Still topical!

Reading a Gregory Peck biography by Gary Fishgall and I came across this…

Gregory apparently said this in 1948, seventy years ago, during the McCarthy Communist witch hunts in Hollywood. He was no Communist but even so, he did not like the witch hunts. This still sounds so topical today, and so true…

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Summer holidays!

A few hours ago my summer holiday finally started! Kids have already been off school for a week (and the week before that they hardly needed to be in school), Mr Esther has been off work since Wednesday and today is my turn to start my holiday. Yay! I was supposed to already be off work today but there was still too much left to do.  So, I worked from home in the morning, took a shopping break in the afternoon, made a last business call at 4.15 pm, finished up with final e-mails and then closed my work laptop just after 5 pm. Finally, I can let it all go and just enjoy my holiday. Aaahhhhh…. 😎

Mr Esther has started some of the packing today, tomorrow will be the real packing day and then on Saturday morning early we will look like this…

… right before we fly off to the island of Rhodes in Greece!

Rhodes town

We’ll be there for 2,5 weeks. The kids insisted on a sunny holiday, Mr Esther & I wanted history and culture, so we figured Rhodes is a nice mix. It’s also the place where Gregory Peck filmed The Guns of Navarone…

I only just found out that apparently there even is a hotel complex called ‘Gregory Peck apartments‘ on Rhodes! As an old Gregory Peck fangirl, I should have known this sooner… that’s where we should be staying! We’re, however, staying at the other side of the island (which will be fine too). We do plan on visiting Lindos, though, where The Guns of Navarone was filmed.

Mostly it’ll be nice to be away for a while, just the four of us. Not sure how much I’ll get around to blogging while we’re away, but I’m sure I won’t be able to resist posting some pictures now and then. So, see ya when I see ya!

A conversation with Gregory Peck

I was watching the documentary A Conversation with Gregory Peck on Netflix earlier this evening (I was very pleasantly surprised to find it there!). It was made in 1999 (4 years before Peck died) during a speaking tour he did throughout the US, where he spoke about his life and his career.

As I watched it, I realized I must have seen at least some of it before although there were also bits I didn’t remember. As an old-time Gregory Peck fan, hearing the stories he had to tell about his career (even though I already knew many) was an absolute joy! At one special moment in the documentary the actress who played his daughter, Scout, in To Kill a Mockingbird was in the audience. Apparently she still called him Atticus and he still called her Scout. 🙂  He also invited his wife Veronique up on stage for a little bit…

The documentary also touched on Gregory Peck’s political convictions. He was famous for being a democrat and liberal and in the video speaks of opposing the Vietnam war while at the same time being proud of his son Stephen who had served in the army during that war. He is also shown giving a speech in Philadelphia in 1999 about gun control…

He says,“Is it the culture or the guns that led to the massacre at Columbine High School? And it is of course both. What is wrong with keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people?” Today, 19 years on, I could still give him a standing ovation for that. Gregory and I would certainly have agreed with each other politically…

What I loved even more in this documentary was the behind the scenes glimpses of him, with his wife and his family. His daughter Cecilia co-produced this documentary and was in it a lot…

Conversation Gregory Peck 08

… but there are also glimpses of his other kids (two sons, Stephen and Carey, from his first marriage and a son, Anthony, from his marriage to Veronique). I loved the images of a family get-together, where they all sat around and watched basketball. Look at the anticipation on the faces of Gregory and his son Stephen here!

Conversation Gregory Peck 02Conversation Gregory Peck 03

I had to blink away a few tears when Gregory spoke of his son Jonathan who had committed suicide at the age of 30, with Gregory wondering whether he could have done more to prevent that. And I blinked away major tears when the film featured Gregory waiting at the hospital for his daughter Cecilia to give birth and then meeting his 10 minute old grandson! Most parts of the documentary are also up on YouTube, I’ll just share this part about the birth here (from 5.20 minutes onwards in this video)…

The fascination with his new grandson and the concern he shows over his daughter just after giving birth so very much reminds me of my own father (and my mother) after my son was first born. Yet again, here is Gregory reminding me of my dad, even in the way he was a dad to his daughter! My parents showed that same love to my baby and the same concern for me…

2001 A. born papa mama Esther

… and their love and concern was repeated two and a half years later when my daughter was born..

The look of being in love with a new baby grandchild is very similar… It made me miss Gregory Peck and it made me miss my dad.

Conversation Gregory Peck 05

Oh, how I still love Gregory Peck! If you like him too, I recommend you check out this documentary on Netflix a.s.a.p…

Stop all the clocks

Our neighbour very unexpectedly passed away at the age of 71 last week. We weren’t close but we were friendly and her sudden passing came as a bit of a shock. Her husband and two grown up children were left devastated. The funeral was held this morning, we attended with a few of our other neighbours and it brings home to me yet again how much I hate funerals… It’s so tough seeing the ones who were so close to the deceased struggling to deal with their loss and brings back memories of my own loss. The programme is always the same: there is music, there are speeches, sometimes readings – with every funeral I go to, the words of WH Auden, beginning with “stop all the clocks”, ring in my head (also so beautifully performed by John Hannah in Four Weddings and a Funeral) …

… and afterwards there’s coffee and tea and people lining up to give their condolences to the grieving loved ones.

I’m thinking that maybe, when I go, I don’t want a funeral… it’s too heartbreaking for the loved ones left behind. Just everyone have a party if they must and then have everyone just leave… No endless sad speeches and sad music, no endless line of people shaking hands and paying respects… Just party, send me on my way with images of things I have loved, like this…

… or this…

… or this…

… or this…

… or this…

… or this most recent one….

… and be done with it!