Category Archives: Drama

“They call me Mimi but my name is Lucia….”

I have been having a busy week.  I had my six month checkup for my lung cancer surgery last September, with a CAT-Scan with contrast media, and follow up with the surgeon.  I am very aware that breathing is a different experience for me, and not for the better, but I am adjusting.  I even gained five pounds, which is a significant for me.

My chronic anorexia, and the experience of being inexplicably abandoned by someone who swore his love and commitment to me, only to be followed up by  ghosting me, made the recovery almost impossible.  Without love, it took away my strength to recover, and my will to live.  But I am made of tougher stuff and survived in spite of it.

Today is very early spring, and I have reason for optimism and looking ahead.   I am attaching a photo of my son and my grand-daughter, Piper Starling Connolly, who visited me a week ago, making me very happy.  Kensie is standing by my side, where she can always be found.

I am reminded of Mimi’s aria in Act. 1 of the opera, La Boheme, set in Paris, my favorite city in the world.   I would like to share it as an ode to spring for all of us, and to my own victory over death and despair. Mimi is forced to face her own mortality by the end of Act 3, as shall we all.  But in Act I, there is flirting, laughter, and the hope that only comes in spring.  Find it on YouTube to listen to the beautiful melody.  The words follow:

“They call me Mimi, but my name is Lucy.

I embroider flowers, roses and lilies on silk.

I am peaceful and happy; it is my pass time.

I like these things.  They have so sweet a smell,

They speak of love, of spring, of chimera, these things

That have poetic names….. do you understand me?

Yes, they call me Mimi, why, I do not know….

Alone, I make my lunch for myself,

I do not always go to mass.

But I pray a lot to the Lord.

I live alone and cook for myself.  Alone….

But when the thaw comes, the first sun is mine!

The first kiss of April is mine!

Rose buds in a vase, leaf and buds

I watch them.  The flowers I make,

They do not have an odor

Rose buds in a vase,

Leaf by leaf, I watch it

The gentle perfume of a flower!

But the flowers I make

Ah me, they do not have any odor!

About me, I would not know how to tell.

I am only your neighbor come to bother you!”

From Act I of the Italian opera La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini

Libretto: Giuseppe Giacosa

Another Facebook Wisdom; Any and all wisdom is required.

I would like to share from “Notes from a crazy soul” on Facebook:

“There comes a time in life, when you walk away from it all, the drama and people who create it.  Surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good.  Love the people who treat you right.  Pray for he one’s who don’t.  Life is too short to be anything but happy.  Falling down is part of life.  Getting back up again is living.”

With that quote in mind, I realize how much I fail to succeed in living a life of wisdom.  Instead, I am tested with tragedies that fly by with the speed of a tennis ball I cannot see, but only hear the Hisssssss of it speeding across my face, just missing me, barely.  The impact would be damaging, somehow fortunately it misses me, but the effect is the same.  This pattern has followed me throughout my life.  It began with my parents who created their own domestic tragedy of a marriage and imposed it on their children.  It left us, their children, stuck in the place where they failed, unable to go back or  unable to move forward.  The accuracy of this pattern in my life is stunning.  In every relationship, all I have to do is sit back, smile, and wait for it to happen.

One day in   2002, I had the opportunity to buy a young male borzoi.  He was very sweet and beautiful, and I embraced him to my heart.   I felt a love I never thought I knew.  He was followed by several others, including two bitches, and we bred a litter and kept a male.  After a short while, I realize I had been changed by this experience and felt protected for the first time in my life.  Love had found me at last and changed me forever.  When one of those first borzoi died suddenly, in 2008, I became very ill.  I had never grieved like that before.  In 2019, my last borzoi passed away.  I told myself I was fine and was doing well.  A myth.  A year later I was diagnosed with anorexia and bipolar depression and had to make serious choices regarding my treatment.  In addition, between 2013 and 2020, I had cancer twice, each one requiring surgery.  My parents’ legacy was still alive and well.  They won after all.

