Friday, December 17, 2010

It Really is A Wonderful Life!



Thank you, Tina for the invitation to ‘reprise’ my recent Inkwell Inspirations blog post and share it with my friends at Seekerville. I’m usually here everyday anyway and today I brought the treats. Zuzu’s, a great café in George Bailey’s hometown has offered to cater. I hope you’re hungry, because they have awesome baked goods, sandwiches and soups. Next year, Ruthy and I may just be entering the Cinnamon Bun Eating Contest!

So. Have you had your "It's A Wonderful Life" fix yet this year?



The movie is based on “The Greatest Gift,” by Civil War historian Philip Van Doren Stern. The story goes that Stern got the idea while shaving one morning in 1938, shopped it around with no bites, and later decided to just send the story out with his next Christmas card mailing. Somehow the story ended up before movie producer Frank Capra.


It was the story I had been looking for all my life! A good man, ambitious. But so busy helping others, life seems to pass him by. Despondent. He wishes he had never been born. He gets his wish. Through the eyes of a guardian angel he sees the world as it would have been had he not been born. Wow! What an idea. The kind of idea that when I get old and sick and scared and ready to die -- they'll say, 'He made The Greatest Gift.' -Frank Capra


Capra jumped on the idea for a movie and was in New York City in November 1945 trying to talk Jean Arthur into the female lead. From there he supposedly left to visit his aunt in Auburn, NY, and likely would have traveled up through Ithaca and Seneca Falls. A barber in town, Mr. Bellisima, recalled a discussion with a man named Capra, about family roots in Italy. He didn’t realize a ‘celebrity’ was in his shop until the movie came out.


This isn't a scene from the movie, this is Seneca Falls, N.Y. What do you think?

It’s quite possible Capra crossed the steel bridge and caught sight of a plaque honoring Seneca Falls resident Antonio Varacalli. In April 1917, this hero dove into the icy canal waters to rescue a girl attempting suicide. Varacalli saved her but was overcome by fatigue and drowned. His story is worthy of its own movie.

If the town fit the setting Capra had in mind, then the bridge and this story would have sealed the deal. So little Seneca Falls NY claims the title “The Real Bedford Falls” based on a lot of ‘evidence’—debatable, sure, but who wants to argue with so much good feeling?
Karolyn Grimes, the movie’s Zuzu comes each year to lead the festivities when Seneca Falls hosts the “It’s a Wonderful Life” Festival. "Zuzu" has her own amazing story and spreads cheer and encouragement year round. She’s as beautiful and warm in person as you’d hope, and I’ve enjoyed meeting her in person.


New this year is the It’s a Wonderful Life Museum and a clever play simulating a ‘live’ radio show. Those who’ve seen it say it’s not to be missed. Guess I’ll be going next year. To add to the fun, the actors were seen around town in costume and character.

This year's celebration was Dec 10-12, but Seneca Falls welcomes visitors all year as it's also the home to the National Park Service as the Birthplace of Women's Rights. Come and visit the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. We love tourist dollars!

For more, click on these links:




The Real Bedford Falls


ZuZu Café













Chef Casey Galloway serves up a warm one from her oven.



This year’s schedule of events-- It’s a Wonderful Life Festival Dec 10-12


Frank Capra


Karolyn Grimes, "ZuZu"



Above, "It's A Wonderful 4k Run" breaks across what has become known as the George Bailey Bridge.


I’m glad you stopped by to share some history of It's a Wonderful Life! We’ll be drawing two names for winners. I’m giving away an autographed copy of ZuZu’s cookbook containing vintage recipes and some memories and factoids about the movie. Frankly, when I got a chance to look through it I had second thoughts about giving it away. Seekerville will be giving away a DVD of It's A Wonderful Life too. So, if you’re a big fan of the movie or know someone who is, let us know in your comments. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

For more holiday fun in the Finger Lakes, the idyllic town of Skaneateles hosts Dickens Weekends in December, with costumed participants roaming the streets while shopkeepers and strolling carolers welcome shoppers and big fluffy snowflakes too.


If you love a Victorian Christmas, watch for “Prince Albert is to Blame” December 21 at the Inkwell.




Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. Debra likes to write, weed and wander and is blessed to have the best family and friends in the world. She’s thankful each day that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of humor.

77 comments :

  1. Thanks, Debra, for sharing some of the history behind a beloved movie that is part of my family's Christmas traditions, as well as that of many others.

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  2. I've never been a big It's a Wonderful Life fan - it's not bad, I'm not sure I've seen the whole thing through more than once in one sitting, I'm just more of a Miracle on 34th Street gal ;). We never watched it when I was a kid, but we did watch Miracle. So maybe it's just a 'way I was raised' thing... You're also supposed to watch Sound of Music around the holidays...

