Next to Fanny & Alexander and Brazil, A Christmas Memory (Perry 1956) is my favorite holiday film. Narrated by Truman Capote and starring Geraldine Page, A Christmas Memory proposes seasonal rituals I’d like to reenact: paper kite construction, Christmas tree salvage, serving nips of Whiskey to minors and mass fruit cake production (funded through the staging of a “fun and freak show”).
Our family VHS copy of A Christmas Memory has warped and color shifted to blue. However, I locate a copy on YouTube (in 6 segments!). Watch it before it disappears from view.
“Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “it’s fruitcake weather!”
Together, we guide our buggy, a dilapidated baby carriage, out to the garden and into a grove of pecan trees.
But before these purchases can be made, there is the question of money. Neither of us has any.
Thirty-one cakes, dampened with whiskey, bask on windowsills and shelves.
“Giveya two-bits” cash for that ol tree.”
But when it comes time for making each other’s gift, my friend and I separate to work secretly.
My friend has a better haul. A sack of Satsumas, that’s her best present. She is proudest, however, of a white wool shawl knitted by her married sister.
“This is our last Christmas together”