People of a certain age share memories of special things that the current generation has little or no knowledge of. Nor, it seems, do they want to.
(Yes, I know I ended two sentences with a preposition. Not good writing style, but nothing else said it the same way.)
Case in point: Teenage interests of my generation compared to those of my grandchildren. The two are light years apart.
My kitchen successes can be counted on my two hands with a couple of digits to spare, but among them is the green bean casserole Iâve prepared for many, many years. There may be a glorious repast including traditional and exotic dishes, but if I donât serve that casserole at Thanksgiving and Christmas, it causes bad feelings among some members of my family.
My father never looked or acted like a daredevil, but in his younger life, he definitely was. Barely reaching the 5â 2â mark on the height chart, and wearing a size 5.5 shoe, he barely met the Armyâs size requirements.
Spring is a time when folks decide to clean up, spruce up and fix up around the house. Itâs a time of re-birth of sorts. We venture out into the sunlight, our eyes squinting at the bright sunlight. But once our pupils adjust we see the list of projects growing. Such is life.
Did you follow the adventure of the young Egyptian cobra that apparently slithered out of her confines at the Bronx Zoo? As I write this column, CNN is reporting that she has decided to make her reappearance.
Until a few minutes ago (on Thursday), she had not been seen since Friday, March 25. Zoo officials kept assuring the public that everything was OK; she would come out from wherever she was hiding when she got hungry. No word yet on where she spent her âvacation.â
Jules Vern imagined a wildly elaborate machine. Physicists theorize with numbers. Engineers tinker with plans. They each may have taken a different approach to the same quest but they all shared the same result. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nada. The problem was that they were looking in the wrong place. But I know where to find what they all seek.
Thatâs the theater in Memphis where my cousins and I saw âCleopatraâ sometime in the 1960s. In a recent column, I mentioned a nameless theater that I could see in my mindâs eye but couldnât recall.
All I could remember when I wrote the prior piece was that the movie house had a buff brick exterior and that it was near the big Sears & Roebuck store in that part of the city.
Celebrities influence our lives a lot more than weâre aware. Case in point: Elizabeth Taylor.
When I heard that she had died, I got a big lump in my throat.
This woman was the epitome of stardom and magnetism. No matter what weight she happened to be â and she went up and down the scales almost as you watched her â she could out-pizzazz all the rest of them.
She was one of the main reasons I used to look forward to the Academy Awards show on TV.
In earlier years I had seen every picture nominated â some more than once â but thatâs not been true in a lot of years. Now I do well to see a movie when it comes out on DVD and then it sits on the shelf for a long time before I get around to it.
I still like to watch the Academy Awards show because of the glitz and glamor and sometimes the entertainment.
I donât know when Liz made her last appearance at the Oscars, but she was still turning heads whenever it was. She always stood out in a crowd.
There are many gorgeous entertainers today, but I canât think of a one that could touch Liz in regard to sheer beauty and allure. She had something that was unique only to her â and it was a lot more than her violet eyes, which were amazing in themselves.
Yes, people can get them that way today with contacts, but as far as I know, Liz was the only one who had the real thing.
Growing up in Cotton Plant, where James Theatre was the hub of our social world, I saw many movies featuring this amazing actress.
I continue to watch her movies. Two of my favorites, for a lot of reasons, are âFather of the Brideâ and âFatherâs Little Dividend.â She couldnât have been more beautiful than she was in those two flicks. She was young and charming and outwardly unscathed.
Theyâre also special to me because the relationship of Lizâs character and the one portrayed by Spencer Tracy as her father, which was so similar to the one I had in real life with my father.
Another favorite for me was âCat On a Hot Tin Roof,â which had one of the best overall casts of just about any movie Iâve ever seen. Liz, Paul Newman, Burl Ives, Jack Carson, and whoever played Big Mamma and Sister Woman (donât know their names at the moment, but they were great). What a mix of sheer talent at work on the screen in that wonderful Tennessee Williams story.
If I were asked to rate her best performance â her worst was still good and most were outstanding â my vote would be for âWhoâs Afraid of Virginia Woolf?â Iâve never seen any woman argue with more zeal than Liz exhibited with Richard Burton. They may have had their troubles off-screen, but when you stuck them before a camera, there was a kind of magic that took place.
And then came âCleopatra.â I donât remember the year that film was released â I think it was sometime in the â60s â but I do remember the trip to see it. My Cotton Plant cousins and I saw it in Memphis and had a wonderful time. Iâm trying to remember the name of the theater where it was shown, and all I can recall is that it had a buff brick exterior and was located near what was then the big Sears & Roebuck store.
Liz made more than 60 films and twice won the Oscar for best actress: as a call girl who meets with tragedy in âButterfield 8â (1960), based on the John OâHara novella; and as the braying, slovenly wife of a professor in âVirginia Woolf,â which was adapted from Edward Albeeâs play about marital warfare.
Rosemary Proctor Hamilton, one of my lifetime friends, bears an uncanny resemblance to Taylor. She looked like her as a kid and still does today. A beauty queen herself, Rosemary won many titles and at those times frequently received comparisons between her and the magnetic star.
Liz, though, epitomized Hollywood glamor with her wardrobe of chic sheaths that she could top off with a tiara or a turban. Heck, she looked good even if she wore bandanas and burlap.
The aging process changed her somewhat, but it didnât take away her style. And of course she had enough diamond accessories to light up a railroad track.
I have a sparkly atomizer from her White Diamonds fragrance collection. Think itâs probably worth a little more now than it was a week ago, but I wouldnât want to part with it. Every time I use it Iâll think of the bewitching star and remember what marvelous contributions she made to the entertainment industry.
And thereâs one more thing: She loved dogs. That raises anyone a notch or two in my estimation.
Lynda Hollenbeck is associate editor of the Courier.
What do you think about Saline County Quorum Court members, our Justices of the Peace, making 37 percent more than the average salary paid to their counterparts in a recent six-county salary study, even as dozens of county employees make "far below" the minimum suggested pay for their respective positions, according to the JESAP report released recently?