from the prom to white christmas to 2021


Pretty and I began Christmas Day with a musical comedy called The Prom that started streaming on Netflix in December with a cast that featured three of our film favorites, Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington and Nicole Kidman. The movie got mixed reviews from the critics (whoever they might be) but came highly recommended to us by several friends as a must see. Even though I knew nothing about it, my feeling was any movie with Meryl is a must see.

Spoiler alert: The movie was about a high school girl in a small town in Indiana who wasn’t allowed to come to her prom because she wanted to bring another girl as her date. The plot sang and danced its way from one twist to another turn, from the longing of young lesbian love to the more political issues of inclusion and discrimination. Lavish musical production numbers, intimate dialogue among the key characters, Kerry Washington as a mother with a penchant for control that rivaled Olivia Pope in Scandal, Nicole Kidman with legs that went on forever, a musical Meryl having fun in the spirit of her Mama Mia movie in 2008. Director Ryan Murphy combined a variety of love stories set to music sung and danced to by a cast of talented performers that also featured James Corden, Keegan-Michael Key and Jo Ellen Pellman as the teenage lesbian heroine. Pretty and I were thoroughly entertained.

What struck me as I watched from the comfort of my recliner, however, was the message of the movie. In 2020 teenage lesbians coming of age in outgoing VP Pence’s home state of Indiana weren’t intrinsically bad kids. They were legitimate heroines; their love could be celebrated, not condemned. What a difference sixty years make. I shed more than a few tears mixed with laughter as I relived the emotions of my teenage yearnings for the “love that dared not speak its name.” Going to a prom with another girl in West Columbia, Texas in 1964 was as unimaginable for me as becoming Vice President of the United States.

Christmas night Pretty and I settled in for another musical comedy on Netflix: White Christmas starring Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney (George Clooney’s aunt on his daddy’s side), Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen, another dancer whose legs went on forever. This classic was made in 1954 when I was 8 years old and while I have no memory of seeing it that Christmas, I do remember watching several times when it was replayed on television over the next six decades. I had, of course, forgotten almost everything about White Christmas except the song “Sisters,” a dance routine Clooney and a dubbed Vera-Ellen sang in costumes Beyonce and Tina Turner must have worn at some point in their careers. Did I mention Vera-Ellen’s legs went on forever? Well, Pretty was more impressed with her tiny waist which was practically nonexistent.

The amazing costumes for White Christmas were created by Edith Head, one of Hollywood’s most prestigious costume designers who won eight Oscars during her career but not one for this technicolor film. No, the only Oscar for the movie went to Irving Berlin for the title song which is purportedly the largest selling single record of all time if you can trust Guinness World Records that places sales at more than 50 million copies. Pretty came up with the interesting research that Bing Crosby had recorded the song years before the 1954 movie was made – that’s Pretty for you, and she’s always right. Crosby introduced “White Christmas” for the first time on Christmas Day on his radio show in 1941, days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Pretty and I spent Christmas day with our dogs, our gas logs and Netflix movies. This year we had no travel plans, no holiday get together with friends; but we had enough memories of our past twenty years together to make the day as special as our first Christmas. We had Mexican food leftovers purchased the day before at our favorite go-to small restaurant near our home. Life is better with salsa.

The pandemic of 2020 changed not only our lives but also the lives of everyone on the planet forever. On Christmas Eve we opened gifts at the home of our son and daughter-in-law to share the joy of our granddaughter Ella James who at age 1 was more interested in opening the packages than what was inside. It was a memory maker, as my mother used to say.

Stay safe, stay sane and please stay tuned as we face 2021 together. Pretty and I wish better days for all our friends in cyberspace in the New Year.

