Hard to Believe I’m Saying This, But See KIT KITTREDGE!

Susie and I had made a tentative movie date for today after I ended the work day at 4, but it was still up in the air as to what we were going to see.  I was trying to steer her toward Ghostbusters, but getting there on the bus was a logistical nightmare.  Steph had the home pages of several Columbus theatres on her screen this morning and we were E-mailing suggestions back and forth between home and work.  She finally suggested Kit Kittredge, a movie based on the American Girls line of dolls and the books that come with them.  I was lukewarm toward the idea, since the price of the American Girl dolls we’ve bought Susie borders on the astronomical, and I didn’t want to contribute to their delinquency.

There seemed to be no other kids’ movie available within our time schedule and availability to public transportation, so I went with Susie to the AMC Lennox 24, via Subway for an early dinner.  (Subway was my base camp on W. McMillan Street in Cincinnati during my time in Clifton, so I always gravitate toward their restaurants.)

I perked up when I saw that the heroine of Kit Kittredge lives in Cincinnati during the Depression (1934, to be exact), and her prized possessions are her typewriter, her notepad, and her pencil.  She dreams of becoming a reporter, and she hangs photographs of Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart in her treehouse.  She constantly tugs at the leg of the editor of the main daily newspapers until he finally prints one of her stories at $.01 per word.

The shots of Cincinnati in that era were quite good, and the street references were authentic.  I was wondering if there would be any reference to Robert Lowry, the Cincinnati-born novelist I befriended during the late 1980s until his death in 1994.  He had been in high school in 1934, and publishing stories and drawings in The Cincinnati Times-Star.  He would attend the University of Cincinnati for a single year (1937) and start The Little Man, its first literary newspaper.  He would drop out when U.C. stopped funding the magazine, and he would buy a printing press and several fonts of type and establish Little Man Press in the basement of his parents’ house.

I wasn’t surprised there was no Lowry reference, and I would have been appalled if there had been.  Although he had some modest success with his novels after World War II, his career crashed and burned as his mental health deteriorated.  Long story short, when I met him on a Main St. bench in the fall of ’90, all of his books were out of print, he had four divorces behind him, three grown children he had not seen since they were toddlers, and was living in a flophouse, the Fort Washington Hotel, drinking his Social Security checks in the Bay Horse Cafe.

The irony is that the movie deals with Kit’s family’s reversal of economic fortune in 1934.  Her dad loses his car dealership and leaves for Chicago in search of work, while her mother has to take in boarders and sell eggs.  Not uncommon in those days, but their 21st-century counterparts couldn’t afford American Girl dolls without giving up groceries for nearly a month.  There were also scenes where people would come home and find FORECLOSURE! signs on their front lawn and workers carrying their belongings to curbside.  That scene is scarily relevant these days, which means the timing of this movie’s release was ominously precise.  (And everybody wonders why we’re content to rent, and have no plans to buy a house or condo!  Someone at work who just obtain a Realtor’s license was aggressively trying to get me to buy a condo.  He told me I needed a condo, and I looked at him and said, 100% deadpan, “I don’t need condos–I’ve had a vasectomy.”)

On a less-than-lighter note, Steph’s friend and knitting pal Joanna will be driving us to Cleveland on Monday afternoon.  The laptop is coming along, and I’m sure the Cleveland Clinic will have Wi-Fi, so I will keep all of you in Blogland abreast on what is happening with Steph.  Susie is going to the Ohio Renaissance Festival in Harveysburg with Pat, Tanya, and the kids during the weekend, so she’ll have some much needed diversion from all the tension that mounts as the date of the surgery approaches.  (Steph will be going under the knife on the 1st of August, but the Clinic wants her there sooner to run different diagnostics and pre-op tests, etc.  After the cardiac catheterization experience at Riverside last spring, we can only wonder what this safari will have in store!)

Steph came home from knitting while I was typing this, so I’ll click the Post to aspergerspoet button below, and not keep this from the world any longer.

I can’t believe I’m doing this, but go on to http://www.kitkittredge.com to learn more about the movie.  I will buy it when it comes out on DVD!

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