What I am thankful for!!! One of the biggest surprises; and one of the biggest gifts of my life! Mother’s Day reprise!!!

by Posted On

This “Mother’s Day”;  I wasn’t with any of our girls or our seven grandchildren!  I thought all day about my own Mother!

She was the creative behind my own creativity;  although my father, (whom I cannot remember)  was extremely creative as well!

I owe so much to my mother;  and since she died when I was 33;  I never really was able to thank her for her encouragement and support of a talent……that really barely had

a “job description”  when I started “decorating”!

So, I decided, in honor of my talented and wonderful mother , to repost this “surprise” film  I discovered this past year!  (thanks to my cousin and her contractor!)

I hope those of you who haven’t seen it will enjoy it!  Happy Mother’s day to everyone!  I have been saying this all day to everyone;  including  males and strangers!  If one isn’t a mother;  one had one!

I really have thought about this post!

 “Grateful”  “Giving Thanks”!   A Hugely important thing to me!!!

This is my first year blogging…….( I am so way grateful for those  of you who are visiting)!  I love, love love it!  Thank you for participating!

So,  I decided to share the thing I  am most  thankful for in a long, long time!

Honestly;  the best “Surprise Present” I have ever received   (that was not alive!)  is this!

I was born in 1947 in Los Angeles;  My mother was 40 years old when I was born (that was a neighborhood scandal!)  I have a brother born in 1938; ( there were blood issues ;  now easily solved);  however, my mother lost 7 pregnancies after my brother;  who was born in 1939!

My Daddie died when I had just turned 4;  I heard wonderful stories about him;   I have some great photographs of him which I treasure….and are on my walls! I don’t remember him…really…except little  tiny “snippets”..I never saw him “move”; and I didn’t remember any “mannerisms” or  “body language”.

My mother was an enormous influence…..we were incredibly  close;  I learned everything I know  from her;  and she was a total pistol;

until Parkinson’s took her down at 67  (YIKES!)  and took her life at 70.

So:  my cousin Paulette calls me to say she found a yellow “Kodak” box with my father’s name on it;  inside is a roll of film with a date stamp of “June  20 1950”

I think it might be my birthday party!   Off it toodles to be turned into a disc!    I put it into my laptop;  and this is the story!

It is a film of them right after their wedding!!

It was a “silent movie” filmed 16 years earlier;  in 1934! It is a movie (when you had to crank it up……and let it wind  out…..and  crank it up again!)

My mother was 26; my father 32; they were married in Yuma Arizona, in 1934! Right after the ceremony; this person filmed them leaving the “Justice of the Peace” office;  and off they went to some divine hotel with a cousin; filmed by someone! In 1934!

My father took it to the film store to update the film 16 years later.  He knew he was dying;  I think he did so so we could watch it when he was gone!  He died in 1951.

This is the 3 minute film.

Among all I have to be grateful for, and I am , I picked this to show you!

Having a movie of my parents right after they are married is great enough;  however, this is the first time I have ever seen my Daddie “move”!

It means more to me than I can express!

One of my friends said it so beautifully!

She said….”this shows the power of film to bring people back to us”!

Watching it, I felt they were blowing kisses at me!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving;  and I hope you enjoy this short film!

I saw a lot of love here!  Please share your comments!

Pretty darn stylish people;  and the cutest car!  A 1934 Ford Cabriolet with a rumble seat!

An incredible gift!

48 thoughts on “What I am thankful for!!! One of the biggest surprises; and one of the biggest gifts of my life! Mother’s Day reprise!!!

  1. The Devoted Classicist

    Thank you for sharing this charming film. And I loved seeing the architecture, too.

    1. penelopebi

      received by email:

      This story is so fabulous!
      Thank you for sharing your story, it
      brings tears to my eyes every time.

  2. PP@pimpmybricks

    Hello Penelope!

    How lovely to find you’ve now got a blog – and what a post to come in on. I’d never have thought that a film of someone else’s parents’ wedding would have me smiling for a solid 4 minutes, but this one did. They look so happy. Your mother is so beautiful. I can’t imagine how it must have felt for you to see your father blowing kisses to you (because in some way he surely was – blowing them and letting them float on the air for all those years until you found them). I wonder whether you’ve managed to lip read what they were saying…

    Thank you for sharing this – it’s wonderful.


