Friday, October 26, 2012
Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father
Cary Grant loved being a dad and Jennifer Grant loved being his daughter. In sharp contrast to the Mommy Dearest memoirs of Hollywood progeny, Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, reads like a love letter. On the twenty fifth anniversary of her father's passing, Grant shares memories on life with her famous father.
There are no shocking revelations revealed, but rather Grant shares the small moments that make up the "essence" of Cary Grant. Fortunately, Grant had plenty of material to draw from. Cary Grant was a regular archivist when it came to documenting Jennifer Grant's life and their time together including cassette tapes of conversations; drawings and notes; photographs; home movies; tickets from sporting events they attended and even newspaper articles clipped to provide advice or pass on Cary Grant's philosophy on life. According to Grant, when Cary Grant became a father he walked away from show business entirely. They never watched his films, discussed the industry or hung out with the Hollywood in-crowd (Cary Grant did maintain a few Hollywood friendships such as with Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, Gregory Peck and Quincy Jones, but these were based on longstanding personal ties). Rather time was spent at home eating dinner around the table, playing cards or backgammon and other simple pleasures. As Grant explains, "When I was at Dad's, he took full charge of my care. . . . Dad awakened me each morning, drove me everywhere, ate meals with me, discussed life with me, and tucked me in each evening." He even escorted her on trips to the local shopping mall!
When it comes to the rumors about her famous father, Grant firmly refutes them. No Cary Grant wasn't gay, but apparently he enjoyed the misconception because "he said it made women want to prove the assertion wrong." Also while Cary Grant appreciated the value of a dollar, he was no miser. Cary Grant appreciated practical luxury and did not like to waste anything. While I have no reason to doubt Grant's truthfulness her knowledge is limited to that of a daughter's and covers the last twenty years of Cary Grant's life. And this is just fine with Grant:
In our heart of hearts, I believe we all know the skinny on people and situations. We unconsciously block what's too much to process. So somewhere inside . . . it's all there. Other than that, I prefer knowing what I know . . . . While there is a lot of stuff I certainly don't know, there's also a lot I do.
Good Stuff is a touchingly sweet memoir about a devoted father who was also a Hollywood legend.