    Regardless, I think it would be way cool to visit and see all the stuff =D. And all the food sounds wonderful!!

    I'll have to find IAWL and watch it in it's entirety this year. DH likes it... We have it on VHS... Think cable is probably a better plan ;).

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

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  3. Oh! And maybe one of you Seekervillians who have been around for a while can help me out...

    [Or, you know, Mary, if you happen by ;)]

    Just finished Calico Canyon... Am I right in thinking that this starts as sort of an 'in betweenie' from Petticoat Ranch? As in, it starts before Petticoat Ranch ends, but we see stuff we didn't see in PR? Like Daniel/kids - we didn't know about them so we wouldn't have known what was going on with them - esp. since they were snowed in...

    Does that make sense? Am I right? Anyone?

    Thanks ;)

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  4. Here's the coffee to go with Debra's treats.

    Like Carol, I've seen Miracle on 34th mptr yjsm Wonderful Life. But I'm not a real big movie watcher. I'd rather curl up with a book.

    Helen

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  5. Last weekend, we watched this movie. The first part is pretty slow-moving but it has some great, emotional scenes so I'm glad we saw it. Thanks for the details about it.

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  6. It's a Wonderful Life is not only my favorite Christmas movie, it's my favorite movie and now I feel like I MUST go to Seneca Falls at Christmas time! Thanks for this fabulous post!

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  7. Debra!

    YAY for only children!!! :) And isn't that the truth? God's sense of humor. Yippee!

    Love this movie - it's one of my hubby's faves too, and our pastor and and and...

    Thanks for sharing some of the history. I heard that there was a mix up or something somewhere, about royalties. So - it didn't do real well at the box office but kept being played and played on TV because they didn't have to pay royalties. Did anyone else hear this??

    Please enter me: may at maythek9spy.com

    CarolM - I just devoured Lassoed in Texas and you are exactly right. http://www.amazon.com/Lassoed-Texas-Trilogy-Mary-Connealy/dp/1616262168/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1292564530&sr=1-1

    Thanks for the coffee Helen. Delicious with Debra's fab cinnamon rolls!!!

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  8. Dont enter me. You know until the past few years I never associated Its a Wonderful Life with christmas.
    (its on tv here saturday night) I guess the first time I saw it wasn't christmas and being it has snow etc it wasn't an aussie christmas season. The movie was good but it wasn't one I would re watch over and over.
    Its nice to hear the history of the movie.

    Carol I think its around the same time as Grace is the teacher in Petticoat ranch and Daniel's kids were going to school, I think he was briefly mentioned at church. but we get to see both families in the story as Grace gets trapped and the mean guy becomes teacher.
    I think we just see the set up of how Grace becomes the teacher but not that much earlier.
    (did I answer right?)

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  9. Well, I'm up. I prefer to sleep until after 4am AT LEAST but...
    maybe it's the excitement of visiting with you all today!

    I have to be honest with you all right up front. IAWL is not my favorite Christmas movie but it's "grown on me" each year that I learn more about it.

    I'm ready to cut into one of those cinnamon buns now...

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  10. Hi Keli (got the music CD BTW, Thanks!)

    Carol, my mother's favorite was Miracle on 34th as well and I loved it too.

    I did hear something about the royalties, KC. That's why it's on TV so freely--and one reason why White Christmas is still a $30.00 DVD!

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  11. Helen, do you take donations for this coffee? Just sayin'

    Hurray! Amy loves the movie. I'm excited about the cookbook giveaway because I looked through it and it's a real treasure for a 'true fan'. I also have a photo of Zuzu autographing the book, which would up the value on Antiques Roadshow in fifty years. ha ha.

    AusJenny, even here in NY state where we have snow at least five months of the year, we get all humbug about a "green" one.

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  12. We love this movie! We have to watch it every year.
    plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  13. I am a big fan of IAWL but never knew it was based on a book or about the bridge! Wow, thanks so much for the background information.

    I watch this movie each Christmas, usually on my birthday. But I also watch it any time of the year I need a pick-me-up.

    Thanks for this post, Julie

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  14. Oh my stars, oh mylanta, oh my everything.

    WE LOVE THAT MOVIE!!!! WATCHING IT IS A FAMILY TRADITION, AS MUCH AS TRIMMING A TREE!!! GETTING DRUNK!!!

    Okay, kidding on that last one, wanted to see if y'all were awake.

    We named our farm "Bedford Falls Farm". I have ornaments with pics from the movie on them...

    I love the life of George Bailey, the curmudgeon that lurks inside while a good guy pushes through day after day although his dreams and plans escaped him. I love the whole idea of Clarence coming down (while talking to Joseph!!!!) and steering him right to earn his wings. Maybe that's my draw, George and I are curmudgeons together.

