If you like old movies, you’ve probably already seen “Mrs. Miniver,” a 1942 British war movie which won six Academy Awards, including best picture. In 2006 the movie ranked #40 on a list of most inspirational films. Having heard my parents refer to it numerous times, I finally saw it at Dartmouth about 16 years ago, and I’ve just finished watching it again, thanks to Netflix . If you’ve never seen it, I suggest you put it on your list.
I know that my parents saw the movie when it first came out and that it made a huge impression on them. I’ve thought a lot about what it must have been like for them to see that movie at that time. The clothing and hairstyles were theirs as were the concerns and fears. They were living in a world of rationing, black- out curtains, and air raids . The impassioned statement by the minister in the movie that this was the people’s war must have been chilling. My parents listened to the radio and heard “This is Edward R. Murrow reporting from London.” Not having TV, it would be in the movies, as well as the newsreels, that they would see and hear the destruction. What would happen next? No one knew.
Soon after seeing the movie, my father brought home a stray dog and named her Mrs. Miniver, for no reason other than his fascination with the movie. Mrs. Miniver, a big black friendly mutt, would run up to me, a small four-year- old, put her paws on my shoulders and knock me onto the linoleum-covered floor. Somehow it often happened that I landed on a metal strip that ran down the center of the kitchen floor. Of course I’d cry. After this had happened a number of times, my father realized he was not going to break her of that habit, and so he took her back to the North End where he had rescued her from the streets. Mrs. Miniver was the first in a series of dog disasters in my life, but those are stories for other days.
© Dorothy C. Judd
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