No April rain,
No flowers bloom,
No wedding Saturday within the month of June,
But what it is, is something true
Made up of these three words that I must say to you:
I just called to say I love you.
My dear readers,
If I may, I will continue with the Nora Ephron tangent, and may I present her 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail,” again with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? Let me point out that there are many reasons to love this movie, in my most business-like fashion (reasons numbered, no less):
1. Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly is the owner of one of the most delightful children’s bookstores that I have ever seen, and it’s charmingly named “The Shop Around the Corner.”*
2. Kathleen reads aloud Boy by Roald Dahl and talks about Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series!
3. This film seems to be a love letter to New York City and particularly the Westside.
4. I love the brownstone buildings, the small businesses, and the outdoor markets and festivals used as backdrops.
5. I enjoy that the movie takes place over the course of almost an entire year and includes the seasons and different special holidays.
6. Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” is part of the soundtrack!
7. Kathleen and Tom Hank’s Joe Fox exchange heartfelt e-mails (though they actually detest each other in real life), and the movie seems to capture the good feelings that people felt when they first started using the Internet…
As part of my job as a librarian, I teach computer classes to beginners, and it’s something that I enjoy doing very much. I think that it’s very important to tell my students that the computer isn’t all that difficult to learn and that it’s very unlikely that they will break it when they are using it!
And it’s interesting that even with all of the changes and improvements of technology, life actually hasn’t changed so much. For instance, most of the time of my computer classes is spent showing people how to use the computer to connect with family and friends: writing a letter (using Microsoft Word), composing a message (in Gmail), and sharing pictures (via e-mail attachments).
But, “You’ve Got Mail" makes me think of how I used to envision my grown-up life when I was small. Again, please allow me to count the ways:
1. The radio. I have to admit that my earliest memories of the radio feature Stevie Wonder and, in particular, his very sentimental song “I Just Called To Say I Love You.” (This song almost better suits the movie, because of its mentions of seasons and holidays—and none are so important as the simple gesture of personal connection.) My mother says that she remembers my older sister and me playing with our toy telephone and singing that song into it. I thought that when I grew-up all radio would be as wonderful as that Stevie Wonder song!
2. Books. I think that I always knew that books were in my future. Growing-up there was a period of time when I read a lot of books that took place before even my grandparents’ time, at the turn of the century. Examples are Roald Dahl’s and Maud Hart Lovelace’s books, but even better, I liked stories that also happened in New York. Autumn enjoyed these, too, and titles include A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and the All-of-a-Kind Family series by Sidney Taylor. They are coming-of-age stories or just good-natured adventures in childhood.
3. Holidays. When I was a child, I thought that life was about preparing for, celebrating holidays! (I still think that it should be.)
4. Letters. I was a letter-writer, and in fact the Pride and Prejudice book that my sister holds (a reference to “You’ve Got Mail” of course) was a birthday gift from my French pen friend Aude. Despite that I write and get a lot of e-mails these days, I still miss the days of USPS and so I was excited to discover this Letter Writing Club that meets once a month to write letters to loved ones.
5. Shopping and pastels. This is perhaps the most embarrassing of my admissions, but I once thought that when I grew-up I would spend most of my time shopping for (birthday?) presents at gift shops and wearing pastel-colored clothing. Why pastels? I have no idea… I am kind of glad that this didn’t turn out, because pastels mostly look less-than-flattering on me! I much prefer this Kathleen Kelly-inspired light blouse and dark jumper ensemble that Autumn wears—it’s anyway better for doing business.
Until next time…
*You may or may not already know that “You’ve Got Mail” is a re-make of a film from the 1940s, “The Shop Around the Corner,” nicely starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.
P.S. “I-just-called-to-say-I-love-you” phone calls are still lovely.