Unexpectedly,  I met a magical and new man in 2020 who swore his undying love for me after finding me and my dog pictures on Facebook.  He  told me I could trust him.  I was his everything, especially, his future.  One evening, a simple conversation turned suddenly aggressive and he left me.  It took about one minute and he was gone.  Although I begged him to return, and he did, he created another dramatic scene  few months later, leaving me alone again.  I felt like a fool for trusting him, but he put on a great show of a man in love and I believed it, even in the face of many contradictions.

It is experiences like this that I must be wary of, and not just me, but everyone.  I don’t care if you are a man, since I am sure there are insincere, manipulative, ingenuine women in the world, as well.  But I have accrued such a long list of men covering the last ten years of my life that I have been a widow trying to exploit me, men who had no love in their hearts for me whatsoever, that I wonder if I should end this quest once and for all.  They all had nothing to offer beyond smoke and mirrors, and when they grow tired of their game, they create a scene and leave.   I know I have many true friend and it is to them that I must turn.  I have Kensie, my new Silken Windhound, by my side, to replace my former borzoi, and she makes me smile.  Life is hard but there are little things that make it sweet, and downy pillows on which to rest my head and dream.

Finding wisdom on Facebook for Blyss

I am frequently amazed by the truly great pieces of writing that end up in my Facebook feed.  It is as if the writer were sitting there in the room with me and looking deep into my very heart and knows exactly how I feel and expresses it with perfect clarity.  So it is with the writing of  Stephanie Bennett-Henry, especially one particular post, that I will share on my own blog, here that she posted on August 2,2015:

“I want the weirdos, the clumsy, fumbling, awkward ones  who call themselves a big mess.  That’s where it’s at.  Give me the one whose eyes are colored with shades of madness.  Throw me in a room with the loners, the ones who never found their place.  Sit me down at the table with the dreamers, the ones who feel with their eyes and see with their hearts.  Surround me with the extraordinary souls who inhale passion through their fingertips and exhale creativity from masterpieces in their bones.  I want to dance with the ones who will break their own hearts because they only know how to love too hard or not at all.  Build a path with the pieces of the broken ones.  I will follow the trail and carry each piece back to its owner, showing them the stained glass pieces of their beautiful, broken magnificence.”

Stephanie Bennett-Henry. Copyrighted.

So yes, there is dignity and loss in defeat.  There must be, be some positive dimension for humans since it is so ubiquitous and it does not kill us, it just keeps coming.  Is this a realistic interpretation of the human condition, flailing around, coming up short, losing everything, “dying” even, when you are still very much alive?  I am a master at surviving deaths.  I have had several reincarnations: surviving my childhood, surviving my first and second marriages, and coping with the tragedies that befell my kennel.  First, a puppy died unexpectedly.  I had forgotten puppies died, as I was so focused on breeding them and on their subsequent arrivals!   After, the puppies from my only litter were sent far away by my co-breeder, the one I got to keep was very sickly his first two years of life and was not emotionally sound.  This was challenging and I was focused on these events more than it was warranted until the punishing hand of God delivered its final blow: taking my darling husband, prematurely young, from cancer.  The only mercy to the story was it was swift.

My dreams of an adult life, happily married with a child and a houseful of dogs, Llewellyn English Setters come to mind since I did not know what borzoi were then,  a show kennel and horses in a pasture,  and never at a loss for love, was a bitter delusion that I never stopped pursuing long after it was feasible.  I pursue it still, and I am a very old woman.

And there lays my psychosis.  It is what places me in the room with the eyes colored with shades of madness, thrown in a room with loners who never found their place, who feel with their eyes  see with their hearts.  And yes, I have wanted to “dance” with the ones I knew would break my heart because they, too were flawed and could not love, so like my parents before them.  My life is lived on a path of broken stones and every step is painful.  But I see no magnificent stained glass portrait of myself to hang in the window to catch the sun and celebrate my life.  I am in a very dark place. The pieces of my life lie on the ground like broken stones, and an urn will hold my ashes in a mausoleum when I die.