    And old man Gower... How George saved a life and took a smacking for doing it... Always sacrificing.

    Next year, Deb, one way or another, I'm heading to Seneca Falls for that weekend. What a great place to immerse yourself if you're writing Christmas stories. Quaint. Beautiful. Heartfelt.

    Deb, thanks so much for being here today! Hugs and kisses to you. Now I want a cinnamon bun... Is that what she's holding, that HUGE bun?

    Talk about heaven. A cinnamon bun big enough to feed an emerging nation and really good coffee...

    Ahhh.... ;)

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  15. Julie, Seneca Falls is a canal town so bridges abound. This one makes me smile each time I see it. The big hotel in town is called the Hotel Clarence--newly renovated, I might add and each year the Bank of America covers its sign with "Bailey Savings and Loan" and the Welcome to Seneca Falls... become Welcome to Bedford Falls. Lots of cool stuff.

    YAY for Patsy, getting in on the drawings!

    Ruthy. that IS one cinnamon bun. I waited for that one to come out of the oven for its debut in Seekerville and the rest of the universe! Last year I watched the bun eating contest, which has been won both years by...college students. Of course.

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  16. I love this movie because of the overall that your life does matter. One single life impacts every single person you come in contact with.

    On a daily basis this is so easy to forget and to overlook.

    The story really isn't a Christmas story but a huge life lesson and it's beautiful.

    Love George and love the town.

    Looking forward to going to Seneca Falls myself next year.

    Thanks Debra for sharing this. YOU TOUCHED ME TODAY!!

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  17. Good morning, Seekerville! And thank you, Debra, for a "behind the scenes" look! I'd never heard any of the background of the story before.

    Snowy here in the mountains of Arizona, so I've brought hot cocoa topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

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  18. Julie Hilton Steele are you a Christmas baby?

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  19. Thanks for this post. I adore IAWL. I just watched the VeggieTales version of it, "It's a Meaningful Life" with my son. So cute!

    Now I want to go visit Seneca Falls. :)

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  20. Yeah, Glynna I woke up to snow too.

    Bleh.

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  21. Thanks Tina. I heard the same promise from Ruthy!

    Glynna, I'm glad to share. I didn't think much of this theory until I heard the characters reference other towns within driving distance of Seneca Falls.

    Jenn, and everyone else- if you want to be in the drawings, speak up. I'm itching to send this cookbook to someone before Christmas.

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  22. Hi Debra, How fun to have you here. Welcome to Seekerville and what a great post. I love those old movies and didn't know all that history behind it. How funny that a whole town celebrates a movie.

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday.

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  23. Thanks, Debra, for the fun post. I love It's A Wonderful Life! I can't say it's my favorite holiday movie, but it's definitely in the top 10.

    I head home to Wyoming for Christmas tomorrow and I have a phone interview with a town in North Dakota next week. If y'all think of it could you shoot up a prayer about this.

    Thanks,
    Kirsten

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  24. Marvelous story behind the movie, Deb! I love having a great story come together...even when it becomes a classic movie. Can you just imagine Capra meandering through the perfect setting for his next movie? Talking to the townspeople, absorbing the essence of Seneca Falls, NY??

    Oooo, I can, but then, I'm an only child, too. Ha, we make great use of our imaginations when we have no siblings to haggle with!

    Marvelous post, Deb! So glad you shared this piece of your hometown.

    I'm getting all sappy now.

    You and George. It's a Wonderful Life.

    Can't you just hear the bell ring??

    Love it! Thanks for sharing the baked goodies, too. Weight Watchers is going to have a heyday with me come January...

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  25. Tina, I am a December 12th baby. But I was born prematurely and spent my first Christmas in the hospital.

    There is just something about watching It's A Wonderful Life in the midst of the Christmas season on my birthday. It is a good reminder to think about all the ways I have been touched by others and remember that I also have made a difference to others in the previous year.

    I always cry when Mr. Gower breaks down after slapping George. I cry when all of George's friends arrive at the end. And I always laugh at the clip of IAWL playing in the background of the apartment in Paris in Home Alone. I speak and read French but I would know the scene where George turns down Mr. Potter anywhere.

    Gingerbread melt-in-your mouth cookies this morning for all. I have learned scrambled eggs and Christmas cookies make a great breakfast.

    Ruthy, I am getting up to Seneca Falls myself next Christmas...too wonderful to miss.

    Peace, Julie

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  26. Hi Sandra,
    well I've been to Tombstone out in your neck of the woods, and I'd say they definitely benefit from movie nostalgia. Tourism brings $$!

    Thank you Seekers, for hosting me!

    Kirsten, a Wyoming winter sounds sweet to this cowgirl! I'm used to cold and snow at least.

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  27. Thanks for your sweet words, Audra. Last week they had forties music playing in the streets during the festival. Good stuff!

