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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Funny (10/04/12)

TITLE: Starring Grandma
By Francy Judge
10/11/12


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A Doris Day imitator crooned “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” from the black screen as the credits rolled. My mother-in-law sipped her Merlot as we waited. She hadn’t seen this movie for close to fifty years. The rest of us never saw it, and we sat riveted in front of the TV, anxious to see the ancient copy of Violent Women on DVD. I held my hands ready to blindfold my six year-old daughter from inappropriate scenes. What would this movie be rated today?

*******
I can’t believe Gene found this movie. I was beginning to think I dreamed it all up. Now they can see what a talented actress I was. I’m not just a mom and grandma.

*******
A row of women wearing long grey skirts and blouses lined up in front of prison bars. The guard blew the whistle and the “violent” women proceeded into their cells like obedient soldiers. Jordan whispered, “They don’t look bad. Why are they in jail?” They looked like nurses not cell mates.

“It’s an old movie.” I whispered.

“Something’s wrong—everything’s grey.”

“That’s how films looked before they invented color TV.”

Jordan pointed at Grandma Clementine. “How old are you?”

“A lady never shares her age, darling.”

*******
Gene should teach his kids manners. I stopped counting years the first time I stepped into a Broadway theatre. I remember that day. All the dancing lights and jazz—I couldn’t wait to be on stage.

*******

The scene flashed to a prison cell. My husband nudged Jordan. “That’s Grandma on the top bunk.”

Jordan bounced in her seat. “Grandma, you’re famous!”


Clementine smiled and took another sip. I wondered what she was thinking or remembering behind that smile. She grew up in Massachusetts, and traveled on her own to New York before turning twenty to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. She was blessed with beauty, talent and a sense of humor and resembled her favorite actress, Elizabeth Taylor. A Natural. And after a few drinks, she’s sure to quote her favorite lines from Macbeth.

*******
I forgot how beautiful I was. I’d give anything to have that smooth skin again…and that body. Move over Marylyn. This B movie could have been the beginning of my career if I didn’t give it up to get married. I’m sure I could have been a star.

*******

In a dreamy voice, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, chanting, “There’s no place like home,” Clementine “wished they had the guts to escape.” She was made up like a glamorous movie star with every curl in place.

“Prisoners were really pretty back then, Grandma. And you were the prettiest of all the bad ladies.” Jordan said.

“Thanks, dear.”

The dialogue was ridiculous by today’s standards. Our small audience laughed and joked about the irony of the title. These 1950s violent women could be selling Ivory soap. Clementine giggled too. Was she proud of this film or embarrassed? I’m sure she expected a different reaction to her performance –our sons couldn’t stop laughing—but this is a different generation…violent women are violent. I watched her act, and imagined her in this career, vulnerable and on display with every film.

I tried to shoot Gene a look to stop the kids from laughing at the film, but he was howling too.

*******
What’s wrong with this family? They think everything’s funny. Can’t they appreciate serious acting when they see it?

*******
We paused the credits so Jordan could read the name: “Clementine Drew.” Jordan jumped up and hugged her. “I can’t wait to tell everyone my grandma starred in a violent women movie.”

*******
Great. I can see the curious looks I’ll encounter from the neighbors.

*******
We all clapped and Clementine bowed. “Acting was fun, but God blessed me with a better life. Stardom doesn’t give hugs like Jordan.”

We praised her performance, but didn’t mention that we’ve added Violent Women to our list of funniest films ever.


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This article has been read 227 times
Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 10/12/12
This was a very interesting and different entry. A clever way of bringing the topic to light. Very realisitc dialogue, and done in a unique way. Well-done.
Thanks. God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/17/12
This is such a different story. You did a great job of writing on topic but keeping the story fresh and original. I especially enjoyed the internal dialog in Grandma's head. This is a funny well-written piece and I enjoyed it immensely.