A romantic update at Blyss

As I moved along last month, in spite of my desire not to, in order to put myself out of my predictable, future misery, I perceived in the far distance a white flag of peace.  It could almost have been missed it was so remote and brief.  Could it be I see the words in a text message after a month of deafening silence, apologizing and wishing to return to my love?  Yes, the very same lover who melted down and disappeared when  I needed him and his love and strength the most…..   But that was then and this is now…..  Could I forgive him, he asked…..  I replied there was nothing to forgive, please come back.

It would not be what many would have done, but I cannot be lead around like a cow in a herd.  I take the risks, the unwise endeavors, the degrading gestures, show my tears, bear my breasts.  It does not matter if it is a borzoi or a lover.  Love is love for me.  Once I love, it will not end pretty.  Love charges me a huge fee but in spite of being willing to pay the price I often lose my investment.

But today, he has returned, transformed as if by magic, to the lover he was before he was seized by his own rage and exited the scene, not even knowing why or where he was going.   His journey took him back to me.  I love him unconditionally, like my borzoi, and took him back.  He is my Adorable One, my Little Rock Star, since we spend so much time watching YouTube videos and he knows so much about 1960s British invasion rock music and the derivative bands it spawned, not to mention his guitar collection.  I admit I have an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject myself, although my knowledge of classical music and opera equals it.   We focus on our love and watch the music videos and rock documentaries of the musicians, amazing how  many there are, and just escape our pain for the laughter hat comes from silly things.   Someday, one of us will die first, and will leave the other shattered and heartbroken.  Until then, we are blissfully in love.  We are happy to share our joy with Kensie, although I know how much we are missing by not having a pair of borzoi to watch over things here.  He does not get it though, and I  believe it would be, how shall I say, “Too, too much…..”.  Fortunately, Kensie does a wonderful job behaving just like a borzoi, and that is a very nice, endearing quality of hers.

For a year that commenced in a very bad way, a year that saw COVID-10 descend upon the Human Race and kill hundreds of thousands of people, well over 220,000 Americans, I can look back on it and see stars against the black background.

A new life and second chance at Blyss, snatched from the jaws of death

It is October 2020, and one month ago, I faced three harrowing challenges alone.

The first occurred five weeks ago.  A significant other, someone I thought I could love and trust, created an  ugly scene over seemingly nothing, and walked out suddenly, without any explanation that made sense to me.  My emotional makeup makes the acceptance of events like this virtually impossible without intense emotional pain.

A day later, and one week prior to the separation, I had to take Kensie to Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, NJ for a series of comprehensive tests.  She appeared to be “fading” for lack of a better word, being lethargic, feverish and not eating.  It appeared that at that rate, she could have died.  I wanted to address this prior to my own upcoming health challenge.  Fortunately, all of her tests were normal, adding to the mystery of what was wrong with her.  I had to confess that my intense relationship with my boyfriend had resulted in a diminishment of my attention to her, and she was acting out.  Since the boyfriend left the day prior to the visit to the vet, it was almost immediately that she returned to the old Kensie I knew before.  Only now I notice how very clingy and needy she is emotionally.  She came to me in late January, and due to COVID-19, she was accustomed to having me all to herself.  Apparently, she liked it that way.

The third event occurred exactly four weeks ago.  I had been given a diagnosis of lung cancer and I underwent a surgical procedure to remove the lower lobe of my left lung.  Coupled with the emotional trauma of the precipitous separation of the previous week and the crisis regardingf Kensie’s health, I struggled painfully and long to recover.

We all have our little crises, canines and humans alike, over how we want our love, over how much we want, over how much we need, and over what happens to us when we lose it. The boyfriend ran out of the house in a seemingly fabricated rage over a bad case of nerves.   Kensey felt she lost my love.   And I was in terror over a cancer diagnosis.  It brought out the worse in us all.