    I'm shaking my head in agreement, now that I know you're an "only" too... we'll have to talk later...

    Julie- great reminder about Home Alone, I forgot all about that. And I'm loving the gingerbread. Seems every day closer to Christmas brings more treats we'd be 'impolite' to turn down! January saves us, sadly.

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  28. DEB!!!! What a fun holiday post, my friend, and how great to see you here in the Seekerville hot seat instead of lobbing comments from the sidelines!!!

    It's a Wonderful Life is my FAVORITE Jimmy Stewart movie and one of my favs Christmas-wise too, so thanks for highlighting it today. All the history and fun facts you gave enrich the story--and Christmas--all the more.

    I wish you and everyone in Seekerville (and Bedford Falls!) a happy and holy holiday season!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  29. Sorry I've been out all week. I've missed the fellowship, but it's been crazy. Getting ready to head home to visit friends and family, so I probably won't be around much until the new year.

    Merry Christmas to all and Happy New year!

    Love,
    Linnette
    www.LinnetteMullin.com

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  30. Oh, Deb! What a wonderful post! Thank you, girl! This is my favorite Christmas movie! We were just talking about it last night. We will have to watch it some night when the kids are in bed, because my 8-yr-old hates it! But I love it.

    Thanks for sharing all those facts. I had no idea about any of it. I would absolutely love to visit the Finger Lakes area, and Seneca Falls especially, now!

    Trying to stay upbeat here in the dreariest weather ... last night we watched The Polar Express. Good fun. But I couldn't help thinking, Why not teach them to believe in Jesus! He's the true meaning of Christmas! It was as if they danced all around it and ignored it, like the elephant in the middle of the room.

    Anyway, Thanks for the Christmas post, Deb! I love that movie. I already have the DVD, but I would love to win Zuzu's cookbook!

    Deb, may your Christmas be filled with love and good cheer, and lots of meaningful remembrances of Jesus! :-)

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  31. Did I mention I want that cookbook?

    Want it!!!

    Put me in the drawing!!!

    Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  32. Ditto on the cookbook though I did put my email in there ;).

    Thanks for the answer about Calico Canyon :). I started Gingham Mountain last night - and would read it today but I get to meet a fellow Seekervillian in person!!! She's going to be in town today so we're doing lunch :). Can't wait!

    And it means I don't have to make lunch ;)

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  33. Debra, love having you on this side of the post in Seekerville! I found the history of It's a Wonderful Life fascinating. You've made me want to visit Seneca Falls. My d/h and I just watched the movie last night--one of several we see every Christmas.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Janet

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  34. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraDecember 17, 2010 at 10:32 AM

    Thanks Debra for sharing with us! I would love to win either prize. One of my favorite Christmas movies is It's A Wonderful Life!!! I had no idea it was based on a book. I love how it shows that one person touches everyone around them or to quote the movie " Strange how one man's life touches so many others." If I win I will have to keep quiet and surprise my mom with the prize. Good Luck everyone!!

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  35. Hi Debra, et al:

    Now I really want to visit Seneca Falls. Also, I thought that dish was a baked potato and it still looks great!

    My understanding is that “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a flop at the box office and lost money and damaged Capra’s reputation. In the 1970’s the copyright was not renewed properly so TV stations, mostly local, thought they could run the movie for free and make a lot of money. This made the movie one of the most played movies on TV ever. Law suits went all the way to the Supreme Court which showed that “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a derivative work and the original book had a valid copyright so royalties would have to be paid. Since then the movie has been shown on TV far less often.

    About Mary’s Books:

    I’ve read them in random order as I could get large print editions. I have no sense of continuity. I think this just proves the books are fine as ‘stand alone’ works. But lucky are those who read them in order.


    I just loved “It’s a Wonderful Life” and I even used parts in my real estate course. What George had was a pre-S&L which the banks did not like. Also the movie was mentioned in marketing classes because it went from near obscurity to perhaps the most watched movie ever because for a period it was ‘given’ away for free. Does this ring a bell with anyone who is giving away a free book on Amazon Kindle?


    I’d like a chance to win the cookbook for my wife.

    Vince

    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

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  36. Such a great movie.

    I need to go watch it RIGHT NOW.

    I'm always amazed at the end when I think, "It really is a wonderful life."

    Have any of you read, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" ?

    I did and when I closed it I thought, "They should have named this thing, "It's a Mediocre Life."

    I read someone once saying, "The question everyone asks themselves at the end of Five People You Meet in Heaven is...who would my five people be.

    But that is NOT the question I asked.
    Instead, I asked, "I wonder if I've ever killed anyone and not realized it."

    Sentimantal journey, huh?

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  37. I also read recently someone going off on Harry Bailey, George's younger brother.

    The SECOND villain of It's a Wonderful Life.

