Sunday, August 9, 2009


To tell you the truth, I never really got Julia Child growing up. She was just this big, strange lady on TV, with a voice like nails on a chalkboard. Of course, I might have changed my tune had anyone ever cooked one of her recipes for me. Alas, my mother was never one of her converts, and remained completely loyal to her canned and frozen dinners. There was one thing, though, that I really appreciated Julia for: providing fodder for Dan Akroyd's pants-wetting skits on SNL.

It wasn't until I began to learn more about Julia as a person - through the book Julie & Julia, Child's own memoirs, and a recent documentary on TV - that I learned to love her for who she was, and like Julie Powell, I began to identify with her. When my college sweetheart, who was four years older than I, went off to work in Asia the summer before my senior year, he had never once spoken of us having a future together. Within a few months of his departure, however, he was on the phone asking me to marry him and come to Indonesia. Why? Because nothing about his big adventure was as fun or as exciting as he had expected it to be. He needed my eyes, my sense of wonder and my exuberance in order to appreciate things more fully - just as Paul had needed Julia's. I think that's what Paul Childs fell in love with, Julia's joie de vivre - her passion for life.

I was forced to stifle sobs at one point in the movie, when Julia pretended to be thrilled at the news of her sister's pregnancy, though Paul knew she was dying inside. John was my rock - the only thing that kept me going - through four or five years of miscarriages, tedious tests and procedures, major surgery, trying to keep a stiff upper lip each time someone I knew got pregnant without even wanting to, and feeling my heart tear a little further, each time the OB failed to find a heartbeat at the end of my first trimester.

I think John identified with both husbands in the movie: with Paul for the above reasons, and with Eric because, well, he knows exactly what it means to be a Blog Hubby. John has always been a very private person, and when I first began blogging, he had a hard time dealing with his starring role in many of my stories. One day I told him that I was going to give up the blog. It just wasn't worth it to me, if it was going to make him unhappy. Later that night, he was awakened by a vibrating bed, to find me sobbing into my pillow. He pulled me into his arms and asked what on earth was the matter. "You j-just d-don't know how w-wonderful it was," I gulped out, "to f-finally have a voice, for the f-first time in my life!"

Fortunately, he managed to "convince" me the next day, that there was nothing in the world he wanted more, than for me to continue blogging. He may have been lying through his teeth at the time, but I think he has grown into his role admirably. He gave me a good nudge with his elbow at one point in the movie, when Julie was waxing rhapsodically about her blog readers, then he leaned over with a grin and a twinkle, and said "I guess she found her voice!"

P.S. Many thanks to for the movie-version image of Paul and Julia, and to for the one of Eric and Julie.


Jessica said...

Yeah! I saw the movie on Friday night. I, too, didn't know much about Julia Child, especially since I only saw her in the later years when she really wasn't doing much of the cooking on her own. However, I loved the movie and can see how you identify with both women. Thanks for the post!

musingegret said...

Oh yes, Ms. HCH, you've indeed found your voice and a courageous and sometimes hilarious one it is. Your candidness in writing about your parents and their aging and their marriage dynamic has been helpful and educational.

Your honesty today in sharing your attempts in conceiving is so heart-tugging and utterly underscores the quote I see often: "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

Alexis and Austin were 'miracle babies!' Thank you for telling us about the movie and by doing so reveal even more about your and John's lives, joys and sorrows.

"And the seasons they go 'round and 'round...."