Summer reading for Dad during my childhood was easily financed with a little spare change. Ten cents in the 1960s could purchase a used paperback at the thrift shop. I scanned his library: murder mysteries, detective novels Dashiell Hammett, Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming. Reading late into the July and August night, I preferred gothic romance and science fiction.
But I did like stories about espionage. Enter James Bond movies and our father daughter trips to the Provincetown movie theater. Popcorn, warm and salty in the box. It was just me and Dad at the newest James Bond movie with Sean Connery because Mother didn’t like that crap. She preferred the art cinema with provocative films in black and white.
Yesterday I heard the news. Sean Connery dead at age ninety. He lived a long and prosperous life, a hard worker from childhood. As a boy in Scotland he delivered milk for three hours before school. At age thirteen he was working fulltime until he signed up for the Royal Navy and retired from sea at age 19. He learned the craft of acting from the ground up, by reading plays and watching others perform. Not confined to playing the handsome leading man, he signed on for various character roles as he aged. He played a trained killer in the 1974 fantasy “Zardoz” and the charming corrupt grandfather in the 1989 neo noir crime film “Family Business”. In 1987 he won the best supporting actor Academy Award for his performance as an honest cop on the corrupt Chicago police force in “The Untouchables”.
When Dad and I stood in front of the glass ticket window in front of the movie theater, I held Dad’s hand and smiled to show my braces. “Under twelve?” the lady would ask.
Sometimes lying was okay. Especially if you were on a secret mission—to save the human race from nuclear disaster.
Co-conspirators. Admission to the movies for children was fifty cents. Adults paid $2.50. Twelve or under twelve? The two whole dollars we saved would pay for our snacks.
Penny candy still existed. With ten cents I could purchase an entire bag of treats. Stashed within a paper sack, slowly I could savor one red licorice stick or a paper of pink and yellow Dots. At the movie theater in summer wearing shorts, I felt as if I was sitting on scratchy old carpeting. I didn’t mind.
Thirteen, Fourteen years old and skinny, it was easy for me to pass as a child as we continued to see James Bond movies that starred David Niven, George Lazenby and Roger Moore.
Oh that handsome Sean Connery! I was just a kid, developing my sensibilities of what I found pleasing in a potential love match. Maybe because he was my first James Bond, he was the best. That rich deep voice with just a hint of an accent. So self- assured, as soon as he appeared on screen; he took charge. But wasn’t that what he was supposed to do? He was a movie star.
In another week, maybe we’ll know the results of Tuesday’s November 3rd election. I already voted weeks ago. It’s challenging not to worry. Too old, due to the risks of the coronavirus to knock on doors or work at polling places, I wait. To stay busy I unpack our winter clothes. I read speculative fiction. For the ultimate in escapism, I recommend watching an old James Bond Movie. One of my favorites, maybe because I like the name, “You Only Live Twice.”