    That guy really was a selfish jerk, especially considering George saved his stinking life.

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  38. CarolM
    Calico Canyon picks up after Petticoat Ranch ends.

    The very END of Petticoat Ranch, Sophie has a baby. But that baby is born about 1/2 way through Calico Canyon. BUT---There is a gap in Petticoat Ranch from the ending of all the action to a sort of epilogue when the baby's born.

    So imagine all that with Grace happening from around Christmastime on after Clay and Sophie get married in the spring.

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  39. Debra!

    What a neat post. I learn new things about a favorite movie and you made me want to visit Seneca Falls!

    I'm in for the cookbook. I have the movie.

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

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  40. oh my, Excuse my tardiness. A little thing called 'the paying job' has taken me away and keep me away for a few hours. I look forward to catching up with you all later!

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  41. Mary -

    That's what I was thinking - that we 'saw' the boys at the end of PR but didn't know what else was going on [Tillie] etc. so that CC started before that last bit and continued after. I'd remember someone here saying something about 'didn't she have a boy? what happened to that kid?!' so I was kind of looking for that and trying to figure it out...

    Off to see what happens to Hannah for a bit before I go to lunch :).

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  42. Oh WOW, Debra - this is amazing.
    Thanks for sharing, and SOOO many story ideas.
    I love how every idea has a life of its own that spirals into more stories.
    Thanks for sharing!!

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  43. CArolM - wow glad Im not the only one just now finishing up Mary's trilogy! I read Petticoat Ranch a while back but just finished Calico Canyon a few days ago - couldnt' find my copy of Gingham Mountain so made a trip to the library for a copy!
    I'm still trying to remember from book 1 and 2 - seems like there was a baby at the end of book 1 and it's not there in book 2 so I'm thinking they overlapped since book 1 had an epilogue? think that's what it was but the baby in book 2 wasn't a single baby...? so I dunno..I think Mary killed one off or maybe when the epilogue ended she went into labor again! or maybe I just read it wrong in the other book LOL! anyways looking forward to Gingham Mountain and it's on my list for today - probably read it up at the hospital this afternoon when I go check on my mom and dad - he's in the hospital but she's there with him and not doing great herself. Her biopsy got moved tot he 23rd so merry christmas hospital next week but hopefully they'll find it's something they can fix.

    just finished The Preacher's Wife by Cheryl St. John..think that's the author..it was a good sweet story. But talk about wondering when they had s-e-x! (think it was Petticoat Ranch we were discussing a few weeks ago about did they or didn't they and when!) well I had to flip back and found one reference to him waking up and she wasn't beside him! okey dokey missed that one in my tiredness LOL! I really enjoyed this one though - not too much drama and a good HEA. Seems like I saw this one here ina photo a while back but found my copy - woo hoo-so I was able to read it while searching for Gingham Mountain!

    Susanna

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  44. I want to watch It's a Wonderful Life again - my brother likes it I think. I'm more of A Christmas Story person. I wish I could see my life as it'd have been if I hadn't been born. I honestly think sometimes it wouldn't have made much difference..this movie is kinda depressing because this guy wonders and he has a wife and kids and I don't have a husband or kids..so if he feels he didnt' matter what are us singles/childless people supposed to think?!

    so far the highlight of my holiday has been to do retail therapy buying christmas presents for 2 kids. My friend's almost 3 yr old boy(little dude) and her sister's 2nd grade niece(Kayla). I started including Kayla a few yrs ago when both families were living with their father and there was just no way I was gonna bring a gift for little dude with kayla sitting there with nothing. Well come to find out they dont' do a lot of gifts at Christmas - even Santa brings just a few things. I um did LOT of retail therapy though some was using my mom and dad's kohls' bucks they'd accumulated from shopping and combining free giftcards/ebates etc and finding some great sales. But Kayla was on cloud nine opening stuff and I had honestly taken a guess other than knowing she liked hello kitty(I'm SO BEYOND SICK of that fluffy white kitten with the bow in her hair!) and something about Toy Story 3. I don't think any single item was expensive but she loved everything. My favorite part was after buying 3 different books with 'cats' - found fiction on amazon recommended - I decided to just go to Borders and buy books I loved as a kid(or adult LOL!) and just had FUN buying a selection - The Best Christmas Pageant Ever(late to the game on this one but liked it a lot), Little House in the Big Woods, Charlotte's Web, Charlie and the Chocolate FActory(found out she's never seen the movie so for her bday maybe..),Othrewise Known as Sheila the Great(this one one of the first books a teacher read to us in school)..I'd already given her some used copies of boxcar children and may continue that series for her if I can find out if she likes it or not!

