Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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When I was so young, there was only one digit in my age (less than 10 years old) Sister Debbie, Marsha Hagberg and I went to see THE BEST scary movie ever–

13 Ghosts!

You really need to watch this wonderful movie for the first time when you’re too young to realize how hokey it is. After all, it was filmed in Illusion-O and you got free ghost viewers! (Wish I still had mine.)

We three girls saw it when we were young enough to be delightfully scared to death. We watched most of it from between our fingers. (Tell me what’s happening!)

The three of us watched The Wolfman, The Mummy, Dracula and Frankenstein the same way and loved every minute of it.

I still love all those great Halloween movies, but 13 Ghosts will always be my favorite. (G-Man doesn’t get it, but I think it missed it the first time it came out. Poor guy.)  

I know there have been other, truly frightening movies made since the “greats” such as Halloween, Friday the 13th and some of those other blood dripping, stomach turning films, but they’re too true to life. The really good ones have absolutely no truck with reality. (A man who turns into a bat and back again? Really?)

And isn’t having fun and setting aside reality what Halloween is really about?

Which kind of Halloween movies do you like best?


I Love a Rainy . . . Anything


Did you ever have a memory hit you so hard right out of the blue, you could practically smell it? That happened to me yesterday, when I was leaving Sister Debbie’s house.

The rain was pouring down, and since I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the rain, I wandered out to my car without worrying about getting wet. Sister D lives in the house Grandmother built, which is right next door to the house we grew up in. (Sister Cindy lives in that house.)

It’s an old neighborhood (nearly as old as I am!) so the curbs aren’t the hump kind that you’d normally think of next to a street. They’re a scoopy kind, shaped a little like a lazy J. I imagine the scoopy curb was used so the water would run off the road and into the curb so it could all go to the big puddle at the end of the street. 🙂

Yesterday, when I went to my car, that scoopy curb was running full and childhood memories came flooding back.

When we were kids, Mama always bought us raincoats


and rubber boots


that fit over our shoes to wear to school. One year, the coat she bought me was exactly like the coat my friend’s mama bought for her. I thought we looked like pink butterflies in them, so I made up a song that we danced to about us butterflies. LOL. I ended it with us flying south for the winter. (I couldn’t let my pink butterflies just die, could I?)

Our front porch was a big one that looked like a stage, so we performed our song and dance for anyone in the neighborhood who wanted to come. The audience consisted of our parents. But hey! They liked it.

When it rained, we nearly always waded in the water. (What are rubber boots for, anyway?) Once, when my mom had given me a permanent (WHY she gave the kid with the curliest hair in town a perm, I have no idea) it was raining when we got out of school.

I usually walked home with one of my friends and her mom came by to pick her up and offered me a ride. “No thanks. I want to walk in the rain.” Her tattle-tale mom called my mom as soon as she got home to tell on me. 😦 My mom wasn’t happy, probably because her daughter wasn’t smart enough to come in out of the rain.

“I just wanted to try out my new raincoat. Why are you mad?”

“Because, you probably ruined your new perm!”

I’m not sure how she figured that, but I was in trouble for maybe five minutes.


Another time, Sister Debbie and I walked in the rain from the downtown movie theater to Mrs. Shriner’s house for Piano Club. Right after that, Sister D and I came down with the measles, and Mom wasn’t happy with us.

“You probably made your measles worse by walking in the rain.” That didn’t stop her from reading “Tom Sawyer” to us while we were sick, though. (She’d been told measles make your eyes weak, so she wouldn’t let us read to ourselves while we were ill.)

I loved wading in the mud next to Grandmother’s house in the warm summer rain. (Yep, I got in trouble again.)

The strongest memory though is a summertime rainstorm, walking barefoot in the water, sluicing down the scoopy curb, as the water splashed over my ankles.

I don’t remember being too strict with my kids when it came to rain and puddles. (They might have other memories, though.)

So, rainy day memories?





Bye-Bye Shirley

Can you believe Shirley Temple died? 😦

baby shirleyHow sad is that.

Of course, she didn’t look like a two year old anymore.4637690_l2But Baby Shirley was adorable. Wasn’t she?

Shirley Temple 18 months

I don’t know much about Shirley, so this isn’t the story of her life. I just liked her movies.


She was usually an orphan and had a heart rending life, but she had such a great attitude, everyone loved her, except the bad guy. And who wants to be loved by the bad guy?