    1. penelopebi

      What a lovely thing to say! I have asked a hearing impaired person to try to lip read. He couldn’t; but I am going to keep trying!
      I almost didn’t post it; but then I decided to! Thank you so much for your comment, and your encouragement!
      I’m also trying to find out where that hotel was! Does anyone have any idea???

  3. Marietta

    Priceless……:) XO M

  4. Karla Cool

    What a happy, beautiful couple – and so much in love!
    And how wonderful for you to see them together.
    Thank you, Penny, for sharing. (That’s one of the lovely things about you – you share the good in your life.)

  5. Nella

    Dear Penelope, what a handsome couple, and I felt like it was made just for you. How happy you must be, I can’t imagine how many emotions this is evoking in you after such a long time of wondering and wishing for a glimmer of a memory. The blowing of kisses did it for me, thank you for sharing this lovely visual.N.xoxox

  6. allison

    As the years go by, my fondness and eternal gratefulness for my parents grows. I love spending time with them and hearing old stories. I can only imagine your joy at seeing this lovely movie for the first time. What an incredible gift after all these years. I call such wonderful moments ‘God’ moments. Penelope, thank you for sharing such an incredibly private and precious gift. I’ve got to go now…I plan to call my parents just to chat and tell them I love them.

    1. penelopebi

      received by email:

      What a beautiful gift and a treasure to keep. Family means everything and is so special. I am so glad you got to see your dad moving.
      Thank you for sharing.

  7. Katie

    How lovely! What a wonderful memento (not the right word, really, because it’s so much more) for you to have–made me tear up while watching it. And I love how incredibly stylish they look. Thank you for sharing.


  8. Tara Dillard

    Beauty, kisses, love, laughter, joy.

    Did you possibly get thru this film, the first time, without tears?

    Of course these are your parents. Of course they had a child like YOU.

    You are dear to share.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

    1. penelopebi

      Tara! Tears streaming down my face the entire first time………Had to play it again…..and again……and again……..I can’t even tell you how many times I have watched it! Never without tears!
      You know!

      It is the greatest gift..I was unsure whether it was “appropriate” or some damn thing…….to share on my blog….and then I thought…..”what the hell do I have a blog for? to tell about what is important to me!” I don’t advertise……I don’t categorize……..I just “talk”! Right! ? Blogs were invented for me!!!
      So that is what I do!

      Just “talk”!

      My friend; (the best blogger when I found blogs); said……”You have something to say; so say it!”

      when I am putting your back teeth to sleep……..just write me and tell me…..my time is “up”!!!


  9. Sam Pryor

    I was deeply moved by this footage of your parents. What a treasure for you and how generous of you to share it. Your parents are elegantly and warmly beautiful/handsome, and their joy in each other and the moment is clear. Those kisses seem like they were directed to you over the ages. I may be wrong about this, since I live in Los Angeles, but the place that was filmed just struck me as possibly being in Santa Barbara, maybe the El Encanto or Biltmore. Not at all sure but you might want to check it out. Maybe I’m particularly touched by this video because I just came across a long letter from my father to me in 1968 (comparatively not so long ago) in which he opens himself up in ways he’d never shared before. Reaching back over the ages to your parents is always moving, but your journey is exceptional.

  10. Jennings & Gates: Notes from a Virginia Country House

    Oh Penelope! That is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing the video and your story. Made my day.

  11. Lynn @thevintagenest

    OMG…I sat here and watched it with a lump in my throat. I was overwhelmed so I can only imagine Penelope how you felt. What a treasure!! xoxo

  12. Susan Scheer

    Dear Penelope, I subscribed to your blog after discovering you through Brooke Gianetti,
    your parents wedding film is a beautiful gem, you are so lucky to have it!!! Susan

  13. Kathy Avakian

    Cherish your parents, love them everyday! THank you Penny, I’ve taken away a lot from this video, I’m really happy for you to have this to treasure, to see your Dad and what a kind man he must have been and your mother too! They’re are blowing kisses to you now!

  14. Thoughts on Design

    A gift from the past – now played and forever treasured.

