclusion in the workbook because it fits well into the overall holiday theme of the book.

In fact it is a nice way to usher in all the holidays from Halloween to Christmas. The film does a nice job of this as it tells the story through the changing of the seasons. 

 I find it to be a great companion piece to September’s film, Fiddler on the Roof.  These two films are my foray into reminiscence about love and respect, not only for one another but also for family.

I like this movie for the obvious reasons, Garland’s voice, Margaret O’Brien’s smile, and just general cuteness, and of course, the music (who doesn’t love “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”)?

I have had the opportunity to meet Margaret O’Brien on several occasions. When I asked her about this film she remembered it fondly and thought Judy Garland was a great “big sister”. Liza Minelli has said, “the great thing about this film is that you believe in everything that happens to this family.”  

When I watch this film with my group we spend a great deal of time talking about the relationship among the sisters. Their support of each other as one (Garland) is experiencing her first crush on “The Boy Next Door” and another (O’Brien), deals with the emotions of having to leave St. Louis for New York. Great stories come out about sisterly bonds.

When the family considers the move to New York, the question, “Can you be happy anywhere as long as you’re together (with your family)?” is a powerful one. The stories from my group, often center around the first time the ladies moved away from the families to start new ones with their husbands. 

Of course, once we mention husbands, the conversation turns, (as it does in the majority of the films), to flirting, dating, crushes and who really makes the first move in a relationship?  Esther, (Garland), tells her sister Rose, “I’ve decided to let John Truitt kiss me tonight!”   This scene opens a big discussion about manners, morals and how men and women behave toward one another. What is proper behavior in “polite” society? I hear some great stories from the ladies about first dates and first dances.

Because this film takes place in 1903, for the first, and possibly the only time, my group members find themselves not only talking about their memories, but the memories they have of their mothers and grandmothers.   Stories that grandma told about the iceman, beer in barrels and the first house on the block to have a telephone.

 We also see what Halloween was like  “back in the day”. In fact, here it was more like what we would call devil’s night.  The kids didn’t go out for candy but for mischief!  

As for me, and most of my group members, we prefer the candy and a meeting “at the Fair!”

Happy Halloween!

See you in November for Thanksgiving at Holiday Inn!





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