Monday, December 22, 2014

A Child's Christmas in Wales movie

The movie A Child’s Christmas in Wales takes on a whole new meaning for me now that I am a grandmother. We first watched it with our Margaret and Michael when they were very young. I identified with the mother, and now suddenly I see the grandfather, played wonderfully by Denholm Elliot, as my contemporary. When did I change from a mother in her thirties/forties to a grandmother in her sixties? It doesn’t seem real in a way because I see this movie every single year, and it doesn’t change at all. 

I took special notice of a particular part of the movie. Geraint has been telling his grandson about Christmas when he was a boy. His daughter, the boy’s mother says, “thanks, dad, for keeping an eye on him," and he responds, “it’s no trouble, it’s a pleasure. He sits there good as gold while I ramble on. He seems interested, too.”  

This may be the last great gift of a lifetime - the grandchild (or great grandchild) who hangs on your every word. The way Campbell Walker and Hazel Nina look at me sometimes, I begin to feel like the genius of the world when I’m just telling them about say, the KitchenAid mixer, or remote controls, or Jack Johnson. 

The first year I began writing the blog I posted this as a quote du jour:

Monday, December 25, 2006

Looking through my bedroom window, out into
the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow,
I could see the lights in the windows
of all the other houses on our hill and hear
the music rising from them up the long, steadily
falling night. I turned the gas down, I got
into bed. I said some words to the close and
holy darkness, and then I slept.

After the grandfather says these words to the boy, he looks down and his grandson is asleep. And then the most tender look comes upon his face as he kisses the boy goodnight, and the boy gently touches his face. I’ve always loved this scene, but now. Oh, I know the feeling behind that look. The love, the amazing, amazing love for a grandchild is in his eyes. I know now. I thank God I lived to experience this. 

The story is one of continuity. The grandfather is living with his daughter, her husband, and their son in the very house he grew up in. He gives the boy a snow globe he was given when young. The boy sleeps in the same room his grandfather slept in. Since my children’s children have been born, they speak often of their childhoods. They want Hazel Nina and Campbell Walker to experience what they did. Margaret in fact showed Hazel A Child’s Christmas in Wales as her first movie. At one point the boy says your Christmas as a boy is just like my Christmas, and we see that yes, in many ways it is. 

I’ve actually bought a second copy of the movie just in case something happens to mine. If you don’t own it, you may see it on YouTube here.

To me it is the essence of Christmas and family and indeed, life itself. 

16 comments:

  1. We read A Child's Christmas in Wales every Christmas and have since our daughters were little. Now, we pass it around, each taking his or her turn, and the grandchildren can all take part now, too. My favorite version was shown on PBS--I can't remember who narrated, but the National Theater of the Deaf performed it, sometime in the 1980's. I gave each of our daughters their own copy several years ago, but we still have our own copy. It is the essence of our Christmas, too, so I can understand your renewed attachment with the new grandchildren!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful tradition. If you haven't seen this version, I think you'll like it.

      Delete
  2. Such a touching, and personally familiar, post, Nan, as I feel the same things as a grandmother and find myself anxious to share all that will one day be precious to my Kezzie and Ezra. I really must see this again - and then I must share it with them. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are at a good age to begin watching. Such a perfect movie.

      Delete
  3. I didn't know of this movie (or the book that was its inspiration?) until now, but it sounds like something I'd greatly enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dylan Thomas wrote the poem which the movie is based on. There are lovely scenes in Wales, and such a feeling of older days.

      Delete
  4. Oh Nan! I love this so much. And I do mean your post not the movie. And even though my grandchildren are grown up and one is the mother of her own two, I do so know exactly what you mean. And I am so very happy that our daughter is now getting to experience this amazing time of life. Merry Christmas to all of you. Oh, reading what I just wrote, we do love this movie too... I can't go back and fix what I wrote, because I'm on my IPad and it is too hard to do.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's a brilliant little production. I taped it a millions years ago, and watch it every year.

    And I have the book illustrated by Edward Ardizzone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy to meet a fellow fan! I think it is worth it to buy the dvd. It looks better than the old vhs.

      Delete
  6. Yes, Nan! It is the most wonderful experience in the world, the years when a grandchild looks at you in a way that melts your heart and sends such joy to your life, and you think of all you want to do with him or her, when life takes on new meaning.

    And then the reward of seeing your children as parents.

    I don't know what happened between my thirties and sixties either, but it's so sweet!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours,
    Dewena

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is the most amazing thing. I feel like I'm in a special club now - the grandparents' club. It's just how I felt when my kids were born, like I was in on a big secret I had never known before.

      Delete
  7. I had no idea there was a movie. I have to see if I can interlibrary loan it through our library system. It is such a stunning piece of literature, I would love to see the film. How wonderful to be a grandparent, especially magical this time of year.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just from that one paragraph I sought out the entire story - and what a wonderful story it turned out to be! I'll read this again and again - and hopefully to the grandchildren who I'll one day meet. Thank you Nan! - J.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So happy to see you! It is a wonderful story, and this movie brings it to life so beautifully. The village, the sea, the houses - oh, it is just perfect.

      Delete

I am really going to try and respond to your comments as soon as they come in! Please do come back if you've asked a question.
Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.