As I hate to be alone more than anything in the world, having my borzoi, and now Kensie my Silken Windhound, is essential.  But I do not do so well outside of a relationship with a significant other, either.  But I cannot “fix” that problem as easily as buying a dog.  In fact,  it is in the hands of destiny regarding how it will be resolved.  I have learned I cannot do very much about it. If there were a personal God, He would have had mercy on me long ago having tired of my repetitious prayers and Novenas.   He would have found and sent me the man who truly loved me, free of abuse and abandonment.  But there is no such man  Today,  I walk alone through the maelstroms of bizarre challenges and events that mar my life like a scar.   For they are challenges and events He has put in my life.   Therefore,  I must live them alone but gratefully, with Kensie, today.  For we are partners in recovery from the brink of death.

Censorship, beware! Upset at Blyss Kennels over so many things.

I see in the news today, in an attempt to be politically correct, a corporate giant, known for it’s long history and many levels of accurate information dissemination, has enforced censorship on its subscribers rather than letting each of its world wide respected universe of subscribers decide for themselves. This clearly reveals a corporate superiority complex, contempt and lack of respect for us all, by its action of removing the Hollywood icon of 1939, Gone With the Wind (GWTW), from its offerings today. In so doing, the entire country’s First Amendment Rights of Free Speech under the U.S. Constitution are violated.

This was called censorship the last time I looked. GWTW is one of Hollywood’s all time great masterpieces on many levels.  It deserves to be seen for many reasons,  especially from being entertaining, beautiful to watch, to being historically accurate and thereby edifying.

GWTW was a brutally realistic depiction of the South’s punishment and destruction for its slavery based economy by losing the Civil War. It accurately captures the South in decay and then being destroyed, with burned out fields devoid of crops. In addition, all the main characters suffered enormously for their southern, slave based economy. There are no winners here. The loss of the Southern way of life based on slave labor is clearly and unequivocally depicted.

Moreover, tragedy, symbols of moral punishment, follow the southern main characters to the film’s long end:

Scarlet and Rhet’s young daughter dies in a horrible riding accident,

Scarlet suffers a miscarriage,

Scarlet and Rhet, husbands and wife, hate one another and are both alcoholics,

Melanie dies horrifically in childbirth leaving a small son and a grieving husband behind,

Scarlet then realizes that her long time and illicit love for Melanie’s husband, Ashley Wilkes, has always been unrequited, and

At long last, Rhet leaves Scarlet when she wants him to stay with her with his most famous line of all:

“Frankly, My Dear, I don’t give a damn” , racy words for 1939.

There is no victory lap here for the South and many lessons to be learned for getting it wrong. Yet to this day, while handling perhaps our county’s most sensitive period in our history, I do not believe a film as beautiful to watch as it gracefully depicts terminal punishment on the loser has ever been created again in Hollywood.

A stunningly beautiful young, English actress and a newcomer, Vivien Leigh, won a Best Actress Oscar her first time out playing Scarlet O’Hara with her heart and soul on constant view. Hattie McDaniel, an American of color, won Best Supporting Actress.   This was the first time a person of color won an Oscar.  The film also won a Best Picture Oscar and several others. GWTW stands up as well today as it did when it was released, and it is as respected and revered today as it was when it was made, as is the novel by Margaret Mitchell, a Southern woman, upon which it is based, when it was published. The film is a huge Hollywood icon of excellence that subsequent films tried to emulate but failed.

So sad and sorry to see this happen. This is a loss for HBO that I hope other services do not emulate.

Tears for America.

Lorene Connolly, M.L.S.

Blyss Kennels, Mountainside, NJ

 

 

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Another Interruption caused by TCM when I had things to do…..

