New activity – Ruth PAINE House
Barbara – Most people I know can tell you where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated and have heard and seen a lot about Lee Harvey Oswald and all the theories regarding this horrible event. However, I had not heard of Ruth Paine nor did I know much about Oswald’s wife, Marina. So a visit to the Ruth Paine home was very educational. Ruth was separated when she met Lee and Marina and the two women took to each other immediately. When Lee thought Marina should return to Russia, Ruth offered to have her and her child stay at her home while Lee looked for work and the ladies became fast friends. I was so surprised to hear that Ruth, who is still alive but lives in California, still receives hate mail. That kind of boggled my mind, even that she would get any hate mail in the first place. The docent told me that Marina remarried, and she doesn’t give out her address, which makes sense.
The house is very modest. You can see it only by appointment as it wouldn’t be fair to the people in the neighborhood to have a lot of people coming in and out. They have recreated it to look just as it did in the 60s and there is still one original piece of furniture still in the living room. Stepping into the house is like going back in time. All in all a worthwhile morning.
Movie Theme – PERFECTIONIST, PSYCOPATH
Laura: This month I chose the move “Dismissed.” This 2017 film is billed as a horror thriller so I thought it would be fitting to watch given it’s Halloween month, plus it deals with the theme of being a perfectionist and a psychopath. The lead actor, Dylan Sprouse, was terrific and very believable as the seemingly charming, brilliant student who demanded perfection (straight As or else!) and who gradually becomes more and more creepy and evil. However, although the roughly 90 minutes weren’t a complete waste of time, I felt it shortchanged the viewer. While it delivered tension and some scary moments, it could have had less clichés and explored more deeply some of the issues it raises: strong student/weak teacher, the problems of being a perfectionist, manipulation among friends to name a few. If any of you are familiar with the website Decider and its “Stream It or Skip It,” the latter gets my vote.
New Author – Camille PAGAN
Laura: Just as important as being in the right frame of mind for a book is being at the right stage of life. Camille Pagan’s novel, I’m Fine and Neither Are You, examines truths and boundaries in a young mother’s marriage and friendships. It’s full of insights and thought provoking ideas and I imagine it would be a very satisfying and fulfilling read to someone who was in similar circumstances as the main character. I have long passed this stage of life and so although I recognized this book’s value, it didn’t move me as much as I would have expected…kind of “been there, done that” situation.
Media Travel – PERU, PRAGUE AND PHUKET
Laura: One country and two cities might seem ambitious but this armchair traveler loves to leave the confines of my town and travel abroad. First I watched the film “Peru: Tesoro escondido”. It showcased the natural riches of Peru and painted a beautiful picture of the diverse landscapes of this amazing country. Unfortunately, it made me sad since I realized I would most likely never get to travel there. Then I switched to a visit to Prague via Rick Steves’ Europe, Season 8. Prague is a beautiful city but it was very reminiscent of other European cities and without actually being there to experience the sights and smells first-hand, it was a disappointing viewing. And then came Phuket, a city in Thailand. I discovered a delightful series streaming on Netflix: Jack Whitehall: Travels with my Father. Jack is an English actor, comedian and writer and his father Michael is a television producer and agent. Their travel documentary/road trip comedy series is a fun and engaging way to see different places and laugh/squirm/snicker at some of the silly and awkward situations they encounter. I thoroughly enjoyed my half hour in Phuket and learned about local food, beaches, customs and sports. I plan to watch all five seasons of this series but, since the order doesn’t matter, I most likely will choose my episodes as they fit in the “ABC” life.