My wonderful surprise! A reprise for Mother's Day!!!

by Posted On


I ran this last year on Mother’s Day, and for anyone who didn’t see it, you might enjoy it!!

I had a wonderful 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!  Those who have seen it can push “delete!!


Now we begin the original post……..shortly after we discovered this film!!   (78 years after it was filmed!!!):

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!

After they left for the hotel, they were filming each other and talking to each other!

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.

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 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!!!

My Mommies Wedding

24 thoughts on “My wonderful surprise! A reprise for Mother's Day!!!

  1. Marietta

    Sending you a hug and lots of love…..

  2. Thoughts on Design

    I remember reading your original post with tears in my eyes. My Mom tells me that somewhere in our house in Dryden there is a film of her and Dad on their wedding day. I hope someday to find it.


  3. Kathy Avakian

    …and you inherited your parents good looks too!

  4. Victoria Athens

    I enjoyed watching your film so much, Penelope. Your parents were so elegant and beautiful. I know what you mean about watching them move. I recently had some old films converted to disc and had the pleasure of sharing those memories with my children.

    My father died when I was 22, just months after my oldest son was born. The films showed me at my sweet sixteen party. All my family was there and I was able to “introduce” them to my children. They loved seeing me, my sister, my mother and grandparents when we were much younger. There were films of my son when he was an infant which we all enjoyed, especially since my son is now a father of an infant son who is miniature copy of him. It was so wonderful to see the family “alive” again.

    Your parents looked so much in love, and what a treat it is to see that tenderness between them that you were too young to recall.
    Yes, this was a wonderful gift.

    All the best…Victoria

    1. penelopebi

      What a wonderful idea! I adore that! “Introducing your family members to your parents……et al. It is brilliant , actually!

      Everyone should search around for old “home movies” there is no telling what you might find!


  5. kim porter

    Oh Penelope that was so beautiful, thank you so much for sharing that wonderful moment! With tears in my eyes I was reminded of how quickly life passes…I also saw the incredible happiness in your moms smile! They are probably still sending you kisses to this day!!!
    The very best to you! kim

  6. Heather

    Oh my. The tears were rolling even before I started the film and now! Waterworks! How incredibly moving and how generous of spirit that you shared this with us. I don’t know you at all Penelope (although I did get to talk with you on the phone briefly!) but that generosity is what seems to be such a marked characteristic in you and I could catch glimpses of it in your parents as well. I love that you have the exact same gorgeous smile as your Mom. Like Victoria above, it is also so clear that they were just over the moon for each other and so excited about the life that they were building. You really must have been a miracle child for them both!

    Sending a warm hug your way,

    1. penelopebi

      Thank you. I have no other words. This comes from my heart to you. Thank you. You sweet girl. How lucky I was to have those parents!

      I have felt I was “special: my whole life! It was they who instilled that in me! What a gift!!


  7. Dovecote Decor

    Its such a different time isn’t it? Your parents gave you the gift that keeps on giving and that is love. You share it with your family and readers, and it never ends. Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. penelopebi

      And to you too! What a wonderful ‘RELATIVE” to find around the blogosphere…….it really shows it isn’t a “small world” it is a “small beach” did I tell you that one????

  8. Judith

    Beautiful post. I could not add to the comments anove except to say I agree with them all. Your parents were beautiful people and so in love! The photos I see of you do so remind me of your Mother. You are so fortunate to have that film and thanks for sharing it with all of us.

    1. penelopebi

      Thank all of you……every single one…..for your lovely and sensitive posts……I hesitated……but then ; “Mother’s Day”

      Just swept me in to honoring mine

      thank you for your lovely comments……..I touched something in you who wrote…….Mother-daughter stories are legion……….and fraught with minefields.

      I was extremely lucky to be born to my mother. LUCKY!!
      Thank you for the lovely, lovely comments…….honestly……the most wonderful comments ever!!!


  9. Tara Dillard

    Your film has stuck with me since you first posted it. Those KISSES !!!

    My mother recently said someone gave her a film clip of her/dad from their wedding. It was a few days before my dad died.

    Haven’t been brave enough to ask my mom about it, and watch it.

    Cannot begin to imagine the emotions for you with your parent’s film.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

    1. penelopebi

      Oh Tara! You MUST!!! Something might happen to it! Can you imagine? This was filmed 78 years ago; the first time. My father had it put on more modern film 16 years after it was originally filmed…….and by complete accident……it appears 78 years later!

      YIKES!! You are right about the emotions………Lordy! But it is such a gift…….the greatest ever!

      Please, oh please!!! Just get it! If you have mixed emotions…….you don’t have to watch it right away! Just get it! I wish I had known about this years ago. I have watched it so many times! and my grandchildren have giggled with glee and said…….”that looks just like Mommy”!

      (My daughter who is named after my mother Ella!!!)

      Just get it! Oh please!


      1. penelopebi

        Tara; you are so right……those kisses! I feel them every single day!

        I am so delighted that so many love this little film. I almost didn’t put it on here! I think everyone who is sensitive and on our wave length enjoyed this! I hope so!

    2. penelopebi

      I think emotions let loose; free you as nothing else can!!

      Please watch it!!


      Oh, boy, did I see a “Tara garden”! I took pictures……..(I really do not know how….) but I have never seen “magic” like this. Not ever. I took pictures. I will try a blog.


  10. lissy parker

    I loved the film-so stylish. What a fun find for you. Hope your day was wonderful.
    xo, Lissy

  11. ...laney...

    …joy…asbsolute joy…but then that is what love is…if you have not done so…i would encourage you to have someone who can read lips watch the film…then you could have their joyful words too…and yes…they were indeed blowing kisses to you…and their grandchildren too…blessings…laney

    1. penelopebi

      Thank you for saying this……..I have been searching for someone who can “read lips” I have been told that people who are “deaf from birth” are best at this; I continue the search. You have described it perfectly “joy” and my grandchildren see it again and again…..and see their mother!!

      What an astonishing gift! Thank you!!!

  12. ...laney...

    …dear one…try asking at a nearby church…they may have a deaf ministry…i know we do at our church…blessings again…laney

    1. penelopebi

      Of course! I actually was a “tutor” at Clarke School for the Deaf” in Northampton , Mass. when I was in boarding school there!

      Thank you!!

  13. noreen

    Dear Penny,
    i have only been following your blog for a very short time (via Velvet & Linen) What a wonderful treasure you so generously shared. Your beautiful parents were so much in love! What a legacy you have there.
    Best wishes

  14. EmilyUK

    Oh Penelope! This was so wonderful! Marietta told me how special this was and I had to see for myself. That smile is just like Ella and I see you in your father. What a special and wonderful thing to have.

    1. penelopebi

      Thank you, you sweet and wonderful creature!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Gallery  -    Blog  - Press -  Contact