Red Balloons and Rain Hats

When We lived in Amsterdam, we got used to the rain and clouds. There was no other choice. I remember during the first winter in Amsterdam we kept track on our calendars the number of rainy days in a row…and it turned out to be over three-week’s worth.

Then the sun would suddenly appear and the entire city would come out of hiding to bask in the fresh light. Offices shut down, canal side cafe`s filled up. It was like a perfect magic trick.

Yesterday evening as I stepped off the T at Copley Square I was reminded of that feeling as I stepped into sunlight for the first time in over a week. I stopped dead in my tracks and turned my face to the sun and took my rain hat off. Others around me did the same.

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Do you remember movies or film strips you watched in elementary school? Who remembers the 1956 film The Red Balloon (Le Ballon Rouge)?


I think I saw that in the third grade and remember weeping afterwards. When the bullies pop the balloon… it’s so sad! OK, I am a sap. Always have been apparently.

There was another film I remember, but not quite as distinctly. The story took place on another planet, one where it rained all the time. Only one day of the year was sunny and all the people rejoiced and celebrated this day. The story focused on a group of schoolchildren who were cutting out flowers and suns in preparation for the big day; they were all so excited and happy since the sun was soon to come out. Then a group of bullies thought it would be funny to lock away one of the other children while they were just playing around. They forgot about her as the sun came out and ran out to play in the flowers and light.

When they returned and realized they caused her to miss the one big happy day of the year, they all felt terrible and one by one the students gave their freshly cut flowers to the little girl, who just stood there with tears streaking down her face.

God. It was SO sad. It still breaks my heart, the few images I can remember from this film. Funny that when we don’t see the sun for a while, I always think about that movie I saw probably 25 years ago.

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