My Mom’s Crush by Conlee Ricketts
My mom loved Clark Gable. I knew this growing up because it was a running joke between my mom and dad. I never asked her about it but I should have. My mom died when I was 32 and she was 59. This was five years before I even had a clue that I would become a mom. Now that I am a mother there are a zillion questions I wish that I had asked her—not so much about parenting but more about what made her tick. Things like why did she love Clark Gable? When did it start? I think about these types of questions now because of the conversations I have with my own daughter.
I think it’s hilarious when the shows my daughter watches on Disney or Nickelodeon have an entire episode that mirrors The Breakfast Club, or has phrases from Planet of The Apes, Star Wars, or Ghostbusters. I sit next to her chuckling and my daughter asks me why it’s funny. I tell her that I plan on holding her hostage some weekend when she reaches sixteen or seventeen, pop mountains of popcorn, and have a movie marathon. I am going to make her watch movies that defined portions of my life before she knew me. She will need to sit through The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, maybe even Risky Business. She has to watch Grease so I can show her what I thought my brother’s best friend looked like. I was able to get her to watch Hello Dolly with me, but that was because she loves the movie WALL-E, but she has yet to make it through Mame or On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. I also want her to see All That Jazz, Nuts, and The Big Chill. This list could go on forever. I love movies and theater. These movies explain my high school experience, my love for choreography and Community Theater, and my affection for Lucille Ball and Barbra Streisand.
It makes me wonder about my Mom’s movies. I knew she loved Clark Gable, but when exactly did she fall in love with him? Which movie did she find him? I am pretty sure she fell in love with Sidney Poitier because of To Sir, With Love, but I don’t know for sure. Contrary to what my daughter thinks Ironman was not the movie where I fell in love with Robert Downey Jr. It happened years and years before during a pajama day spent alone with HBO. It was his performance in a movie called Less Than Zero that hit me hard. I fell in love with his ability to create that character so well that I remember nothing else about that movie after all these years except his acting and how I reacted to it. I think I will tell my daughter about that some day.
What about my mom? She couldn’t sit me down back in the day with a stack of DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s to give me her history; her life “in movies” so to speak. So I make it up. I think she would have been influenced by Breakfast at Tiffany’s, East of Eden, On The Waterfront, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. It makes me smile that I can share these movies with my daughter as well, this way I can hopefully give my daughter a peek into her grandmother’s history as well.
Tags: being an older mother, Clark Gable, great conversations with kids, Hollywood icons, mothers and daughters, Movies from the 50's, Movies from the 80's, older mother, single parenting, talking with daughters