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The small woman.

Inspirational, funny, poignant and just plain good entertainment. Julie and Julia,  is a feel good movie and worth a visit to the movie theater.

There are two stories interwoven that run parallel in the plot.

Julia Childs, an irreverent, flamboyant, personality played by Meryl Streep carries you away with her positive attitude to life.

And then there is Julie Powell, who 40 years later found inspiration in the work of Julia Childs and it changed her life.

Has that ever happened to you?

I had one such experience.

I was 14 years old, I happened to hear a woman called Gladys Aylward speak. The occasion was in a large cavernous cathedral in Adelaide and I remember it being very dark in the church for some reason.

I had no idea who Gladys Aylward  was, but it meant an evening out away from the house and to a 14 year old that was liberating.

The proceedings before her talk was less than stimulating, dry christian preaching that told me I was a sinner…. and I was beginning to wonder if I'd made the right decision to come.

The speaker was introduced.

A small woman, not more than 4ft 6" walked up to the podium, she wore a thick brown woolen coat, a black felt hat pulled over her hair and she had sturdy black shoes and thick hose. You could hardly see her behind the lectern.

She began to speak. She had a strong, London accent. Her voice held everyone in the audience captive and the microphone echoed it's resonance. She talked for 2 hours and I was spellbound.

She talked of trekking through the mountains of China. In 1938, the region was invaded by  the Japanese forces, and she led ninety-four children to safety over the mountains.

She was the inspiration for the book, "The small woman" and the movie, the "Inn of the sixth Happiness"

As I mentioned I was just 14, but I decided then and there that I would do something like Gladys….


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I travel the world teaching and talking. Photographing and writing, Sharing experiences What a way to go.

2 Comments

  1. Glenda Hepburn says

    Interesting Pam; she had the same effect on me. My grandmother loved China she visited it several times prior to the second war & she told me about Gladys & how she was helping the children in China & was trying to stop women’s feet been bound then the war broke out & she lead those children away from the invading Japanese. When I had my own hairdressing salon years later I befriended a Scottish lass who was working for me while visiting NZ it turned out Gladys was her mother’s sister & she said that her memory of Gladys was someone flying in from overseas very very tiny, shabby & grumpy with how everyone threw away money in Scotland & she was always asking for money. I guess to a child she did seem like that but she would have gone back to England & Scotland only to try & raise money for her orphanages which she would of hated leaving for so long. Another person who also had a strong influence on me at the same time was Peal Bucks books on China. Thanks for sharing Glenda

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  2. I read all the Pearl Buck books too. Do you remember “The Good Earth” It was on TV and I hid behind the chair so my parents wouldn’t send me to bed, just so I could watch it…
    It was an amazing feat of deception, trying to see the screen from behind the chair.
    Pearl Buck foundation assisted many children of mixed race from Vietnam and Thailand find adoptive families in the USA and other parts of the world.

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