Thursday, November 3, 2016

Christmas in October

Spontaneity is not something we practice often but as I was looking at our calendar, I noticed that there was an opening between medical appointments and other commitments where we could possibly squeeze in a few days away before the winter weather arrives. The window of opportunity would be two days away. George had really wanted to see the new Ark Encounter and so I suggested, "why don't we do it?" We also had a couple of other sights in the area that we wanted to see and so, within 44 hours of suggesting the trip, we had made necessary arrangements at home, packed all the necessities--clothes for temperatures from 50-80 degrees, cooler, snacks, medicines and other toiletries and books to read and all the other things to last almost a week away from home.

Our destination was over 800 miles away and not being so young, we had to chop the journey into a couple of days. Our first day of driving ending in Clarion, PA. We were sure to have picked up the hotel coupon books at the rest areas and we got discounted rates at every place we stayed. Of course taxes were high but only one place did we pay over $80 after taxes, the rest were under $80. This first night at Park Inn, I had to take a pretty picture of this indoor corridor where all the rooms opened up to the courtyard with the pool on the opposite side. Too bad for us, the pool was out of order but would be fixed the next day. This looks like a wonderful place to have a wedding reception where everyone's room would overlook the party area.

By Saturday we arrived at our first destination. Let me first say, we are huge fans of the movie, "The Christmas Story". We knew that there was a house in Cleveland where some of the filming took place and had been turned into a tourist spot. I can't tell you how much fun it was to enter the house and to know that it was filmed there. In the house, they had chosen props as close to authentic as possible. As many real props as they could acquire were in the museum across the street. Because the props were not authentic in the house, we were allowed to "play" with them.

The mailbox where Ralphie received the Orphan Annie Secret Society Decoder pin.

 "My mother was about to make another brilliant maneuver in the legendary battle of the lamp. The epic struggle which follows lives in the folklore of Cleveland Street to this very day."
The docent told us that you can tell what scenes in the movie were filmed here as opposed to the set in Canada. If you can see outside the windows during a scene, it was definitely filmed here.

Hidden behind the desk.

Couldn't resist.

A replica of the major award. I asked and they said there was no glue in the house.
"Frageelay, it must be Italian!"
Stairs Ralphie came down in the bunny pjs.
Boys' bedroom.

Mom's sewing room.
"Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. My personal preference was for Lux, but I found Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor - heady, but with just a touch of mellow smoothness. Life Buoy, on the other hand..."

No comment!

Love the little details they included, even in the bathroom.
The turkey before the incident.

"How do little piggy's eat?"
"My brother had not eaten voluntarily in three years."

The cupboard Randy hid in because, "Daddy's going to kill Ralphie."
The back door.  The outdoor scenes were filmed here.


The shed, especially memorable in the dream sequence where Ralphie was fighting bad guys.

In the yard next door, where you could park your car for $5.00, there were two dogs who had a slight resemblance to the Bumpus's dogs. I wonder if they were descendants.

The museum across the street is small but jam packed with memorabilia from the movie and the filming in town at that time. Unfortunately there is no leg lamp left from the movie. But there is the Red Ryder BB gun.

"I can't put my arms down!"

School scenes were actually filmed at a school in Canada.
The firetruck had to be called to the flagpole scene.
"Oh fudge!"
"Some men are Baptists, others Catholics; my father was an Oldsmobile man."

The gift shop was eye candy for aficionados of "The Christmas Story". They had anything and everything imaginable in honor of the movie. It was fun looking at all the souvenirs.

In adult size too!
These were Christmas ornaments of the leg lamp. We will often buy ourselves a Christmas ornament to remind us of our vacations and so we had to buy one of these.

As soon as we had heard there was a Christmas Story house, we knew we wanted to see it. It was on our "bucket list" for many years. It didn't disappoint us at all, but the movie is special to our family and it may not be as exciting for others, but for us, it was so much fun. It did appear that everyone there was having a good time. I must add here, that I had to include quotes from the movie, as I am also a fan to the wonderful way with words that Jean Shepherd had when he told a story.

Next blog post will be our next stop on this same day. Stay tuned...

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