saturday nights

It's Saturday night. The house is a mess. We've been running around all day. We haven't had supper, but then, we've been to two different social events that involved lots of cookies and mulled cider so nobody's hungry anyway. I'm drinking a beer, waiting for the kids to get tired enough to go to bed, and wishing I could just curl up under a blanket and watch a movie with Stuart while we gorge on stove-top popcorn. Alas, it is not to be, at least not tonight.

One of my warmest, fuzziest memories from childhood is that of Saturday nights during the public television pledge drive. When I was a kid, Saturday was cleaning day. My brother and I had to clean our rooms before we were allowed to watch TV or play with friends. There were other chores as well; we could choose between scrubbing the bathroom sink, dusting the living room, vacuuming the carpet, or cleaning the kitchen floor. We often spent more time trying to argue ourselves out of these chores than it would have taken to perform these tasks, but that's just part of being a kid. (As a parent of a nearly 3yo, I'm discovering this on new levels e.v.e.r.y. d.a.y.)

In any case, the chores got done and by the end of the day, the house was more or less clean. We often had pizza for dinner with RC cola - the one night a week we drank soda - and then afterwards we'd all sit down to watch PBS. Wholesome, yes? The best programming was always on during the pledge drive. We'd laugh until our bellies hurt watching Victor Borge's antics, and my mom and I especially liked the Anne of Green Gables series (even though my mom always thought the actress's nose wasn't quite pretty enough to be Anne Shirley's nose...but I digress.)

Shortly before Anya was born, when I was too twitchy and sleep-deprived to concentrate on much of anything, I re-read the first couple books from the Anne of Green Gables series. In case you're not familiar with the story, here's a very brief synopsis: Anne Shirley is an orphan girl, adopted at the age of 11 by a brother and sister on Prince Edward Island, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. They wanted a boy to help on the farm, but spirited little Anne so charms Matthew that they keep her. Everyone in the community is suspicious of adoptees but Anne proves herself and makes Green Gables her home. She rivals a boy named Gilbert to be at the top of the class, and of course they start out being worst enemies, then best friends, then getting married after Anne goes off to college to be a teacher. It's kind of interesting to re-read a childhood favorite with a more mature, adult perspective. I was uncomfortable with some of the turn-of-the-century assumptions about adoption and foreigners (Marillla would never consider one of those Italian boys, not to be trusted!). And then there's the whole thing about red-heads. Anne is red-headed and thus is a daredevil and has a bad temper; common misconception, that. (Stuart and Anya are both undeniable red-heads and they're pretty easy-going.) Anne is considered a trouble-maker because she talks too much and sometimes forgets to say her prayers at bedtimes. But times have changed, of course, and one must take these books as they are. Anne of Green Gables is a charming story with charming characters, and there are some good lessons learned. Anne is respected in school for being smart and independent. She is an outsider who becomes an essential part of the community, accepted and loved by nearly everyone.

I don't think they show Anne of Green Gables on PBS anymore. I'm sure I could find it at the library or in Netflix if I wanted to watch it for nostalgia's sake. Or maybe we'll find our own Saturday night tradition - once the kids are old enough to clean their own rooms, that is!

Comments

Animal said…
"Not pretty enough to be Anne Shirley's nose"?!? Ex-CUSE me?? Hell, the only reason worth watching those shows is to see Megan Follows! But, I digress as well...

Did you ever watch the 3rd installment? Miss Tessmacher says that it diverges pretty drastically from the books, as Anne & Gilbert end up married, but he goes off to be a Dr. in WWI, and she follows in a desperate attempt to discover his whereabouts. I've only watched it a few times - as compared to the dozen or so I've seen the first two sets - so I guess it doesn't hold up as well. Megan's voice has dropped a lot...as if from whiskey or cigarettes, which isn't very Anne-like.

I like how, in the late 1800s, red hair meant that you were devilish and temperamental...as opposed to now, when it usually means you're the hottest thing on two legs. Sheesh.
Claire said…
That series WAS the reason we went to Prince Edward Island after our wedding!
Steph said…
My favorite part is when she dyes her hair green in a misbegotten attempt to dye it black. And now people dye their hair red all the time...go figure.

Wow, I'm glad I never watched that third installment. Reading this made me want to go back and read the books again.
Anonymous said…
Animal--

I'm not going to argue about the desirability of Megan Follows, but I will not concede regarding the nose. It is not a bad nose, as I recall, more of an average nose. Anne Shirley's nose, however, was particularly attractive. I am a nose-watcher from way back when, when I felt that my biggest beauty flaw was a big nose, and I noticed EVERYONE's nose. I knew people by their noses.

Suze's mom
Becca said…
That last comment makes me nervous, since my nose has been broken two times.
Mrs. Allroro said…
I do not remember Mrs. G having any "beauty flaw". Quite the contrary, in fact.
Anonymous said…
You are very kind, Ann. I quit obsessing about my nose many many years ago.

Mrs. G

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