Tag: Audrey Hepburn

Group Writing: Ab-so-bloomin-lutely Loverly

 

Audrey Kathleen Ruston was born 90 years ago, on May 4, 1929 in Brussels, Belgium, the daughter of a member of minor Dutch nobility and a peripatetic English financier father who later changed his name to the double-barrelled “Hepburn-Ruston” to show his connection (probably imagined) to one of the husbands of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Her childhood (ably, and very readably, documented in the new book Dutch Girl), was spent bouncing around the world and trying to find her feet wherever she landed. A withdrawn and reserved child, she was uncomfortable around others, always felt awkward and out of place, and never thought she was “good enough” to please her parents. She eventually found her passion in dance, committing herself to ballet while in school in England, and then continuing with her studies when her mother moved back to Holland with her, to keep her “safe” after the outbreak of German/British hostilities. Of course, she wasn’t safe in Holland either, once the Germans began their occupation, and she suffered the horror of her beloved Uncle Otto, together with a cousin, being rounded up and shot for nothing at all, other than as an example to others of what the Nazis could do if they felt like it. Thus it always is with tyrants.

But as long as she could dance, the young “Edda van Heemstra,” (having taken her mother’s maiden name again for “safety” reasons) had a refuge and could find security and happiness inside herself and a sense of “belonging” with others. It was a talent she loved to share, and which she used to entertain members of the community and the Dutch Resistance during the war, through tough times of privation in which she, family members, and many millions of their countrymen, were reduced to grinding up Holland’s famous tulip bulbs to make some version of flour to cook with and eat, while all of Holland’s resources were taken to feed the Nazi war machine. The gastric and intestinal disturbances that started during the war were to plague Audrey all her life, and by some accounts, she was never completely well again.

The Casablanca Effect and Its Obverse

 

I suppose I need to start by explaining what I mean by “the Casablanca Effect”. It’s not my idea or term. A decade or so ago, I read an article by an author whose name I can’t recall who described what he termed “the Casablanca Effect” referencing the classic 1942 movie. He described how both he and his brother (separately) had heard and read for years how great the movie Casablanca was, and when he and his brother (separately) eventually saw the movie, it more than lived up to expectations. When they became aware of each other’s experience they gave it the Casablanca Effect moniker, something which comes highly recommended (a movie, a book, a restaurant, a location, anything really) and lives up to expectations.

Some years earlier, I’d had a similar experience (just 180 degrees out of phase) with a sibling – my sister. One year at Thanksgiving we decided to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Neither of us had ever seen the movie, but we’d both heard only good things about it. It had been nominated for several Academy Awards and had won a couple, its theme song was a well-deserved staple, film critics then and now all seemed to have nothing but good things to say about it, it was directed by Blake Edwards of Pink Panther fame, and it starred Audrey Hepburn. What could go wrong? However, when we watched the movie we both had the same thought: what a letdown! This movie not only doesn’t live up to the hype, it’s really just kind of a bad picture. The highlight of the movie is probably the opening sequence.

Member Post

 

I love words. You might say that I am “zealous” about words. All sorts of words, it matters not how long or short, or from whence they come. Nor how exalted or rude their origins. I’m as fond of the monosyllabic, four-letter words for body parts, bodily functions, and natural activities, that came into English […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Strength: Women Who Answered When Duty Called

 

Young, adventurous and a self-admitted disaster in the kitchen, Julia Child had big plans. Her love of life and breaking boundaries led her into the world of intelligence. Taking up the mantle of spy, she ventured to exotic locations like Sri Lanka and China. While working as a research assistant for “the” William Donovan, her “first recipe” was a shark repellent she developed for the OSS, an agency later renamed the CIA.

She met her husband, also an OSS agent, and moved to France, while falling in love with the cuisine. Julia attended the Cordon Bleu cooking school for six months and studied privately with master chef Max Bugnard. Julia became convinced that French cooking could be simplified for the masses and The Art of French Cooking was born. Julia Child, an American woman who broke the boundaries of the enemy, as well as complicated French cooking through strength of spirit, patriotism and passion for life. Bon Appetit! 


German-born Marlene Dietrich was a sultry, sexy screen siren, rising in Hollywood as a fiery force to be reckoned with. As a successful woman in a male-dominated industry, dodging casting couch cads and red-carpet glitz, Marlene had a larger purpose. Hitler’s ugly war machine was tearing apart her beloved homeland. She refused lucrative contracts offered in Germany and used her contacts, growing wealth and property to help Jews escape Europe to America.

Member Post

 

Have you seen my new post? Some say these are the end times, that a too-clever by half–I mean, half-educated–couple of married kids are setting off the orange apocalypse. These people are right. My great fear is that an epidemic of break-ups will ensue that will cripple America for a generation & American politics for much, much […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post

 

Yesterday’s old comedy was Roman holiday. I’ve planned old comedies, starting with The Lady Eve, for evening viewings this week, to amuse the young miss, who looks upon Audrey Hepburn with the excitement aroused by an especially lovely pet & the melancholy bestowed on old idols. &, too, she enjoyed looking for & telling me about places […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.