Henrik Ibsen wrote timeless raw material that shocked his readers in the middle 19th century. I remember reading what I think were his words in a literature class in college in the early 1960s. Even at the age of 19 I recognized the truth in his words. I will paraphrase the story for you:
Ibsen told about taking the old people to the poor house to live out their days. The family was busy, the old people were very hard to care for and they did not have any wealth to contribute to the family. As the elderly couple climbed from the coach, the old man tore the blanket that had covered him in two and handed one half to his son.
The son asked, "Why did you do that? It is very cold."
In reply the old mans said, "I am leaving you half of the blanket. You will need it when your children bring you here."I have always thought that this story spoke to the examples we set for our children. The cycle of our actions continue even though we are gone. The way we treated our parents is how we will be treated.
That brings me to a movie called The Red Suitcase. I received an email from the writer of the movie several months ago. The movie is about a mother and her daughter connecting in a cross country journey. The mother had been divorced for several years but lived with the hope that her husband would return one day. It is only after she has found out that the husband has remarried that the truth becomes a reality for her.
I could see myself as the daughter in this story. I would have gone to my mother to try to convince her to join me in the far off state. The idea of my mother being alone and sad was a reality I could never face.
Both of the women needed to own the unpleasant realities in their lives. Neither was without fault and their personalities clashed. The mother did not have the means to care for herself. But in this case, the daughter did not take the easy way out. She assumed the responsibility that the connection between a mother and her child demands.
The movie is being produced in a very unusual way I think. The makers went to the public and asked for donations so that it could be produced. They are still working on that project but as they travel across the country toward their destination the movie too inches toward it's completion. I have been watching the process and it is fascinating.
The message here is "reinvention". The idea that we can find a new path at any age is one to which we can all relate. We would all like to think that we are stronge enough to pick ourselves and and start over no matter how old we are.
Dana White is the writer and producer. But more importantly she plays the role of the daughter. As with most writing, this film is the response to her own life experience.
Ibsen's Selected Plays (Norton Critical Editions) (amazon)
Could the old people in Ibsen's tale have reinvented themselves in that era? I doubt it. In fact this modern version of reinvention is gaining momentum all the time because it is a part of the boomer phenomena. I think you should visit The Red Suitcase and enjoy.
I also urge you to visit the The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel research website. This is good stuff.
Just a thought.