Have I ever mentioned that I am addicted to Hallmark Christmas movies? It is similar to the way in which I was obsessed with my mom's Harlequin romance novels when I was little. There is a similarity in the narratives. There is almost always a happy ending. And, Hallmark movies always make me cry. Especially the ones with "special" people or dogs.
When I was a little girl, I remember wanting a happy ending to my life. I would daydream about what my life would be like when I escaped the Inland Empire to the big city. Even as a young girl, I was restless. I wanted more than what I saw in my one horse town.
The Ontario of the 1970s was pretty barren. There was a Pizza Hut restaurant, a McDonald's and a Yum Yum Donuts along with a string of other fast food options that no longer exist like Pup N Taco and Pioneer Chicken. I wanted to get away from all that to Hollywood. Hollywood was magical to me because it was the place movies were made.
As a young girl, movies were my escape (along with books). My dad would take us to the drive-in and we were not allowed to speak once the movie started. I can still picture my father in his Wrangler Jeans and blue pocketed cowboy shirt, his Kent cigarettes in the front pocket. He would take us to the drive-in on Saturday nights because my mom had to waitress until late in the evening.
I have written about that drive-in many times. The one located in Montclair on Holt and Central. I can't help myself from writing about it. For me, it is pure nostalgia and writing about it it brings back this feeling that I can't quite capture in words. It is like smelling my dad's homemade popcorn and hearing his voice.
For me, those were the best of times. Watching a movie and losing myself in it despite the static filled speakers and the plethora of car antennas sticking up into the air. None of that mattered. It was magical. I saw most of the famous movies from the seventies at that drive- in. The Superman movies, Star Trek, Star Wars and my favorite, The Bad News Bears with Walter Matthau. My dad also loved the Herbie the Love Bug movies and anything with Richard Pryor.
I think that is why I love Hallmark movies so much. They are the purest form of escapism. And they make me happy. Isn't that the hallmark of a good book or movie? That it gives you joy.
So call me a sentimentalist. A sappy mess. Or even a lover of cheesy movies. I don't care. I'm just watching TV. And smiling.