    Thank you fro sharing,


  15. Dovecote Decor

    Penny: What a wonderful time capsule for you. Your parents seem so sweet and love to blow kisses. They look so comfortable in their own skin and with each other. As the Southerner’s say: “Bless your Mother’s heart.” How terrible for her to lose so many babies, but what a blessing to finally get you. I don’t think late babies were a scandal before BC. I have old movies of the 30’s and 40’s, in color, that my Mother took. My grandfather got her a movie camera from somebody in Hollywood. You have inspired me to post some of them. Maybe at Derby time. I have a stupendous giveaway at: Art by Karena–
    It is a beautiful faux tortoise shell chest. Spread the word.
    Blowing Kisses,

  16. velvet and linen

    Of course these are your parents! They have your personality. That is so apparent, even from a movie without sound.
    How generous of you to share such a personal treasure with all of us.
    This movie is also a reminder of the role we as parents play in the lives of our children, even when we are only memories.
    Thank you for this blessing.


    1. penelopebi

      Oh thank you, Brooke! And it is so so true!!
      What I forgot to say is that when my daughter’s children, Tommy 9 and Penelope 13; watched it, they both exclaimed, (separately) “She looks exactly like Mommy!!!” My daughter’s name is Ella, named after my mother. And it is true!!!

  17. Sandra Jonas

    Oh my goodness. How fortuitous for your aunt to have found this film.

    Your parents are beautiful and so much in love.

    I felt the floating kisses and they were definitely sent to you.

    Penny this is such a touching and heartfelt post, I can see why it took you some time to share it.

    1. penelopebi

      Oh! And it was the “demo contractor” who found it and handed it to her! Most of those guys just throw that kind of thing right in the dumpster!!! Kind of a “ghost story”; or as Allison said, a “God Moment” for sure!!! 61 years after the second film; and 77 years after it was first filmed. Miraculous!

  18. Tracey Jackson

    You shared this with the world. How wonderful. You know how I feel about this film. Your mother’s beauty and grace and your father’s elegance. How much you look like your mom and her warmth.
    Its a treasure – like you!

    1. penelopebi

      Oh Tracey! Your comment took my breath away! Thank you!
      I was so, so lucky!m And somehow; continue to be!

      And you are so brave and should be so proud to have become who you are!! As a person; and most of all………as a Great Mother!!!! You have become the “Mother” you would have wished for!!!

      And that is an enormous triumph!!!

      Parents are so important (as Brooke said) throughout our lives…..there or not there. Longing never goes away. Never. Someone in one comment said….”wishing for a memory”…that really struck me…….I have done that……”wished for a memory of my Daddie”…….and there it sailed into my world! I am so, so grateful! It was magic!

      I send you love from my heart!!!


  19. penelopebi

    via email:

    Well that was so amazing, just beautiful I don’t know you but I could imagine how you would feel. Thank you for showing that film regards Gail from Australia…ox

  20. penelopebi

    Hi there!
    Thank you for the comments via email!

    Well that was so amazing, just beautiful I don’t know you but I could imagine how you would feel. Thank you for showing that film regards Gail from Australia…ox

  21. penelopebi

    via email:

    Not cool at all!

    Why would you think it would be good to make me tear up at work? Just kidding. Love it. Really amazing to see and talks to the POWER of film.

    Thanks for sharing.

    (one of my many nephews……..who will remain nameless!)
    How divine is this?

  22. penelopebi

    via email!

    Hi Penelope,

    Yes..interiors, interiors and design!.

    You have things in common with your dad…restoring old patinas and making kodac moments move..

    This culture seems to have no models for doing grief and loss work..

    You are a role model for expressing grief and loss through your rich patinas…

    Thankyou for the memory of your parents! It helps me to appreciate mine more too!


    my answer below!

    Thank you Cathy…….that is the reason I posted it!

    I got total “cold feet”! (that hardly ever happens……you know me!)

    I thought “this isn’t about design; no one will find this interesting, and then I thought……this is “universal”! Everyone has parents…..and everyone has different memories of parents! And I just received the “most amazing ‘ blast from the past’ ; this movie…. and tears streamed down my face watching it…….and here I am 64 years old!