I have been very busy these days after months of lethargy and depression catching up with work that had been put aside.  When the weather become warm, I want to start gardening and taking care of the lawn outdoors.  I need to be very disciplined however I can be most tempted to stray when a film I truly love comes on the schedule for  Turner Classic Movies.  Last night, when I should have been sleeping, the movie scheduled was among my top 5, Splendor in the Grass, directed by Elia Kazan, starring a very young Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, made in 1961.  Another lifetime ago, I may add.  I know I can write volumes about this movie and why Iike it so much, but now is not the time.  I will say, even having seen it a dozen times, each viewing is as new and raw and shocking as was the first time.  It is difficult to watch the growing pains of two young people who love each other trying to do the right thing while everyone around them is acting badly and the world as they know it is undergoing profound social changes, even in the Nebraska heartland.  And yes, it is excruciatingly painful to watch them as they come undone and become unrecognizable people from whom they were at the beginning of the story.  Together, once so close, they launch their adult lives in such different places, determined not to think much about happiness anymore, and say a simple good by before setting off apart.

As actors, the careers of Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty exploded with stardom and success, including Oscars.  It is always a joy to watch their films, each one so different yet rewarding.  They talents are boundless.  Natalie was taken far too prematurely with a tragedy that defied all logic, as if it were part of the plot of the movie she was making.  It never added up to me……  But the death of a great movie star usually does not.  They never really die.  The movies and the stars I love so much share my heart with the dogs and the horse I have loved so much.  I am so grateful for the technology that enables us to watch, rent or stream virtually any movie we want to watch almost anytime for a very small amount of money.  They are my companions in loneliness.

A Long Blyss Hiatus

Feeling so much like a stranger in my own mind, not really knowing how to handle the high barres I have set for myself with the inner voice command, “You will do this!” I have been challenged to the point of exhaustion from running away from myself and everything except Jelly and Tresor.  I have embraced them closer to my heart than ever, they mean so much more now. When I look around me, I see that Tresor and Jelly are all that remain.  And yet, their coming to me was the result of so random and haphazard events that collided for a moment in time with me, for each one separately.

It is autumn again, and in autumn, I seem to have reasons to go to the veterinarian to take care of problems.  This time, poor Tre was sprayed by a skunk in the yard, followed by a physical encounter with another creature  that bit his leg so badly that it required a veterinary visit.  So we have been off to Washington, NJ a few times now, and still have one more trip to make.

Tre is still who he his, full of great male pride and fire!  I thought I could walk him myself again, and bought a prong collar.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  The prongs did not stop him from dragging me across the street to have a fence fight with the neighbor’s Golden Retriever, a youngster who has a fire in him as well.  He had to be dragged off the fence by his owner before I was able to regain control over Tresor again.  So, it was back across the street and into the house before I broke another bone.

Sadly, whomever I find to help me with Tresor, with walks, dog sitting and general help whom I can trust, either disappears, moves, gets sick, whatever; they go away.  I always take these losses hard, knowing how they impact Tre.   None of the losses is worse than the recent loss of LT who made a sweeping exit with a major hissy fit.  Aside from destroying me, but what am I, he knows this hurts Tresor the most because he loves him.   My Boy.  I look at borzoi photos on FB all day, and see pictures of happy borzoi running in big fenced yards, or free in fields or meadows, and my heart breaks for all the shortcomings my life attained.  Yes, I fall short.   And, there are the other people in my life, they just turn their backs for seemingly no real reason and walk away in rage….. this is a pattern that mystifies me.   Then there are the ones that stay……  they  contract fatal diseases and die.  As I write today, that is happening now with a wonderful man who has been Tresor’s most recent steady friend and a truly good person we know.  I am truly devastated about him.