This is from IMDB:

Shirley Temple was easily the most popular and famous child star of all time. She got her start in the movies at the age of three and soon progressed to super stardom. Shirley could do it all: act, sing and dance and all at the age of five! Fans loved her as she was bright, bouncy and cheerful in her films and they ultimately bought millions of dollars worth of products that had her likeness on them. Dolls, phonograph records, mugs, hats, dresses, whatever it was, if it had her picture on there they bought it. Shirley was box-office champion for the consecutive years 1935-36-37-38, beating out such great grown-up stars as Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford. By 1939, her popularity declined. Although she starred in some very good movies like Since You Went Away (1944) and the The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947), her career was nearing its end. Later, she served as an ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. It was once guessed that she had more than 50 golden curls on her head.

– IMDb Mini Biography By:  Ken Severson

My favorite of Shirley’s grownup movies was Fort Apache with John Wayne and Shirley’s first husband, John Agar.

As for her best movies, I can’t think of my favorite. I loved the one where she sang On the Good Ship Lollipop.

I loved Heidi!

I loved The Littlest Rebel and Curly Top and all her movies.

I was so disappointed when I found out she wasn’t a little girl like me. Instead, she was a grown up lady, older than my dad!

Did you like Shirley when you were a kid?

Do you still watch her movies?

What’s your favorite Shirley Temple movie?


The Christmas Candle

Yesterday afternoon, G-Man and I went to see “THE CHRISTMAS CANDLE.”

On a scale of 0-5 stars, I give it an even 10!


It’s probably the very best Christmas Movie of the Season!

The book the movie was made from was written by Max Lucado. (I ordered the book last night.)

51HWQuvOvGL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-60,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I borrowed this picture from Amazon. I’m looking forward to reading it!

And I saw the script writers/producers on the local news last week, and I believe it said they went to school at Victory Christian School in Tulsa!

That’s why it’s showing in Tulsa now when it opens nation wide on November 22nd. (And Tulsa is very special!) 🙂

image1These pictures come from The Christmas Candle website.

I wish I could show you a picture of the village where the story is set. I want to visit! (Whether it’s real or not.)

The story was great, the acting fantastic, and best of all was Susan Boyle, the singer. Oh, my stars! God gave that woman a great talent. It was wonderful to hear her sing! Worth the price of admittance just to listen to her.

image2When we got home, I looked up some of the actors who looked familiar. The man here (the Candle Maker) has played Dr. Who as The Doctor (Voice). I’m not sure what that means, but I was impressed! 🙂

image12I’m feeling Christmassy already.

One man who has a pivotal role in the movie looked so familiar. He isn’t on the website but I looked him up on IMDB. Here he is–

MV5BMTk4Nzk0NjA5OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjM2NDA4MQ@@__V1_SY317_CR10,0,214,317_John Hannah

He’s Rachel Weisz’s brother in “The Mummy.” In “The Christmas Candle,” he’s a man, dying with consumption who’s not worried about himself. He’s concerned about his nephew who doesn’t speak and his daughter who has lost her faith.

He does such a good job, I felt like I knew him. Or should know him.


The Christmas Candle is a beautiful, very well made movie with Christian values. I love having movies like this available and want to support them as often as I can.

I want to buy the video as soon as it’s available so I can watch it every year. It’ll be another one of my Christmas Traditions!

Have you seen CC? What was your favorite part?

If you haven’t, do you plan to?

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Did you ever see the movie, “Splendor in the Grass” staring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty?

It’s a movie I heard of when I was a kid, but my mama wouldn’t let me see. (I think she heard it was naughty. She didn’t actually see it.)

As an adult, I’ve seen it several times. Not because Mama told me not to. (Well, that’s not the only reason. 🙂  )

I watched it again today. (Sunday.)

Over the years, I’ve learned some great truths from watching it.

  1. The movie is not really dirty.
  2. The characters are way too real–and down deep most aren’t very nice. (Maybe that’s why Mama didn’t want me to see it.)
  3. Parents don’t always know what’s best for their children, even though they want what’s best.
  4. Love can drive you crazy. (It made Deanie a raving lunatic in the movie.)

Whenever I think of movies my mama didn’t want me to watch, I remember Peyton Place. Just saying the title out loud makes me duck and wait to be smacked.

I learned some truths there, too.

  1. The movies really isn’t dirty. (The book is worse. Yep, I read it, too.)
  2. The characters are way too real. Some are nice and some aren’t.
  3. Parents don’t always know what’s best for the kiddos. Sometimes, they don’t even always want what’s best. (That’s kind of true to life sometimes, too.)
  4. Love doesn’t drive anyone crazy, but it drives them away before they can come back home again.

Maybe I read things into movies that aren’t there or that other people don’t see. But I’m a romance writer. We have a legal right to do that.