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Valentine

Citizen Kane lay on his deathbed and uttered his last word, “Rosebud.” This is an enigma to those who hear it. But the magic that is motion pictures reveals the longing for those joys of secure childhood play. A simple toy — a sled — is what this man of wealth and power remembers as he dies. And where did Citizen Kane go after he died? It is Valentine’s day and Eudemon and his love decide to see a film. They get in the car and drive the busy streets of Milwaukee’s center. Down Center Street they go. Many would get on the freeway and avoid the scene of the central city. “The freeway, what a misnamed assault,” Eudemon thinks. The news is of repair and “modernizing” the freeway to the tune of six plus billion dollars. This is “progress,” the suburbanites say. That is disgusting. This allows us to turn our backs on our history.” So many commercial buildings now shuttered is the scene they see as they drive. Over to North Avenue and just into Wauwatosa the scene changes. An old neighborhood with commerce still brightening the street. An unpretentious movie theater with a single screen is glowing in the night, Rosebud. At 6823 W. North Ave., somehow the Rosebud, through a change of name and by offering food and drink, has managed to survive in the age of suburban multiplexes sitting out next to the freeways. The owner welcomes them and sells them tickets and on this day, gives them a long-stemmed rose. Eudemon and his love are hungry and opt to order a sandwich and a pitcher of beer. The food will be delivered to their table later. They take their cups and beer and find a couch, a black velvet couch with a small table near, to sit and enjoy the film, food and drink. Eudemon finds this arrangement most comfortable. Loveseats and couches and stuffed chairs fill the theater and soon they are mostly filled with patrons. The Hours, a film about three women living in different time periods is showing. Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is living with her husband and son in a sunny California suburb after WWII and reading a book by Virginia Woolf, “Mrs. Dalloway.” Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is living in a suburb of London in the early 1920s and writing this same book. Somehow these women’s’ lives come together in contemporary Manhattan, where Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is struggling to find meaning in her own life and relationships. Eudemon liked the film and its message of interconnected lives and difficult choices. Driving home he spoke about one scene in particular. Virginia Woolf lived with her husband in a suburban estate with a large garden. Her sister came to visit from London with her children, two boys and a little girl. While in the garden, the children discover a dead bird. The little girl is distressed by this happenstance. Virginia suggests that the children gather twigs and leaves for a soft bier for the bird. The little girl asks, where do we go after we die? Virginia answers, to the place where we have come from. “But I don’t remember where I came from,” says the little girl. Virginia answers that neither does she. Virginia lays her head on the ground and stares at the dead little bird. The screen fills with the image of the dead bird’s head as large as a Buick. And where has Mrs. Dalloway gone now? Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 3 – March 2003
by Eudemon