Forever a Romantic

Earlier this week, Turner Classic Movies showed the 1955 movie “Picnic” starring William Holden and Kim Novak. And let me say, this wasn’t the first time I sobbed practically through the whole movie.

I remember coming home from elementary school and watching “The 4:30 Movie” after finishing my homework. “Picnic” was one of my favorites and I wasn’t even a William Holden fan, but the chemistry between him and Kim Novak was pure fire and even at that tender age, I knew I wanted that. What’s comical about this is that my parents, my role models, were the least romantic people I knew. In fact, even as a child, I was pretty confident they hated each other. But I knew it wasn’t supposed to be like that. I wanted romance. I wanted to be swept off my feet, dizzy in love, consumed with desire, all along believing I would look like Natalie Wood when I grew up, and she wasn’t even in this movie, lol.

But there was another movie, “Love with a Proper Stranger” that did star Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen and as I’m writing this, I definitely see a theme that started when I was really young – my desire for the perceived bad boy who could be a good boy, especially to the woman he loved more than anyone else on this earth.

And I know where this whole romanticized bad/good boy longing stemmed from and it wasn’t the movies. My biological aunt had married a man who was a gambler, a bookie, and a pool shark. He worshipped her and adored me, and I guess they were my role models because theirs was the life I wanted, which was reinforced by these romantic movies.

So back to the movie “Picnic.” It’s a very emotional movie because it touches on so many topics: parent/child relationships, the fear of living a dull, boring life, the fear of living a life alone, the desire and courage some people possess to take chances, and the inexplicable chemistry between two people that drives our romantic relationships. Watching it now as an aging adult rather than a hopeful child definitely changed the dynamic a bit. I could relate to the desperation and disappointment of the older characters and had a far better understanding of the dreaded monotony of the younger ones. Watching a movie with your whole life ahead of you filled with dreams, hopes, and options is far different than watching it with a large portion of your life behind you, the results of those earlier dreams being quite different than you had imagined.

When I was younger, I cried when the daughter left her mother and sister to take a chance on a drifter because the thought of leaving my parents was unbearable. But I also cried when I was young because I wanted the daughter and the drifter to be together since I believed so deeply in their love, and in all love actually.

Now I cried because I related to the pain of the mother as her daughter made the choice to leave her behind and go with the drifter. But I also cried because I still believed so deeply in their love and I wanted them to be together, and it made me look back on my own romantic relationships, which apparently were worthy of a good cry.

And this sums me up perfectly. No matter how old I get, I will always be a romantic and no matter how old I get, if blessed with that feeling and/or opportunity to experience love again, I will feel young and beautiful and hopeful in my heart.

P.S. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should and the sexy theme song, the one they dance to when they fall deeply in love, will captivate you forever.