Laura Haley-McNeil

3/19/17, True Love

Hello, Everyone!

Another week has zipped by, and now we’re peeking over the edge of spring. I hope last week was a wonderful one for you. I’ve been trying to get outside every chance I can find. Many people at my office take walks around the office park during the day, but I haven’t been able to do that. I don’t have flexible hair. Once I style it in the morning, which includes spraying it to death with hairspray, I can’t touch it for the rest of the day. Even if I try to pull a stray hair into place, my hair will have a meltdown and I look like a drowned rat for the rest of the day. My hair is fine and thin and I rub tons of product into my hair just to make it look presentable. I never know one day to the next if my hair will cooperate or will show the world how intolerable it can be. So, I’m glad when the days are long and I can to outside after work or on the weekend, enjoy the sunshine and not care what my hair looks like afterwards.

Recently, I watched a movie that resonated with me. The name of it is Florence Foster Jenkins starring Meryl Streep. The movie doesn’t have much of a plot. It is a character driven movie, which are my favorite. I love books and movies that focus on the character. I also love action books and movies. I love a good mystery, but a book that focuses on a character and his or her inner struggle can keep me rivted if it’s done right. This movie was that sort of movie. It’s a period piece that takes place in 1944. The ending was deeply touching. I didn’t think I’d enjoy the movie. As my husband is a musician, he was familiar with the story and told me about the real Florence Foster Jenkins. The movie seemed to be fairly accurate. Ms. Jenkins was wealthy but had been disinherited by her father, so she moved to Philidelphia and taught piano. She was an accomplished pianist and had performed at the White House when she was eight years old.

When she was 18, she married Dr. Jenkins, a disreputable man who ruined her life, but she carried on. It didn’t hurt that her father rewrote his will and included her. Later in life she met an English actor, St. Claire Bayfield, portrayed by Hugh Grant. It doesn’t appear that Ms. Jenkins and Dr. Jenkins ever divorced or that she and St. Claire ever married though St. Claire was considered her husband. According to the movie, she and St. Claire never lived together, though he did seem to have a paramour who shared his apartment.

Florence Foster Jenkins loved music and hired accomplished musicians to give her voice lessons. The problem was that she couldn’t sing. Still, St. Claire was devoted to her and helped her achieve her dream to perform. I’m sure part of St. Claire’s devotion to Florence was her wealth, but I was impressed at how he worked to help her achieve her dream. She truly believed herself to be an accomplished soloist and worked very hard at her lessons and to find venues to share her talent with others. I hope you have a chance to watch this movie and that you enjoy it as much as I did. It’s a touching story of a woman who refused to give up and the man who stood by her.

I hope you have a lovely week and can get outside and enjoy some fresh air. For those of you on the east coast, I hope you survived the snowstorm and the weather will soon turn sunny and warm.



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