On my 8th birthday, we moved house. It’s something that would always be difficult to forget. But, in this case, it’s impossible not to remember.
We didn’t just move around the corner, or down the street. We moved from our little house in suburban Melbourne, Australia to St Louis, Missouri, USA. On the bad side, that meant leaving everything and everyone I’d ever known and venturing into the Great Unknown. On the good side, my birthday went for 2 days due to the time difference. (Sadly, I didn’t get two sets of present. I don’t even remember getting one set of presents. But I did get to visit the cockpit of the first plane we flew on.)
When we arrived in St Louis, my Dad started work pretty much immediately. (His job was the reason we moved. He had a two-year contract with a US-based company.) My Mum, 6-year-old brother, 2-year-old sister and I spent our days in the hotel we were staying at, trying to find ways to entertain ourselves without toys, or anything familiar around us. We were there for about six weeks before we moved into a house.
The memories I have of those six weeks go something like this:
- A 3 hour stop in Honolulu, where my poor Mum tried to take us to the toilets. She she discovered that she needed to insert a quarter to use a cubicle. My parents hadn’t changed any money prior to leaving Australia, and all Mum had was traveller’s cheques. Nowhere at the airport cashed traveller’s cheques. So, with three kids in tow, all of us crying because we had to pee, she stood impotently in the public toilets until some kind woman handed her a fistful of change.
- An overnight layover in LA en route to St Louis means staying at an airport hotel. My parents were too tired (3 kids on a plane for 16 hours) to try to enforce any kind of healthy eating. “Sure. Let’s order banana splits for dinner.” Those banana splits were, by far, the biggest items of food I’ve ever seen. Apparently in LA, a banana split is bigger than a 2-year-old child.
- At the hotel in St Louis, we had the exciting situation of 3 separate hotel rooms. (Dad’s workplace was paying for accommodation.) I had a room to share with my sister, my brother was in the adjoining room, and my parents had a room across the hall. We were all happy with that arrangement.
- The hotel also had parkland behind it, with walking paths leading around a beautiful big pond. The pond had ducks and geese. Every time we walked around it, the geese chased us and tried to bite us. I’m terrified of geese to this day.
- Last but not least, I remember the joys of cable TV. Back in Australia, we’d only had 3 TV channels. Suddenly, we had “thousands”. But, even better than that, when we liked a show we could watch it more than once. Enter the best moment of my young life.
We must have watched Clue a million bazillion times while we were staying at that hotel. At least, that’s how I remember it. The classic lines became part of our everyday language.
“To make a long story short…” “Too late!”
“No, communism was just a red herring.”
“Yes meaning yes, or yes meaning no?”
“There’s one thing I don’t understand.” “One thing?”
Time went on, and years passed before I saw Clue again. But from that day forward, Tim Curry was always referred to as “the butler from Clue” in our household.
It wasn’t until I’d moved out of home, and happened to find a copy of Clue in a video rental shop that I relived the wonderment of this movie. And, even ten years later, I loved it.
“Monkey’s brains, though popular in Cantonese cuisine, are not often to be found in Washington D.C.”
I watched it at least another squizzillion times. And then I made every boyfriend, girlfriend, and close friend sit and watch it with me. repeatedly. Possibly ad nauseam.
Perhaps I need some kind of twelve step program.
In any case, other than the occasional need to quote the movie
“Let us in! Let us in!” “Let us out! Let us out!”
my life went on without me thinking about it over much. Until I heard the news. They’re planning a remake of this classic film.
Yep. You can read about it here. But all I have to say is, “No! Nyet! Never! Please?”
“Armageddon is almost upon us!”