This time of year there are a lot of old black and white and/or "technicolor" movies on the television (White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, etc). All these old holiday movies take me back to watching the movie "Neptune's Daughter" with Esther Williams when she sings "Baby It's Cold Outside" with Ricardo Montalbán.
You see, many of my breaks from school (including winter break) were spent at my paternal Grandmother's house. My Grandma is a huge Esther Williams fan and we would watch all her old black and white films in a movie marathon over hot cocoa and popcorn. Esther Williams was a famous swimmer back in the 1940s and then became an MGM movie star with starring roles opposite Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Ricardo Montalbán, Cary Grant, Gene Kelly, and Frank Sinatra. Many of her movies included musical and synchronized swimming scenes. I just found her fascinating. Not only was she a movie star, she was a multi-talented woman paving the way for future female Olympians and Hollywood actresses.
Many of my summers were also spent with my Grandmother either at Ronkonkoma Lake or Smithpoint Beach where she would teach me the ins and outs of swimming. My Grandmother was an excellent swimmer herself. Growing up in the city, she would swim across the Hudson with her sister just for fun. In looking at old photos of my Grandmother, I could see many other similarities between she and Esther Williams. The classy hairstyle, the reddish/brown hair, and even her stature. One word comes to mind: glamorous. My maternal Grandmother's old photos also made her look like a Hollywood starlet. It must have been wonderful living in that time period.