    Brooke said it so well…..our parents have huge impacts for the rest of our lives…..alive or not! Gosh! I was an “orphan” at 33! However, I have felt my parents with me my whole life. This discovery ,dramatic as it was, underscored what I have always felt!

    I will have to do a post about the pond almost drying up.!!!
    Everyone knows about the “pond”! It damn near dried up! Lordy!

    Poppy helped save it! another post!

  23. MaryBeth

    I can not imagine how happy this must have made you! It truly is a magical gift.

  24. Mrs. Blandings

    Penny – they are so handsome and you can see that they are so in love. All the settings are enchanting. What a treat – thanks for sharing.

  25. Bette (@Ideezine)


    What a great gift in the season of giving. We often think we have nothing left when our parents have passed. However we are so rich in the history of our own body and body language. You carry and have passed on the gifted genes of both of the lovely people who created you…your parents.

    I am often reminded of this fact when I really listen to my siblings speak and watch their getures. The voice tones come through along with the sound of their laugh or giggle, twitch of a nose, cough, sneeze, or the way one crosses their legs or ankles after one sits down.

    Thanks for sharing your rich history with all of us I bet you blow kisses just like both of your parents do. Big smile…you are so loved and blessed to be a blessing.


  26. Millie

    What an honour & a privilege to share this fantastic moment in time with you Penelope from the other side of the world! Your gorgeous Mum’s smile could have lit up the entire West coast. Like you my parents were very late to parenthood, so my time with them was very finite. But I had the most amazing Dad who each night as we sat down for dinner, looked across the table & said to my Mum in front of my sister & I, ‘I haven’t told you today I love you darling, so I’d better correct that. I LOVE YOU!!!’
    Millie xx

    1. penelopebi

      What a lovely comment……tears fall. Thank you Bette……thank you Nella……too!

      I almost didn’t post it……I am so happy I did. So many people related to it……and it brought me such joy!

      Thank you for your comments….all of you…..it was such a happy and total surprise! And it did indeed bring back my parents to me….and to my daughter….and to my grandchildren!

      Both of whom exclaimed “That looks just like Mommy!!!” ……My daughter….named Ella after my mother…..Ella in this movie! It gets no better! I am so happy I can share it!

      Thank you Brooke for encouraging =me to do a “blog” I was totally lost……and you helped me so much!

      And thank you for all of you who follow and like my blog! It is so fun!

      I will continue as long as I am telling stories that are interesting to people!

      I am really a “storyteller”…I am having fun…..but you are the ones who are making it fun!

      ps I had no idea…..but I do “blow kisses” so funny…my grandchildren all noticed this!

  27. Ann

    This is the first post I have received from you. I just wish I hadn’t put on my mascara. UGH! Teared eyes. I cannot even begin to imagine what this must have felt like but I do have a best friend who went through something similar and we always discussed what her dad must have been like. I can only imagine the joy and excitement of finding this. When I think about Thanksgiving and Christmas this is what I think about. This is the true meaning of the holidays. I’m so grateful for you that you will now how this lovely memory. What two stylish and obviously fun people.

  28. Lillian Plummer

    What a lovely stylish couple. Just beautiful! This brought a tear to my eye. How precious to be able to watch this after so long. The quality of the film is excellent.

    Love your blog and send you best wishes from down under xxx Lilly

  29. debra

    What a beautiful serendipitous gift your father has given you! How wonderful to see your parents hugging and kissing as young lovers instead of only parents. I have a photo of my parents as newly married and they did seem extremely loving and happy. Plus seeing the fashion and the architecture was just frosting on the cupcake. Thanks for sharing this lovely film.

    1. penelopebi

      It was truly serendipitous! And I do believe that my father and mother gave it to me! the oddest thing…..I didn’t realize it…..I received the CD on September the 22nd! The day of their wedding in 1934! That makes me get goose-bumps!!

  30. French Kissed

    The first time I read this post and viewed the movie I was way too teary eyed to comment, but I am back now to tell you that this is truly the most beautiful blog post I have ever seen…I can only imagine how it touched you when it has so powerfully touched all of us and you are so very generous to share it here. They say the greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother…not only does this movie give you the gift of “seeing” your father after all of these years, but it also makes it so very evident how much he loved your mother…and then his efforts to have the movie redone and leave it behind all adds up to just a remarkable love story. I am thrilled for you to have received this gift.


