100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #82.

I remember it like it was yesterday (which it certainly wasn’t): The year was 1978 and my grandmother, a German immigrant, shuffled me on the bus to our local mega-mall in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, to see Superman: The Movie.

There she sat, surrounded by hundreds of screaming, drooling, sugar-infused kids, a woman who had gone through a world war that literally tore her country apart and forced her to endure such horrors as having acid splashed on her legs and seeing her own sister raped by Russian soldiers. One would imagine such a fantastical flight of fantasy (literally) wouldn’t appeal to an immigrant with deep psychological scars.

But as it turned out, she loved every second.

 

For an eight-year-old nerd this was the greatest thing ever – until I discovered the bra section of the Sears catalogue.

 

As a child in Germany my grandmother, Elle, loved the cinema. The flickering lights of early features, the fancy seats and the ambience combined with the collective sense of wonder the films inspired in the crowd transported her beyond her simple existence on a farm to a number of alternate realities. Ultimately, her love of movies made it’s way to me and then to my daughter, proving once and for all that such things are genetic.

#82: Going To The “Show”.

That’s what we called it when we went to the movies when I was a kid. Ellie has been gone for some time now but some of my earliest and most profound memories involve a the two of us, a whole lot of popcorn heroes like Clark Kent, James Bond and Luke Skywalker.

With the exception of hallucinogenic drugs, movies have always been the ultimate form of escapism. Sure, you’ve got your documentaries and historical dramas, but those have never been my bag, although I’m willing to concede that they can be enlightening and life-changing as well. But cartoons, westerns, war flicks, action/adventure extravaganzas, and of course, superhero movies help give my life meaning.

Sitting in a darkened theater, especially with my daughter, helps me decompress from life’s challenges. I don’t think about Rockin’ Ronnie and what he was thinking at the end. There are no conflicting feelings about my mother tearing my consciousness apart. I’m not an (almost) fifty-year-old bellman with no pension, a bad knee and IBS.

I just look over at my kid and see that sense of wonder blazing in her eyes (and no, it’s not just the sugar rush from the $300 worth of candy that I plied her with) and I know life is good. As I’ve said before (and will again and again), the simple pleasures can be the most profound. They’re often the ones that help us hang on until the wheel swings back our way and life is good once more.

And it will be good once more, trust me on this.

Hope is where you find it, friends. I’ve found it in the darkened grandeur of a movie theater. Perhaps you will to.

See you in the lobby and the multiplex, kids…

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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24 Responses to 100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #82.

  1. davidprosser says:

    Your grandmother fed your imagination with the movies and gave you a sense of excitement (not withstanding the Sears catalogue) which you’ve had great joy in passing on to your daughter. I know you still share this gift with her from the plays you’ve been to see as well. That’s probably the greatest gift you’ll ever give her, the wonder she can pass on to children of her own that is also born of the deepest love just as your grandmother must have had for you.
    Hugs

  2. Thank you for sharing the story of your grandmother, Hook. A warm and beautiful reason to watch movies and to stay on earth.

  3. Doug in Oakland says:

    I don’t watch too many movies any more, but the list of films that are building blocks to whatever sanity I can be said to still possess is fairly long. How would I cope with the world without “Blazing Saddles” or “The Life of Brian.”? Or being the former little motorcycle freak that I am, “On Any Sunday“?

    And I totally get the parent-child bonding that can be had with the right film. My dad was a hunter. That was his passion, and my siblings and I just didn’t have it like he did, maybe because we didn’t go through his childhood in Oklahoma and the need to supplement the family’s diet with hunting after his father was killed in an oil well accident.

    But he still wanted to share that passion with us, and when taking us hunting began to give him less and less of that, he discovered a series of nature films about big game hunting in Canada and Alaska (my dad adored Canada) that they screened a couple of times a year at the High School theater/auditorium, and we all seemed to like well enough for him to feel like he was passing his love of the outdoors on to us.
    Those memories are as clear and crisp as the ones of actually walking through the woods with him, and include far less bad weather, yellow-jackets or rattle snakes.

  4. Mark Myers says:

    I love this story. I have a friend who loves movies too. He goes all the time to every kind of show and says they relax him.

  5. Going to the cinema just rocks. Where I was brought up there were seven, maybe eight, cinemas. It’s where we went as a family. I got home from university way back, and I didn’t even get time to unpack my clothes. My mum dragged me off to the flicks. ‘Hurry up, the bus will be here.’ ‘What are we going to see?” ‘Clint Eastwood. Dirty Harry is out today.’

  6. curvyroads says:

    You have done a masterful job of detailing the little things in life that, quite literally, make it worth continuing to live. Thank you, my friend. ❣

  7. susielindau says:

    I just read an article about holocaust survivors. They live ten years longer than their pampered peers. They owe it to their positive outlook. Your Grandma sounds like she enjoyed life!

    • The Hook says:

      She tried to.
      She was haunted by some horrible memories and physical scars that ultimately ended her, but she never gave up.
      How can I do any less?

  8. dianaepona says:

    Best memory of Christmas this year was going to see Aquaman with my daughter and my grandson. That’s something I never could have imagined when I was viewing Old Yeller at the drive-in. Or watching the banshee float towards me while enjoying Darby O’Gill and the Little People.

    My daughter was born the year Star Wars came out. Those times at the movies provided better “rides” than any roller coaster. As an aside, I don’t think any of us can truly understand what those who lived in Germany before, during, and after the WWII experienced. My siser-in-law grew up in post war Germany. Her father was in the SS, and was hauled out of their house one night shortly after the war ended. Neighbors turned him in and he was taken away in his underwear. He spent some time in a prisoner of war camp. It’s where he got his love for Rice Krispies and peanut butter.

    He just passed away a couple of years ago. Christa has spoken many times about following trains that went through town hoping to find root vegetables that had fallen from the cars, or coal to heat their house. When asked about her father’s involvement with the SS, she shakes her head. She has no words. He treated her horribly while she was growing up.

    You are so right, Stinkerbell. Movies are one of the world’s great escapes. Long may they light up the silver screen.

  9. “Sitting in a darkened theater, especially with my daughter, helps me decompress from life’s challenges.” profound truth here. Everyone needs to suspend belief – to take time out – to let go of the world – movies and uncrowded trails in the woods have more in common than at first glance.
    Great post (love your Grandmother. Mine took me to a movie every Christmas holiday when she came to visit, too. )

  10. What a great memory! I like going to the movies but there have been so few that I want to see lately, so we rarely go. Plus life is busy and there are amazing things to watch on TV (or my iPad) like Murdoch Mysteries! 😉

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