Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Backstory: July 22 PM

Jim's letter makes me quite nostalgic, for times I never lived in. Perhaps that is why they seem so romantic...

Imagine, a boy waiting for a girl he loves to visit him from 2,000 miles away... a night spent listening to Glenn Miller and his orchestra (live, no less), dreaming of her coming out on the Santa Fe railroad. Only to find out it is true, and about to happen! What a dreamy yet melancholy story, when you break down the elements.

First, Glenn Miller's orchestra playing in Chicago. My grandfather LOVED swing and jazz. Glenn Miller's name was something I was familiar with at an early age, although it wasn't until writing this post that I knew the full story of his lie. More than his name, I know his song "In The Mood" ( by the first three notes of the opening refrain - you probably do too.  I just read that he died a short 4 years after Jim's letter, going down in a plane in the English Channel en route to entertain Allied Troops. Shocking! His career was so short, and his death so tragic. All this sadness associated with a song that captures the very spirit and, well, mood of the 1940's. I will never be able to listen to the song again the same way again. (By the way, if you do take a minute to check out his music at the link above, also listen to "When you Wish Upon a Star". You'll recognize that one, too, if you grew up with Disney as I did.)

Accompanying Glenn Miller was a showing of the less-than-memorable 1940's film "Untamed". Here's the plot summary from IMDb:

Dr. Bill Crawford, on a hunting trip to Canada, is attacked by a bear and his guide, Joe Easter, saves his life and takes the badly-mauled Crawford to his cabin home, where he lives with his beautiful young wife, Alverna. Leaning Bill there to recover, Joe goes on a prolonged hunting trip and Bill and Alverna fall in love. The local doctor, Billar, dies during an operation which Bill completes and then decides to remain in Lost Lake and continue his practice there...close to Alverna. The lovers decide that, in fairness to Joe, Bill must return to his former city. But an epidemic of streptococcus breaks out in the Lost Lake village. Bill, untrained in the ways of the primeval woods, sets out in a raging blizzard, in search of the messenger who had been sent to the nearest town for a special serum needed to break the epidemic. Fearing for his life, Alverna follows him and they find the messenger dead in his automobile, with the serum by his side. Exhausted they stagger into a deserted cabin and drowse into unconsciousness. Meanwhile, Joe, back from his hunting trip, is persuaded by the village gossips that his wife has run off with Bill. He starts after them, in his dog-sled, with murder in his heart. Written by Les Adams {}

What's with these names? My guess is that is why the movie doesn't really stand out from the other 4 "Untamed" movies made before 1960. Who really could say "Alverna" in a fit of passion, and not be thinking of their great aunt?

Finally, let's discuss longing. True longing. We think we know longing today, but we really don't. Today, longing is something along the lines of wanting the newest Lady Gaga album, but being stymied by an overburdened server. You have to wait 24 more hours than planned to get the music. Yes, it sucks. No, it's not like waiting forever.

No, true longing is wanting to see someone who is heading out to visit you - ON THE TRAIN. 3 weeks. First, Margie had to finish school. Then, she had to get to Chicago in the most economical fashion - via the Santa Fe Railroad.  The El Capitan was the all coach, streamlined train that offered "low-cost passage with high-speed convenience."Regular coach fare in 1938 was $44.50. I don't know how long it took (we'll chat with Margie for our next post to get first hand commentary), but I do know there were no beds, and it took more than 24 hours. (The picture below comes straight from wikipedia here:

Ah, three weeks to wait and see if all these feelings are true and real. How will we pass the time? Can we speed it up, only to slow it down once Margie arrives???

Stay tuned -



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