 

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Nana to her granddaughter Ella James born 10-01-2019. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
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13 Responses to from the prom to white christmas to 2021

  1. cindy knoke says:

    What a lovely family. Happy & Healthy New Year to all of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bob Slatten says:

    Sounds like a calming peace-filled holiday, as it should be.
    And one spent with my BFFs Nicki Kidman and Meryl!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Luanne says:

    I’m glad you had a good Christmas. The Prom sounds like a must-see although I’m not a huge Kidman fan. OTOH, I am a huge Mamma Mia film fan (as opposed to the stage version which I like but don’t love). And, yes, I first saw that movie in Galveston at the theatre by myself and stood up in the aisle and danced with strangers. Me, the introvert. hahaha
    Is White Christmas the movie (I’ve seen it but so many years ago) the same as the stage musical? With a sort of weak plot?
    My favorite Christmas movie will always be Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with Burl Ives. :).
    Happy happy New Year to you and T and the rest of the bunch!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am smiling at the thought of your dancing in the aisles with strangers at Mama Mia in Galveston, Texas!! Actually grinning. Bravo, Luanne!
      White Christmas was a kind of remake of the 1942 film Holiday Inn – I read somewhere they even used the same sets. Interesting. The plot is weak – but typical 50s musical comedy. Not sure about the stage musical part.
      Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was one of my favorites, too!
      Happy New Year to you and the gardener and the rest of your family, too!
      Kalamazoo strong.

      Like

      • Luanne says:

        I saw The Prom and forgot to tell you! I was of two minds about it. It has got to be a really emotional experience for lesbians of let’s say not the young kids’ generation watching it. What a difference in our youths! Very uplifting at the end. I kept tearing up because of that. My other mind is that it was a really so-so production which was a shame for James Corden and JoEllen Pellman (both so talented). Corden is so wonderful and so likeable. At the very beginning when Meryl STreep sounds JUST like Patti Lupone I almost split my sides.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree The Prom wasn’t the most stellar vehicle for the stars, but oh my goodness, I was right there with those girls. Plus I’m in love with Meryl. Pretty forgives me for this one.

        Like

  4. Juanita Jean says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed your Christmas memories and about the movie. We cooked for 3 days and stayed home with more cooking on christmas. I made sweet desserts which I no longer do since I will just eat them and my pants want to be larger for me.If y’all haven’t tried The Kominsky Method, check it out to see if you like it. I believe it’s going into its final season now. Drew looks so much like my young neighbor across the street and of course, he’s perusing his handheld device! glad y’all had a good holiday and have a safe New Years with 2021 arriving thankfully! We can look forward to the vaccine soon, I think.

    On Sun, Dec 27, 2020 at 12:44 PM I’ll Call It Like I See It wrote:

    > Sheila Morris posted: ” Pretty and I began Christmas Day with a musical > comedy called The Prom that started streaming on Netflix in December with a > cast that featured three of our film favorites, Meryl Streep, Kerry > Washington and Nicole Kidman. The movie got mixed reviews from” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed! Wish I had been at your house for Christmas if you were cooking for 3 days plus…yummy. Imagine skipping dessert if you were having your last meal on the Titanic.
      I have watched the Kominsky Method and liked it – Pretty hasn’t had the chance to see it yet. it’s on her to see list!
      Happy New Year, Cuz!! Stay safe!

      Like

  5. Susanne says:

    I had high hopes for The Prom but I couldn’t finish it. Loved the message and the young actresses who played the teenage lesbians were terrific but I thought the music was overproduced and overblown and the script was terrible. What was Meryl thinking? Gorgeous costumes though.

    Our Christmas was quiet. We saw no family other than ours which was a huge departure from years past. In fact, in the 25 years we’ve had children, this was the first that was not spent with extended family. We made the best of it and it was quite relaxing but I’m looking forward to a return to the gathering of the clan in 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, we are all ready to gather, I think. Hopefully sooner rather than later!
      Quiet is good with me – but I did miss family and friends during the holidays. Maybe too much quiet.
      I agree with you totally about Prom and can understand why you left it. I was so taken with watching a movie about two teenage girls in love – never ever saw one cinematic role model when I was their age and now, to be sitting watching a movie like that at almost age 75 was heartening for this aging activist. I forgave the bad script and gave in to my usual Meryl infatuation. Loved the scenes you didn’t quite get to at the Prom when the two girls made their entrance.
      Of course I wept.
      No shade on you, Susanne – you’re the best!

      Liked by 1 person

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