Not to be overly sad and negative, I have tried to find my strength amidst all of these travails.  I identified an unusual idea that I thought would be good for me, regarding an employment opportunity, and I followed up on it.  It turns out that I now work part time at a local department store.  This has really been a huge help for me.  It puts something else in the forefront of my thoughts, something that attests to my strength, diverting me from my pain.  I am still active in my dog clubs and attend their meetings, programs, and shows, and I still serve on the boards where I have those responsibilities.  However, I have a new world that I have entered, one that demands making new social relationships, and addresses my financial shortfalls, since owning two borzois on a retirement income is not easy.

More about this later……     My new pattern of absences from home has been noticed by a certain borzoi…. and he has let his disapproval be known perfectly clearly!

Mature Tresor

Late November 2016 at Blyss Kennels, updates about the borzois

By late November, you can’t lie to yourself anymore and think that it is still summer or fall.  Like being at the end of your life and your beauty is dimmed, you are not in the springtime of your youth and therefore not the first pick of the boys.  The inevitable bitter cold with biting, raw winds bear down from wherever they come from as you try to go about your kennel work suddenly turning what once brought you joy in your beauty it into an unpleasant ugly chore.  To make things even worse, Jelly sustained a bad injury on her forelegs by falling down hard on them while running off leash in the Watchung Reservation, making it necessary to go to an Emergency Vet nearby and the beginning of many visits to “Dr. Mary” for “bandage changes”, making it a very expensive injury from which to recover.  The lacerations cut across her wrist joint and the challenge was to keep the wounds covered until they were healed to avoid osteomyelitis or “septic joint”.  So, all of that  has been happening, and after three weeks, there is still one wound wrapped although it is becoming noticeably smaller.  I feel as if I live on Rt. 78, the long road I need to take to get to another road that takes me to Washington, NJ, where our regular vet office resides.  I would not let another vet practice touch my borzois, as I learned the hard way from past experiences.

There has been much in the way of good news, too.  I still see announcements on Facebook of Mikhailya’s great-grandson, “Vinto” wining Best in Show placements in Japan on a regular basis.  How proud we all are of him.  But not only of him, of his great dam, “Lucy”, who still does a lot of Best in Show winning here in the States, herself.  The next very big show will be the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in February in New York City.  That will be followed by the Borzoi Club of America National Specialty Show in Hunt Valley, Maryland, the week of May 10 – 17, 2017.  I can only wait and wonder if Lucy’s owners will show her in these shows again.  It is just hard to say, and I am not privy to this information.  Perhaps they will bring “Vinto” back since he has done so well in Japan.  If I were their owners, that is what I would do, but I am not.

I have been trying to keep my spirits up, but with the onset of the holiday season, it is very difficult.  I have been reading more, in the historical biography area.  I just finished the Ellie Bolles Ellison (2014) The True Mary Todd Lincoln, and want to read the Chernow  biography of Hamilton fame, since I can’t afford to spend $1,000.00 on a Broadway ticket to see the play.  It’s comical that this milestone has come about.  I could say more about this in light of the outcome of the recent presidential election, but I demur.  However,  I digress.  What I mean to say is, by reading it creates the illusion that I am in the company of others and it distracts me from the intense loneliness I feel.  It appears that I am not anybody’s cup of tea.  Watching the movies on Turner Classic Movies has the same effect.  I think I will try to do more reading in the new year, or, it depends on what movie is playing.  Perhaps I can be more selective.

The well being of Jelly and Tresor are all I can ask or expect.  Nothing else really matters at this point, as long as I can rise each morning and do what I need to do every day.   But I know all too well how alone I am and how much the responsibility for Jelly and Tresor weighs on me.

At this time, I can identify other areas that are critical and important, and I will be writing more about them in the year to come.

In particular, one area of interest that developed for me in 2016 and about which I have written before was the need for donkey rescue.  I have begun to see more attention given to this cause throughout the year.  Facebook has many groups with people who have a keen interest in this topic, and in recent months, the New York Times, reversing a long period of disappointment I have had in them, has taken up the topic with vigor.   And as donkeys require awareness and assistance, so it goes for all equines, horses, large and small.  I hope I can raise the level of awareness somewhat in Blyss Blog readers while still remaining true to the focal topic of this blog, the borzois of Blyss Kennels and challenges and joys I have living with them.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  In spite of many sorrows, I have much to be thankful for.  I hope you do, too.

