The Movie: Watch on the Rhine, 1943 (Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman, screenwriters, from the play by Lillian Hellman; Herman Shumlin, dir.)
Who says it: Lucile Watson as Washington socialite Fanny Farrelly
The context: Mrs. Farrelly has just been shaken out of her complacency by her son-in-law’s (Paul Lukas) murder of a Nazi informer (George Coulouris).
How to use it: To acknowledge a new level of political consciousness.
Do high school theater groups still perform this play? My high school did it a year or two after I graduated, and I remember it being preachy and stilted even then. I recently saw the movie, and it was dreadful, though Bette Davis looked pretty in it.
But I like magnolias. Anna and I were in Reny's one day last week, and a rotating display of seeds caught my eye. I would like to be the kind of person who can grow things from seeds. I would like to be the kind of person who can grow things at all; in this universe, I am the person who threw out a potted begonia last week because it was covered with an ominous white fuzz.
I have this great deck, though, and I'd like to be able to put some plants out there for the summer. The drug store down the street from me is advertising three rosebushes for $9.99, but that's just asking for trouble; if they did grow, I'd probably wind up with an infestation of aphids in my kitchen.
Magnolias, though, are a different story. They're evergreen, so they're frost-resistant, except for M. virginiana. I could have a small one in a big pot, and set up some lawn furniture next to it, and it'll be just like Tidewater... yeah...
Why is it that, wherever people go, we want to be able to pretend to be somewhere else? That's a discussion for another day.