A Trip Down Memory Lane

The holiday season here starts Christmas Eve when Dubrovnik television station (which broadcasts the webcam of our Stradun) plays nonstop holidays songs.  And so it came to be on Christmas Day I indulged in of my favorite pastimes, watching old movies. My favorite trip down memory lane.  One of the best parts of these old movies are the costumes, many of which were designed by one of Hollywood’s creative geniuses, Edith Head.

Of course there were several holiday themed movies on my local station and I was thrilled that I could view, once again, White Christmas.  This 1954 film stars Bing Crosby, Vera Ellen, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney.  (For the younger generation, she was George’s aunt).  Did you know that the title song White Christmas sung by Bing Crosby is the most popular song ever released, with over one hundred million versions sold to date?  Munching on popcorn with Abby at my feet waiting for some to drop and a glass of red wine, my Christmas day was a joyful event.  It certainly goes without saying that I probably have watched this movie so often that I can recite many lines, but it is so worth the experience to indulge in the memories of the clothing from that era.  The costuming of the finale rates as one of my many favorites, a perfect ending to a special holiday movie.

White Christmas Finale

White Christmas Finale

Some might say that I indulged in a short nap, but I was only resting my eyes (really!)  And my mind wandered back to that time. In the 50s I had finally became a teenager and the family made a trip to Europe.  My parents and I spent five days crossing the Atlantic on the original Queen Elizabeth in early August, planning to visit family on the Dalmatian coast for the next three months.  It was my parent’s first return to their birthplace since immigrating to the United States in 1927 and my very first trip to this land that beckoned me ever since.  We landed in Cherbourg on the coast of France and took the train for a short overnight in Paris.  A day of sightseeing in Paris included many wonderful places and it was also my first glimpse of the vespasienne (Parisian outdoor urinals).  I also wondered why our hotel had a foot bath, which my parents could not quite explain to me.

Paris Vespasienne the only one still in use today

Paris Vespasienne the only one still in use today

Then we boarded the Simplon Orient Express train with a private room for the overnight to Venice. I did not know then that this train and its route was an important part of European history.  Many, many years later I was privileged to make the trip from Venice to Paris on the same refurbished train.  It was a very nostalgic experience as I gazed out at the wonders of the Italian and Swiss Alps, remembering the trip of my youth.

Venice Simplon Orient Express, a luxurious experience

Venice Simplon Orient Express, a luxurious experience

After another overnight trip on the Adriatic Cruise’s small transfer ship from Venice, my parents and I disembarked in Dubrovnik, our final destination.  I have many strong memories of those three months: swimming in the azure Adriatic, visiting family, becoming fluent in Croatian.  English was spoken by a very few in those days and it became apparent I could learn easily and quickly.

Dubrovnik peskarija at night

Dubrovnik peskarija at night

Back then Dubrovnik was a very small village and most of the residents knew that Americans were visiting.  While strolling along the Peskarija (old port) we noticed a youngster following us.  Father asked his name and age.  “Ivo,” he replied and “I am nine years old.” That was the very first time I met Ivo…the rest is history.


16 thoughts on “A Trip Down Memory Lane

  1. I do envy you the Orient Express! Nice to hear you sounding so settled these days. 🙂 Sorry I don’t visit more often but the ‘Like’ emails arrive in my Inbox without a link to your site, so I have to come looking (or spot you on my infrequent visits to the Reader 🙂 ) Very best wishes for 2016!

    • Thank you for visiting, even infrequently. I enjoy writing and sharing my stories. Still waiting for you to visit down our way, perhaps this year. Happy New Year, may 2016 grant you all you desire.

  2. Your posts are so delightful to read. Our family spent part of 1970 living within the walls of the Stari Grad, and it was a magical experience. I have returned repeatedly and even with all the changes, Dubrovnik never loses its charm.

  3. Very well written! I read it with a tear in my eye. Hard to believe that you and Ivo met so young!

    • Thank you Faith, it is interesting how life often comes full circle. Neither of us was interested in each other in those days, it took almost 60 years later.

  4. Ditto on the movie’s ending set! Still watch it every year also, as many of our generation do. Happy New Year dear friend. Carole in El Dorado, CA

    • Happy New Year dear Carole, my wishes for you to have a great year. Love those old movies, I get to see them here often. Thank you for being such a loyal reader.

  5. I came to ‘bring’ you brand new New Year as it will arrive on my shores in an hour!

    Wishing you all the best in 2016 and beyond!

  6. Dear Carol,

    it has been a while since I have seen any post from you. I hope this finds you doing well. I happen to be going thru some special emails I save from time to time. This was one that touched my heart. Hard to believe it has almost been a year ago. I’m sorry Ivo won’t be with you this holiday season, but I’m sure he and Bing will both be there in spirt! Happy Holidays and I do hope you are well.

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