Movies @ Christmas And New Year

We have had a long and rich history of attending movies between Christmas and New Year.  The habit began in the latter 80’s and continues to this day.  This was my plan to continue the joy of the Christmas Season throughout the, over week long vacation that I enjoyed before Christmas and thru New Year’s Day.  

When I began working at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale I was amazed at the paid holidays that occurred; soon after I started on October 10, 1978.  In November we were the recipients of two days, paid holiday, for Thanksgiving.  Then, in December we received two days holiday for Christmas and two more for New Years.  I could not believe my good fortune!  The jobs that I had, prior to SIUC, which were; factory worker, furniture store attendant, World Book Encyclopedia Salesman, building a church, foreman of a contract cleaning service, and carpet installer, had no mention of paid sick leave or vacation or holidays.  This was a totally foreign subject to me.  

There were 3 or 4 days that we, faithful few, went back to work between Christmas and New Year…but there was almost no one on campus.  SIUC Interim President, Hiram Lesar,  made the wise decision to close the campus, and allow the faculty and staff to take their accrued vacation for the days that fell between the paid holidays.  This was during the Carter Presidency and the saving of fuel by turning down your home and office thermostats was emphasized by Jimmy.  He, even, had television commercials, that shown him wearing a heavy cardigan as he sat in the, chilly, White House.  

SIUC President, Albert Somit, made the bold move to allow the Campus to be on holiday from Christmas, or before, and thru New Year’s Day!  We loved him for it!

So, Steve and Faye, and MJ and I determined that we would see some movies during our glorious time off.  I remember our setting out, one cold evening, to see 3 separate movies.  Now this requires some dedication and fortitude.  I recall that we watched 2 movies at the University Place Theatre, then owned by Keratoses,  and the 3rd of the evening we took in from seats in the balcony theatre at the Varsity.  

Now, the attendance of these movies with our dear friends, Steve and Faye, was a vey big deal to me.  We had all come up to together and been poor as church-mice…and subsequently realized the blessing of employment at Southern Illinois University and the resulting effect of a middle class life style and the possession of some disposable income….In order to attend some holiday movies!

In the early 90’s we were going to see the movie, Godfather III, and I had a splitting headache!  Have you ever had such a headache that you were in severe pain and sick to your stomach…at the same time?  Faye gave me the most wonderful pain pill…that took all of my pain away….Almost instantaneously….and put me in the Holiday Spirit!  Godfather III, is still my favorite of the Godfather Trilogy.  

It seems as if it were only yesterday when Al Pacino walked out of the movie screen to come and sit next to me in the darkened theatre.  He told me, ‘I knew it was you, Jay!’, but thankfully there was no kiss of death.  As Al walked back into the screen and the movie…I considered that this was a very special flick…indeed!

photo of brown and white boston terrier puppy sitting on grass
Photo by Melissa Jansen van Rensburg on

Faye and Steve came to our, little, house around Christmas, each year…and we visited their house on New Year’s Eve.  We had two Boston Terrier pups  Their names were, Bruiser and Abigail.  We had left them, unattended, and free roaming in our four room house.  This was during our early experiences with dogs, which has now stretched to 30 years, and when we took a break from our New Years Eve reveling at the LaBrier’s, we drove over to our abode, which was just on the next street in Elkville, Illinois…and we found an abundance of torn up magazines and toilet paper and doggie droppings…too numerous to mention!  

So, we saw, Uncut Gems, today.  Adam Sandler is a wonderful dramatic actor.  The movie was rated with four stars…and it deserves them all.  

I reflect on how much things have changed…and yet how much they remain the same.




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