    but I've found that's a good age to buy for and girls are more fun than boys! of course she saw I got little dude a leapfrog tag and some books for it and wanted to know if I got her one and I said no I'd thought about it but you're older than w hat it says but if she stll wanted one I'd talk to her mom and maybe get her one for her bday though I really think charlie and the chocolate factory on dvd is much better than that stupid tag thing! but little dude had it on his list - blech I'd rather read my own book!-so I got him one.

    but last night I feel like repeating LOL since it was so much fun to see them opening stuff esp kayla - little dude was having a slight meltdown. just hope he wasn't sick and I'm not coming down with a bug. he's cute though - I've been trying to get him to call me 'aunt suzy' since I always thought that'd be ac ute name to be called! he can say it but my friend(his mom) calls me 'susanna' and the other day he goes 'zanna look!' thought it was a fluke but last night his mom and aunt were out back and I was at the table with them reading with Kayal(of all the good books she wanted to read the fashion kitty book I got her) and he goes 'zanna! apple juice pease' aww no wonder those little brats get away with so much!

    Susanna

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  45. I want to watch It's a Wonderful Life again - my brother likes it I think. I'm more of A Christmas Story person. I wish I could see my life as it'd have been if I hadn't been born. I honestly think sometimes it wouldn't have made much difference..this movie is kinda depressing because this guy wonders and he has a wife and kids and I don't have a husband or kids..so if he feels he didnt' matter what are us singles/childless people supposed to think?!

    so far the highlight of my holiday has been to do retail therapy buying christmas presents for 2 kids. My friend's almost 3 yr old boy(little dude) and her sister's 2nd grade niece(Kayla). I started including Kayla a few yrs ago when both families were living with their father and there was just no way I was gonna bring a gift for little dude with kayla sitting there with nothing. Well come to find out they dont' do a lot of gifts at Christmas - even Santa brings just a few things. I um did LOT of retail therapy though some was using my mom and dad's kohls' bucks they'd accumulated from shopping and combining free giftcards/ebates etc and finding some great sales. But Kayla was on cloud nine opening stuff and I had honestly taken a guess other than knowing she liked hello kitty(I'm SO BEYOND SICK of that fluffy white kitten with the bow in her hair!) and something about Toy Story 3. I don't think any single item was expensive but she loved everything. My favorite part was after buying 3 different books with 'cats' - found fiction on amazon recommended - I decided to just go to Borders and buy books I loved as a kid(or adult LOL!) and just had FUN buying a selection - The Best Christmas Pageant Ever(late to the game on this one but liked it a lot), Little House in the Big Woods, Charlotte's Web, Charlie and the Chocolate FActory(found out she's never seen the movie so for her bday maybe..),Othrewise Known as Sheila the Great(this one one of the first books a teacher read to us in school)..I'd already given her some used copies of boxcar children and may continue that series for her if I can find out if she likes it or not!

    but I've found that's a good age to buy for and girls are more fun than boys! of course she saw I got little dude a leapfrog tag and some books for it and wanted to know if I got her one and I said no I'd thought about it but you're older than w hat it says but if she stll wanted one I'd talk to her mom and maybe get her one for her bday though I really think charlie and the chocolate factory on dvd is much better than that stupid tag thing! but little dude had it on his list - blech I'd rather read my own book!-so I got him one.

    but last night I feel like repeating LOL since it was so much fun to see them opening stuff esp kayla - little dude was having a slight meltdown. just hope he wasn't sick and I'm not coming down with a bug. he's cute though - I've been trying to get him to call me 'aunt suzy' since I always thought that'd be ac ute name to be called! he can say it but my friend(his mom) calls me 'susanna' and the other day he goes 'zanna look!' thought it was a fluke but last night his mom and aunt were out back and I was at the table with them reading with Kayal(of all the good books she wanted to read the fashion kitty book I got her) and he goes 'zanna! apple juice pease' aww no wonder those little brats get away with so much!

    Susanna

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  46. Hey, Debra! What a cool post!! I'd never heard any of this history of the movie. But it's one of my favorites! I always try to get my "fix" as you said. :)

    Thanks so much for being with us today!! And for offering the wonderful cookbook.

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  47. ROFL, Ruthy!!! Oh my gosh, you really got me. I thought, "Ruthy, that's NOT something you tell online!!!"

    haha

    Sorry I doubted you there for a split second. ;)

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  48. Ruth, can you imagine you me and Debra and Joy and Julia all descending on Bedford Falls?? I mean Seneca Falls? We might cause someone to jump that bridge. I seriously doubt if they have enough cinnamon rolls at Zuzu's for us.

    What fun! I can't wait.

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  49. Hmmm, I think I better get working on that Bed and Breakfast idea. I'd love to host you all and there'd be a Seekerville discount of course!

    I haven't watched this film in its entirety in a few years. Thanks Vince for the information on business side of things!