 

 

Blyss Despondency – an Oxymoron, therefore a Mistake

I believe it is always wrong to give in to the seductive temptation  to dwell on despondent thoughts, and who does not have them.  In my case, it is doubly wrong because I live with the two best dogs in the world, first of all who happen to be champion borzoi, and secondly are “Tresor” and “Jelly”, respectfully, therefore not ordinary dogs.  All I have to do is look at them, and they turn their eyes to me with a luminous gaze that speaks only of love.

But to err is human…..as the first part of that famous adage goes.  And I do say about myself I err with great ease.

I found myself alone with a large amount of time on my hands this weekend.  Well, why should that be anything new, since everyone knows I  live a solitary life here at Blyss Kennels aside from “Tresor” and “Jelly” regardless of any efforts I have made to the contrary.  And I forgot to consult my new method of coping with this which is centering on Catholic reading and  writings, based on my already strong foundation in that religion.  It sounds like such a wonderful idea until a difficult time arises, then I never think of it.

Sunday was a perfect example.  I was planning to spend the afternoon alone watching Turner Classic Movies on cable TV hanging out with the borzois.  Sure enough, toward the end of the day, a particularly weighty film was put on, The Heiress (1949) Dir. William Wyler, starring Ralph Richardson, Olivia De Havilland, and Montgomery Clift.  I was familiar with the story, having read the Henry James short novel.  It was as tragic a domestic tale as was ever written.  I wondered if I was up to watching it.  The doomed heiress, Catherine Sloper, reminded me so much of myself, that in the area of personal happiness, everything had gone terribly wrong through no real fault of her own, just family dynamics, especially with her father.   It made me wonder if perhaps I should not watch it at all, fearing it would plunge me into a deep depression.  I thought more and more about what to do.  Then I was struck with a fantasy.  It went like this.

What if we could go back in time in a time machine, and be in the days when Henry James was writing The Heiress.  Instead of a father regarding the marital prospects of his daughter so poorly that he suspected a man would marry her only for her money, that his generosity of spirit would allow her to marry a rogue whom she loved in order that she may enjoy the happiness of marriage.  Instead, he interfered; she lost the man; the two of them – father and daughter – ended their relationship together despising one another.  I imagined my Sunday afternoon spent alone for so many of the same reasons could be placed into a time machine.  Suddenly, I was a ghost sitting in the room with Henry James.  I was able to influence his creative spirit!  He wrote the novel with the happy ending.  Then, one hundred years later, the movie shown on Turner Classic Movies last Sunday would have the happy ending.

Who knows, maybe I could be in a time machine and go back in time.  Would my father get a second chance to get it right and after despising me, love me instead?  How different a person would that have made me?  But surely, Henry James, being a great writer, might have found a way for his paternal character to make his daughter happy.  Would my father have recognized his cosmic “second chance” and done a better job the second time around?  I know now as an adult, he meant well, I know he did, if only he could have……    Then, my Sunday afternoon spent alone in the present and watching the Heiress would have had a totally different emotional response. And I would not be the person I am today.

I watched the whole movie and found myself reacting to something different for the first time.  I no longer saw the father as a true villain.  Although I felt emotionally closer to the young woman I found myself having an understanding for the values of the father.   Having worked in a demanding career for thirty-eight years from which I recently retired, I can see the value the father placed on his own money, and his wish not to see it squandered on a foolish son-in-law.  This complicates the story, adding to its value as a masterpiece, does it not?  No one is truly right, and no one is truly wrong.  Perhaps I should try to think of my father that way.  There are no good guys, there are no bad guys.  There are just ordinary people trying to get it right at the end of the day.