Harold & Maude – And me, too.

If you’ve been reading along you know that I was off to California to spend Thanksgiving with my grandson and his parents (my daughter and her hubby)… oh, about three days ago.

A funny thing happened on the way to the airport. And when I say “funny” I actually mean “horrifying”…

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual.

Let’s begin with the “Massive Snowstorm” that began the day before I was to leave. Not all snowstorms are as massive as the news indicates but this one was! While no, I do not live in Buffalo and was not flying out of Buffalo (thank God!), I DO live in a neighbo(u)ring area on the western (Canadian) side of the border (hence the “u” in neighboring).

Slight digression: It always seems like Buffalo is south (below us) because the United States is down there. In fact, some of the states are above us. Go figure. The point being, we were in the path of the storm, kinda, and got the lake effect snow to go with it.

Therefore, I was heading out of 28-degree weather and flying into 80-degree weather. Summer parka and boots, anyone?

The worst of the storm was supposed to stop by the next day… the day I was flying.

My plane was taking off at 9am which meant we got up at 5am and were on the road by 5:30 to get to the airport in Toronto by 7am.

That was the plan, anyway.

It was a white-knuckle(ing) trip, what with ice on the highway (which is like a freeway), flurries, wind, fog, and being in the dark. We’d heard that halfway around the lake (for that is how you get from where we live to where we were going. It’s lakeside, all the way) the weather was clear… so we took a deep breath and prayed things cleared soon.

We’d just gotten out of our city (a normal 7-minute drive that took 15 minutes – we were driving in ruts made by trucks ahead – it was Sunday morning, so not much traffic) when a semi drove by and a chunk of ice flew off his truck and onto our windshield.

Good news: It didn’t shatter our windshield

Bad news: It shattered the passenger windshield wiper, which flew off the car.

Picture this: Me crying, my husband shaking, his windshield wiper barely keeping up with the snow, salt, and sand flying up from cars passing us, and my side covered in the before-mentioned snow, salt, and sand that is now freezing over on the windshield. Oh, and half a broken rod scraping wildly and scratching the glass.

Obviously, we had to pull over. Sidestreets are unplowed and vacant, which was a good thing. We lifted the offending rod which was standing at attention and flopping back and forth while the other wiper worked. Cleaned the passenger side window. We knew it should be clear ahead… and kept going. It was clear… until it wasn’t.

The snow started back up and the highway was again slick with ice and getting slicker. And we couldn’t see at all through my side of the windshield.

There was no choice. My heart was broken.

We turned around and spent another hour-plus getting home. The rest of that story is unimportant. You know, the part about calling the airline, crying on the phone with my daughter, and going back to bed because after all that we were exhausted.

So, the rest of the day and into yesterday is kind of a blur. I didn’t even unpack or anything. Just parked (or rather kept) my hiney in bed all day scrolling my phone, playing Candy Crush, and feeling sorry for myself.

Then, the movie Harold & Maude popped up on my screen, you know, in one of those “You may be interested in…” thingies on YouTube.

I started reading about it. And here, my friends and readers, I must insert a…


for two things in particular: Suicide and suicide ideation

I promise: I will not delve deeply into the triggering part of the story.

The film is from 1971, for crying out loud! I’d never seen it… and why would I? I was 13 years old when it came out and I can guarantee you it would have been nowhere near the kind of thing I’d have gravitated to – – NOWHERE near.

But once again, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Based on a book by Colin Higgins, it is the story of the relationship between 19-year-old Harold, who has a bit of an obsession with death, and Maude, a 79-year-old woman he meets at a funeral.

This will be one of the rare times I share the Amazon synopsis because it says exactly what needs to be said. My thoughts (and how – it ties into my own life – will follow):

Nineteen-year-old Harold Chasen is obsessed with death. He fakes suicides to shock his self-obsessed mother, drives a hearse, and attends funerals of complete strangers. Seventy-nine-year-old Maude Chardin, on the other hand, adores life. She liberates trees from city sidewalks and transplants them to the forest, paints smiles on the faces of church statues, and “borrows” cars to remind their owners that life is fleeting— here today, gone tomorrow! A chance meeting between the two turns into a madcap, whirlwind romance, and Harold learns that life is worth living, and how to play the banjo.

Harold and Maude started as Colin Higgins’s master’s thesis at UCLA film school before being made into the 1971 film directed by Hal Ashby. The quirky, dark comedy gained a loyal cult following, and in 1997 it was selected for inclusion on the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. Higgins’s novelization was released with the original film but has been out of print for more than thirty years. Fans who have seen the movie dozens of times will find this a valuable companion, as it gives fresh elements to watch for and answers many of the film’s unresolved questions. (Link)

I started watching late last night, expecting to get tired and finishing up tonight.

But I couldn’t stop watching! It was…

Riveting, horrifying, at times hilarious, and… beautiful.

Oh, and icky, too.

Icky not because Ruth Gordon was an old woman when she played the part (she was fantastic!) but because Bud Cort (the young man who played Harold) felt way – as in way – younger than the 19-year-old he was portraying.

I was like… should he be driving?

And yet, as I watched… I thought of many things and people.

And myself.

I thought of how much time I’ve wasted worrying about what other people think.

And how my word for 2023, which I will write about in a post soon… is Surrender.

And how Maude was ALL ABOUT “surrendering” – in every sense of the word.

And also about making choices. Her OWN choices.

And how I HAVE to find the book! I know it’s out of print but I NEED IT.

And how feeling sorry for myself because I missed this trip is okay for a short while but nothing to hang onto. I certainly couldn’t help it and it’s not as if anyone blames me… and even if they did… that’s on them not on me.

And how my life has changed so much… especially after my last significant depressive episode (in Spring 2021 after Dad died).

First, my health journey… which presented me with feathers, my forest, and a new love for movement. The end of the year gave me a job that has changed the trajectory of our lives as we head into our retirement years (but not yet!).

This year… and most especially the last six months… has taught me that I can no longer neglect my health… and that includes my mental health.

Some things have happened recently that have brought that last bit to the fore. I need to treat myself with the same respect I give to others.

This film actually feels like an important stamp of approval as I move forward into 2023.

Sometimes you’re just entertained by art… and sometimes it prompts you to action. This is one of those action times.

Am I recommending this film? Yes. It has a cult following for a reason.

One caveat, however:

When Amazon used the word “suicides” (with an s) above – it was on purpose. If you know you’re not ready to be MASSIVELY triggered, stay away. This is not a case of “close your eyes the scene will pass”. It comes back. Over and over. Seriously.


  1. That movie ranks with Tom Robbins’ book Another Roadside Attraction as practically Third Testaments in my mind and heart. Come to think of it, with your religious background you would love love that book, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This has been my favorite movie of all time since I was just a girl. I’d go to theaters just to see the people come out afterward, all transformed… I’m so glad you found it!

    Liked by 1 person

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