Last week Josie and I did something we would have never dared do back in our card-carrying super-fundie bread-making frumper-wearing days. We went into that darkened den of iniquity…*cue the music* dumm-dumm-dummmmm… The Movie Theater.
Back when we both were at PCCF, movies were frowned upon except things like “Ben Hur” or “Veggie Tales” or that Mel Gibson’s Jesus Chainsaw Massacre. Most were branded purposely anti-Christian. We still sometimes slunk off to see things like “March of the Penguins” or “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” hoping that no one in leadership from PCCF church was lurking about the town’s only movie theater in the downtown of our small city.
We went to see “The Help”. We’d been talking about it for weeks. Josie spent a large dose of time as a military brat living in Georgia in the early sixties and the promos for the movie struck a sweet nostalgic chord in her. I wanted to see it because the way the lives of the white women lived in the book was my childhood. I grew up in a very well to do family in South Louisiana. We had a cook, a housekeeper, a nanny, gardener and my father had a driver. All were African Americans.
The first real unconditional love I experienced was from my nanny, just like most of the white characters in “The Help.” My mother was busy with her ladies that liquid lunch friends and when she was home she would spend literal days locked in her boudoir drinking whiskey, reading romance novels and eating bon bons. We had very little time together and almost no bond. The people that raised me, parented me and loved me until I was 13 were our servants and my father. So I really wanted to see this movie from the side of those that raised others children and did the real work of parenthood in those times and that strata of society.
Josie and I sat in the middle of the mostly deserted theater and giggled, whispered, cried and laughed over this film. Behind us we could hear our own age African American counterparts doing the same thing. After the movie Josie and I were standing in the parking lot as the other duo of ladies emerged from the building and walked up to us. We all started talking about those times, even if we were all small children back in the early sixties. We laughed, we cried, we shared our hopes for the future and for history to not be forgotten. An hour later we exchanged hugs and phone numbers after deciding we were going to start having lunch together a couple times a month.
That would have never happened if either Josie or I were still at PCCF because both of us would have been mentally spouting scriptures about being ‘unequally yoked’ knowing that spontaneous friendship with others not affiliated with PCCF would be out of the question.