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When I started writing the Sandi Webster series, I had no intention of putting any type of focus on old movies or anything vintage. It just happened, and I’m not exactly sure how or why. Sandi is in her thirties and doesn’t pay much attention to history until it (figuratively speaking) slaps her in the face. She does have a passion for vintage movies though, because she grew up watching them with her mother. However, vintage is many times an acquired taste, and whether she meant to or not, Sandi seems to have developed that taste.
She enjoys not only older movies, but she’s found she likes older people, too. Although I have to admit that she wasn’t given much choice about senior citizens. For some odd reason they just seem to flock to her, starting with her senior neighbor, Dolly. At one point Sandi asked herself if her lot in life is to spend time with seniors and dogs (because at that point Bubba, the half wolf/half Golden retriever, has made his appearance in the stories).
So, knowing that little bit about Sandi, let me return to the subject of vintage movies. Why would Sandi enjoy those over current films? Because in her mind they represent a slower time, a time of more innocence and romance, and a sense of patriotism and camaraderie. Those certainly aren’t bad things, but there must be more to it than that. Right? I tried to walk in Sandi’s shoes, or more to the point, to see things through her eyes, because Sandi really isn’t based on me. She’s her own fictional person. Okay, maybe she’s a little like me in a few of her interests (like chocolate), but not much.
Sandi is a woman who stands on the high side of naiveté, and she doesn’t always “get” what goes on in today’s world. She had to grow up too fast and join the working world. She never had the opportunity to be a typical teenager. Therefore, she doesn’t follow the crowd, but she does what suits her. She can be humorous, but she tends to take a stand on what’s right and what’s wrong. She’s sometimes opinionated and not politically correct. She expects others to be honest, as she is. She’s frequently frustrated when things don’t go the way she believes they should.
Consequently, vintage movies take her away from real life for a brief span of time. Maybe Sandi was born in the wrong era. She forgets that although things were simpler when these movies were made, they were complicated at the same time. She deals with older men and women who lived through World War II and Viet Nam, the Korean Conflict and other hard times. Murders and other crimes occurred in the time periods she so admires, just as they do today, but somehow it seems different to her.
In the process of doing research, I went through many old newspapers. Some of the crimes were horrendous, but I think Sandi is right in believing that everyday life in the thirties and forties was simpler in a lot of ways. Maybe one day I’ll write a blog about the ways that were more difficult, but not today.
Sandi may live in a dream world to some extent, but even so, her feet are firmly planted in today. She learns and moves on, and she’s a survivor – and fate continues to hand her vintage crimes from time to time.
Do you believe that things used to be simpler? Yes, they were more difficult in some ways, but overall, weren’t they slower and easier in their own way?
Until next time, wishing you a week of reflection about things both past and present.
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If you enjoyed learning a little more about Sandi Webster, you might give this series a try.