We finally made it to the movie theater on Saturday to see "The Help". It is by far one of the best films I have seen in a long, long time and didn't deviate to much from the book. Having grown up in the South during the 60's it was refreshing to see a film that expressed so eloquently so many of my memories of that time. Like many Southern white women of the day my mother hired "help" to come in once a week. We had two house keepers, who oddly enough were both named Jean. The first Jean was quiet and reserved. She rarely spoke. I always wondered where she came from and where she went at the end of the day. Did she have kids of her own? I never knew. She helped my Mom with the ironing and cleaning. My Mom usually worked with her to get the house in order. I don't recall there was ever an issue with Jean using the restroom. She always used ours. I have no recollection of a bathroom initiative but I was a little girl. Then one day Jean was gone and replaced with a new house keeper, also named Jean. The new house keeper was warm and friendly and she wore a wig. Aibileen, the main character in The Help reminded me of Jean. Sometimes Mom would have to go out and I'd remain behind in Jean's care. Jean and I would take little trips to Woolworth and to her church. It was always fun. I always felt bad that she got stuck with me but I have to admit I was glad to be with her. The film brought back a host of memories of my life in the South some good and some not as good. I wish I knew what became of the two Jeans that were in our lives in such turbulent times. We moved away from the South in the mid to late 60s. I lost my accent and packed away my memories until this movie.
I had to wonder if anyone else in the theater paid as close attention to the architecture, furniture, rugs, dinnerware and clothing from the time period as I did. It was like visiting an old friend that you haven't seen in such a long time. Every detail of the set design, the props, the hair styles, signage and clothing was retro eye candy to a Mid-century enthusiast. The only thing that seemed out of place to me was when Skeeter was in Hilly's kitchen with Yule Mae asking her if she'd consider being interviewed for the book. Behind Skeeter's head was a cabinet filled with every day dishes. I couldn't help but notice that the blue transferware coffee cups didn't match the red transferware dishes. That would have never been the case in a well to do Southern woman's home. The dishes would all match. Southerner's take setting the perfect table seriously.