I think memories have a life of their own… They come and go as they please, and sometimes when they visit you, they bring back a wave of souvenirs along…
Today, as I was working, I suddenly remembered something I hadn’t thought about in decades. I can’t put my finger on what brought this piece of memory back, it totally came out of the blue.
Flashback to the early eighties… My father’s parents were very discreet and pious people. They had raised four children, and cherished their five grand children. They were fairly wealthy, though not rich. My grand dad had worked in the army for a long time, and he was an early retired man, after having his right hand crushed in a paper press while trying to repair it (someone noticed that the press was off, but apparently not the reason why it was). So grand pa had two substantial pensions, from the army and the paper-making plant.
My grand parents weren’t big spenders. They lived in a humble house, grand ma was an avant garde couponer, and when she found really good deals, she would buy shitloads of whatever was on sale, for the whole family (toilet paper, peanut butter…). I know that they helped Mom and Dad financially a great lot in their first years of mariage, and I can’t see grand pa asking for any of that money back.
But there were two things they were never shy to treat themselves with. Traveling, especially to Israel. And new technology. They were amongst the first to have a video camera here, and in times when just having the cable was cool, they had both a Beta and a VHS players. I know the youngest of you Lovelies won’t realize how special that is, but back then my parents could barely afford to rent a VHS player and a cassette for a special event, like Little Bro’s or my birthday.
Grand ma loved recording stuff on tv, and she had a great collection of comedy acts, and documentaries on tape. But for some reason, there is a movie I remember having watched many (MANY) times while sleeping over at my grand parents’ home (oh, and I checked with Little Bro, and he remembers it clearly too, even if he’s almost three years younger than me).
Forbidden Games (Jeux interdits, in French) is a 1952 black and white movie that was part of grand ma’s video library. It won several prestigious prices, and looking back, I can’t believe she let us watch it so many times. I don’t remember the whole story, but basically, it is the story of a little French girl, about the same age as I was when I first watched the movie, who loses her parents at the beginning of WWII. The rest of the plot is a little blurry, but I clearly remember the scene of the bombing, and how the little girl then wanders, as an newly orphan, holding her dead dog in her arms (it choked under her body as she was lying on the ground between her dead parents).
This afternoon, when I asked Little Bro if he remembered the title of the film, he mentionned ”Pretty traumatazing for children like us, to watch”. I wanted to agree, but I couldn’t. I think that grand ma just knew that we were ok with learning about serious things like war and death. And today, as I realize that, I am thankful to her.
Because war and death are not subjects young children should be exposed to… But it doesn’t mean that they can’t deal with them.
Does any of you remember that movie? I’m curous…