    I'm off to a compulsory Holiday Party where I'll be part of the entertainment. MaryLu and the Maggots. I'm one of the Maggots.
    Oh - it's the Entomology Dept, by the way. I get to shake the sleigh bells through all verses of Jingle Bells. This may be a whole new gig for me.

    See you all later. Oh, I think Melanie hinted she wanted to be in the drawing for the cookbook, Tina, did you catch that?

    Signing off from Bedford Falls where it's gently snowing and a balmy 22!

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  50. Susanna -

    Hehe - we were talking about PR here a couple weeks ago - you're right :). Someone - Pepper? - said 'well, he woke up happy and whistling so...' and I TOTALLY didn't get that...

    The babies at the end of PR are born in the middle of CC. So they don't just disappear ;). We jump back in time a bit...

    I won Lassoed a couple weeks ago so all mine are in one place =D.

    And instead of reading GM, I've been shopping. Online. On my couch. My, the UPS guy is going to love me on Tuesday ;). I've got at least 6 different packages coming from Amazon etc. This is so the way to shop!

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  51. CArolM - must've been us talking 'bout the story LOL 'cause I remmber him being 'happy' the next morning! I just thought there was one baby in the first one then 2 showed up in the 2nd one! But it's been a while since I've read the first book

    I think my tastes are changing again - I used to only read contemporary and pretty much wouldnt' touch a christian romance but now I'm reading more historicals(still not half and half yet but a lot more than I useed to!) and a lot of christian romance. I used to go for the spicy stuff but the past year or so that hasn't appealed to me so much..I'll still read for a good story but i don't buy the book for the spicy stuff like I used to..mabye I'm getting old LOL!

    Susanna

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  52. How neat! My family and I just watched this movie last night. It's a tradition for us every year. I love this classic!

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  53. It's A Wonderful Life is one of my all-time favorites! That scene where George Bailey prays in the bar--after all that can go wrong does go wrong--always gets to me. I love any story where the seemingly average guy finds out he really had touched others' lives in a profound way. It gives me hope, I guess.

    Love this post and am determined to get to Seneca Falls for the festival next December! According to Google, it's only 4 hours away from me . . . Thanks for sharing this excellent post, Debra!

    reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

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  54. LOL I did NOT kill off a baby. Shame on you!!!!

    Sophie had twins at the end of Petticoat Ranch. They named them Cliff and Jared.
    Cliff after Clay's dead twin brother. Jared after Clay's father.

    Which you don't find out Jared if Clay's father's name until Doctor in Petticoats.

    Something I knew that no one else did. :)

    And Sophie had those SAME twins at the mid-point of Petticoat Ranch.

    At which point Ruthy told me to STOP WITH THE MULTIPLES.

    So I did. One baby at a time ever since.

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  55. My mother absolutely loves this movie. I think I've seen it over the years, but need to rewatch it, it's been awhile. Thanks for the Christmas cheer!

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

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  56. Mary, off-topic, but just to say I have totally figured out when Beth and Mandy consummated their marriages.

    Thank you.

    Sign me,

    Finally getting to read Doctor in Petticoats at night...

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  57. Oh my gosh, we could do this. And I think Vince wants to come, too, because this is well worth visiting.

    And I do love the movie (and Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed and Mrs. Bailey and Annie ("I was savin' this money for a deeevorce in case I ever got me a husband!!!)

    Love it.

    Teenster, 2011.... Combine a Christmas visit home with me.

    What could be better????

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  58. Hey Debra! I love this post -- great pics, too. I can't believe the size of that bun. It would feed my family and then some. What does that thing cost? It looks like it weighs 5 pounds!

    I like the B&B idea...I'll visit you any time!

    Thanks, Deb and Seekerville! What a sweet holiday treat today.

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  59. Debra you are very cute in your "Did you catch that,Tina?" mode.

    I need to host you again, soon!!!

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  60. Wow, that cinnamon roll looks deliciously evil. Love hearing the history behind the movie. Haven't watched it yet this year, but will soon. At least my daughter and I will. The men in my house don't care for it.

    sallybradleywritesatgmaildot com

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  61. ok thanks Mary! I was remembering just one boy at the end of Petticoat Ranch but couldnt' find my book to go back and research it LOL!

    just started Gingham Mountain but finished my chick fil a before I could start camping out and get dirty looks from people wanting the table...

    Susanna

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  62. I'm back and my head is spinning. My gig as the jingle bell shaker was a smashing success but after getting up at 3 am, the sugar from a slice of both cheesecake and carrot cake did me in. What was I thinking?
    well, you know what I was thinking! EAT THE CAKE and worry about sugar shock later.

    I have no idea how much that cinnamon bun weighs. I'll have to ask. Seriously Casey has all sorts of amazing fresh baked goods, sandwiches, salads, soups. Gourmet stuff. The Seekerville convention will have to eat there when you all come to town.

