Tuesday, June 03, 2014

In Our Home Town

Since I got up earlier than usual, I decided to reverse my chores and start the day with laundry. It was very busy when I arrived there at 9:30. I guess I wasn't the only person who heard we were supposed to be having storms later in the day. At that point, though, it was still sunny and breezy, though hotter and a bit more humid than yesterday. I didn't really have a lot of laundry to do anyway, mainly towels. I was in and out in an hour.

When I got in, I put my clothes and towels away, then went right back out again. Given the sunny, hazy day and it being quarter after 11 by the time I got going, you won't be surprised to hear that Newton River Park was busy with bikers, dog walkers, joggers, and parents with their kids in the playground. I even saw a man sunbathing on a bench! I couldn't blame him. It was getting hotter by the minute, and the scenery sure was gorgeous. The trees are a rich green, and the honeysuckles smell divine.

The Haddon Township Library, on the other hand, wasn't that busy. There were some people on the computers, but otherwise, not much going on. I was able to shelve all of the DVDs, for kids and adults, with no problems. Took nothing out for myself; I have other things I want to get done this week.

I saw something rather unexpected when headed down the service road past the back of the Library - a backhoe demolishing Crystal Lake Diner. Or what was left of it. I always thought the Crystal Lake Diner was very popular. What happened? A stop at WaWa for a turkey hoagie and skim milk and a glance at today's Courier-Post gave me my answer. I heard fire engines around 11 last night and thought nothing of it - I assumed it was something in Camden. It wasn't in Camden. It was the Crystal Lake Diner burning down. Someone has really got to start fireproofing diners. The Newton Diner on the White Horse Pike in Oaklyn burned down four years ago; Mom and Dad's favorite diner in Rio Grande, the Four Seasons, went up in flames earlier this year.

When I got home, I ate my hoagie, did some things online, and watched the Marx Brothers movie Monkey Business. The first Marx movie written directly for the screen takes them to sea in pickled herring barrels. While they wreck havoc on board and drive the crew crazy, Zeppo falls for the lovely daughter of a gangster (Ruth Hall) and Groucho romances the moll of the gangster's rival (Thelma Todd). After the ship gets in, the Marxes become bodyguards to both groups and find themselves having to rescue Zeppo's girl when she's kidnapped by her father's rival.

Spent the next couple of hours cleaning and doing chores. I stripped the sheets and comforter off the bed; put on the lighter summer sheets and thinner quilt. I reorganized the plastic milk crate shelves in the back of the back storage room and pulled out two old fans to take down to the trash tomorrow. I vacuumed as well as I could. I'll probably do it again next Monday or Tuesday before Lauren comes.

After I finished with the vacuum, I went right in the bath. I soooo needed that. By that point, it had gotten darker, windier, and much more humid. There was a little rain around the time I vacuumed, but I haven't seen any since. I just soaked and enjoyed the jazz music on my CD player.

Put on the MGM musical Summer Holiday as I made pasta with chicken meatballs and sauteed zucchini and leeks for dinner. This sweet coming-of-age tale is a musicalization of Eugene O'Neil's only comedy, Ah Wilderness! Teenager Richard Miller (Mickey Rooney) has some high-handed ideas about life and love that are annoying his father Nat (Walter Huston) and scaring his girlfriend Muriel (Gloria DeHaviland). Meanwhile, his uncle Sid (Frank Morgan) is trying to court spinster Lilly (Agnes Moorehead), but only if he can get a decent job and quit drinking. Richard's ideals finally land him in a bar with a sexy blond chorus girl (Marilyn Maxwell) and learns that small town life might not be so bad, and sometimes, it is better to take things slow.

I really like this Technicolor take on teenage life at the turn of the last century. It was one of Rouben Mamoulien's last musicals, and you do get a lot of his famous use of rhyming dialogue and dialogue flowing from the music to the words and back again. This isn't a typical musical, even less so after MGM cut a lot of big musical numbers in the editing room. Rooney rabidly overacts (and was too old for the role by his own admission); the supporting cast is better, especially Huston as the supportive dad and Morgan as the drunk uncle. It's fun find at the Warner Archives if you're a fan of the cast or of other musicals set during this time period like Meet Me In St. Louis or On Moonlight Bay

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