Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 19, 2008

The Secret Life of Bees and Other Wonders

My friend Pat’s cold kept her from having chemo this week, but the good news is she feels well enough to have lunch with me and see The Secret Life of Bees today. The movie is based on a novel she lent me, and that we both love, about the power of sisters, mothers, and friends, in all their various shapes. It’s a dream come true for me to see the movie with a friend who’s been like a sister to me with another good friend, Mary Beth.

The novel’s author, Sue Monk Kidd, inspires me. The Secret Life of Bees in set in 1964, back when I was in fourth grade and wore white gloves to church, at least on Easter, or at least when I could find them. Other memories from that year include being shot down at the spelling bee while Mrs. Shaw had the class chant r-E-c-E- IVE. I must have missed the day she taught that chant, but now I can’t spell that word without it in my mind. Then there were the multiplication tables, after which life got better.

My friend Pat grew up outside of Detroit, and an African American woman named Anna helped her mom care for her and her slew of Irish Catholic sisters. When an older sister got married, Pat remembers someone telling her father that Anna was not welcome in their church. Pat’s father said… something… and Anna sat in the front row with the family. Slowly, things do change.

The leaves are falling, but I’ll see some great colors as I drive. Yesterday I took both dogs, the good and the not-so-good, but cute, for a walk. Here they are, kindly, and uncharacteristically, posing.



  1. Sounds wonderful!
    Please give Pat a big hug for me.

  2. I was planning on giving that hug from you, which I know you always send. And I know she’ll be sending one back!

  3. Where did you grow up? I love reading about your childhood memories!
    Have a wonderful time at the movies.

  4. They saw the cat photo, didn’t they, and decided to show you they could “do” still? 🙂
    They chanted at you when you MISSED the word? Geez! No wonder the chant is still in your head.
    Another movie I need to see.

  5. Thanks, Melodye, we did enjoy the movie. I grew up in Massachusetts, about 40 miles from where I live now. Glad you enjoy the second hand memories. Except maybe not those chanting fourth graders obsessed about how to spell receive. (which I had to retype; apparently, I still tremble.)

  6. The dogs will turn when called, but I think if you could see thought bubbles over them it would be. “You called? And so… is there a treat in this for me?” As soon as they saw no, they went on their merry way.
    Yeah, it felt like a horror show. We had to stand up on by that wall when we blew the multiplication tables, too. Okay, it wasn’t being strapped with a willow switch, but I’m for a kinder gentler way.

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