    I'm so confused now about babies and who Mary killed off I can't think straight. I'm thinking a Connealy Compendium is in order. After Mary's post about Rowling and linking details from one book to the next I think it would be helpful for those of us who have not read the entire Cowboy Library in order from start to finish. Yikes. oh, that's right. Mary did not kill anyone. She just thinks about it.

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  63. PS I was just in the Bedford Falls Library but their copies of the movie were out on loan. I thought I might watch the whole thing through this weekend now that I've been blabbing my mouth about it. It's been awhile.

    Oh - one more thing. If you do Christmas cards and you do come to the festival, the post office will cancel the stamps for you with a BEDFORD FALLS ink stamp. Just a little something extra.


    Thank you all for your comments! I have run out of clever things to say because I am an extreme I and after having to be social for the entire afternoon, I've come home to my cave. Can I lurk my own post?

    Really, I've read all the comments and I look forward to the mailing of the cookbook. If you get your address right to the Seekerville email when it's announced I might just be able to get it to you before the holiday, Or I can ship it from here to someone you want to gift it to. I hate wrapping but for you? anything.

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  64. That's so awesome. I love It's a Wonderful Life. They filmed True Grit just south of us, but no big ole things happen for it.



    Blessings

    Tina P

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  65. Count me in for the trip to New York and Bedford Falls next Christmas!!! I am so there! If it's God's will, He will make a way. I learned that from all the ACFW Conferences I've attended.

    Bye. I'm going now to pray.

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  66. Andy Griffith's hometown is about 15 minutes from my house. He and my granny were first cousins and lived side by side in Mt. Airy/Mayberry, NC.
    Coal Miner's Daughter (1980) was filmed about an hour from where I live now in Wise, Va - place of research for my wip
    and Dirty Dancing, Bill Durham, Forest Gump, Sommersby (no crying, Tina), Hannibal, 28 Days, Patch Adams, Nell, Fugitive, Last of the Mohicans, and The Green Mile were all filmed within 2 hours of here. I can't think of any museums or dedications to those films, except the museum in Mt. Airy for Andy and the remains of the indian village for Last of the Mohicans in Chimney Rock.

    Sorry to ramble. No Christmas movie sites though :-(

    All of those places are FABULOUS places for research. You really get a sense for the Biltmore House in Deeanne Gist's newest novel, Maid to Match. (FABULOUS read - especially is you like books with humor, intrigue, and red-hot romantic tension)

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  67. Debra we loved having you and thank you for the generous cook book giveaway offer.

    I am thinking I a going to watch the movie this weekend and analyze the themes. My idea of fun

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  68. Hmmm, well, my idea of a trip would be to North Carolina. My daughter loves the Asheville area and Mt. Airy, Pepper. (And yes, I was a bit disappointed when I found out Last of the Mohicans was not filmed in the Hudson Valley but in NC. But it was obviously a very suitable location -beautiful!)

    Thanks again for the invite, Tina.
    I enjoyed the discussion and being able to share some of the news from "Bedford Falls"!

    I'll see you all tomorrow. Hmmm. What's coming out of the vault tomorrow?

    SATURDAY! oh dear, it's the last one before Christmas which might put a crimp in the normal writing time.

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  69. Tomorrow is the last opportunity to get a 5 page critique before 2011.

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  70. I will definitely admit to being a big fan of the movie. I own a copy and watch it every year. I watched it with eight-year old last week and found myself explaining a lot about the movie to him. I will have to go to Seneca Falls sometime.

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  71. Susanna -

    No way! I had Chick-fil-A with Andrea today! And I had Lassoed in Texas with me! Set it on the table so she'd know me since we'd never met before ;).

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  72. What a fun post. I actually learned some new things about the background of one of my favorite movies. Now I have to find that book. Thank you.

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  73. I think Seneca Falls owes me a finders fee. It's really a cute little place and pretty common except for this one magic weekend but there are a lot of other things to do throughout the year locally.

    Seneca Falls is also the 'birthplace of Women's Rights'and has a national park center in town where Susan B Anthony, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton met with others to write up a declaration of women's rights. The Finger Lakes have scads of wineries, farm markets and Amish/ Mennonite farms and markets. Charming little towns, plus...I'll catch my breath. Lakes. Lots of water.

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  74. Yes, Carol had Lassoed in Texas on the table when I arrived, and she promptly hid it after I showed up (a very wise move).

    She also momentarily dangled A Passion Most Pure under my nose. But she put it away just before I was able to snatch it off the table. Rats!

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  75. Seneca Falls, what a wonderful place to vacation that would be. Sounds divine. Maybe one day.
    I have never seen this movie "It's a Wonderful life", but I will definitely look for it.

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