    1. penelopebi

      Thank you, Jermaine from the bottom of my heart!
      I have been surprised at people’s understanding and empathy for me with this “gift” which is the right word!

      The love is so obvious from both of them……and I grew up hearing from my godparents and friends of my parents…….”I never knew a man who loved his wife as much as your father did! It remained a total love affair for the 17 years they were married. I “knew” but with this; as you say, I am able to “see”! I’m still reeling about how lucky I am to have this!!!
      Thank you! We are “kindred spirits” for sure!

  31. Chic Provence

    Dear Penelope,

    I’m so glad I found your beautiful and spirited blog through Jermaine today (hi Jermaine!).. this movie is an incredible gift to you and that you shared it with us all just makes it a small part of our holidays too. I can only imagine the emotions you all had seeing this for the very first time! Your father gave you a gift through time. And I am quite certain his first blown kiss was for his future little girl… you!

    Hoping your holidays continue to shine!



  32. vignette design

    To see this film of your parent’s wedding, just one day before my own daughter’s wedding has really touched me in so many ways. We were just talking about how we should film their day, but also really hit home about the passing of time and how life is marked with these life events that need to be recorded for future generations.
    Your mom and dad look like they were so much in love. They had style and grace! The architecture, their clothing, the car, their hair–classic!
    I’m so happy you found this and happy that you shared it. I’ll admit, it brought tears to my eyes. ~Delores

  33. for the love of a house

    Dear Penelope,
    What an amazing gift indeed. I was teary through the whole video. Your handsome father reminds me of a young Jimmy Stewart!
    I can not imagine how unbelievable it was to watch this for the very first time knowing it was your father that you never knew. I, too, believe he meant it for you. My own dear father died 16 years ago and though I was lucky to have him until I was 35 I only have photographs of him. I have to rely on my “sweet memories” to envision him. I would have loved to have had a video. You are very lucky indeed.
    I know this will be a very special Christmas for you now that you can really “see” your dear daddie. Your mother was so lovely too.
    Merry Christmas!

    p.s. thank you so much for leaving me your calling card. I have had your blog on my sidebar since Brooke introduced you to me! I have visited before and enjoy your posts.

  34. Jasmina

    It is new year’s day, I’m editing my blog bookmarks, and one thing led to another and somehow I found your blog and your wonderful story and film. So moving, so poignant. There are things to be thankful for everywhere and all the time … what a gift.

  35. seo

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

  36. Vanna

    Hello Penelope!
    I just found your wonderful blog via Joni at Cote de Texas.
    I am absolutely blown away by this film of your parents! What an amazing and incredible treasure! I can only image how profoundly affected by it you must feel…..How many times have you watched?
    The love your parents feel for each other is palpable and so very intimate. I know those lovely kisses were meant for YOU!
    Thank you so much for sharing this….Miracles really do happen! Vanna

    P.S. I can see your mothers smile in your grandchildrren.

  37. penelopebi

    Hi all! Thank you all for your lovely comments! I have probably viewed this 50 times at least. One thing I finally figured out (maybe everyone else already did!)
    In the beginning outside the minister’s office, it was someone else (not my mother or father filming. I think it was probably my grandfather, because my Granny was there in the pictures.

    But the rest of the movie, I am now positive they were filming each other. And talking to each other. My father filmed my mother and her cousin EVE (in riding clothes) and then Eve filmed my mother and father in that dark room) But in the car, and walking on the walkway, they were filming each other.

    I have been told that the best way to have someone read lips is to find someone who has been deaf since birth.

    A teacher of my granddaughter has an artist friend who will do this!

    I will keep you posted if he is successful !

    This recent realization has touched me even more deeply!!

    Thank you all so very much!!

  38. karen

    I randomly found your blog and just as randomly clicked on this entry.
    Quite simply: Superlative!!
    Your parents look like movie stars from that era, and your mother’s walk? to die for!
    How fantastic to have this piece of family history “to have and to hold from this day forward.”
    I’m thoroughly emjoying your blog although I don’t typically look at interior design sites. I like that you post more about life than material goods, so I know I’ll check in again!

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