Welcome Meryl Streep back to Mystic

I continue to be surprised when I see tourists in Mystic taking pictures of the Mystic Pizza sign.

Wow. It's been more than 20 years since that movie was made. And frankly, it wasn't very good.

But I guess the nostalgia for the movie says a lot about the theme of adolescent love. And maybe people simply like to remember Julia Roberts when she was not just beautiful but young and beautiful.

I am thinking that the new movie "Great Hope Springs," which is supposed to be filmed in or around Mystic in August or September, will be another long laster.

This one will star Meryl Streep, who is, of course, a much better actress than Julia Roberts. Maybe they will remember this one long after 20 years has passed.

Streep is also almost a local.

Her parents, who brought her up in New Jersey, had a retirement home on Masons Island near Mystic. And their daughter the movie star was an occasional visitor, sometimes spotted around town.

The Day apparently never wrote much about those visits, since the newspaper's archives are kind of thin on Meryl Streep in southeastern Connecticut stories.

Kristina Dorsey, The Day's arts editor, wrote about Meryl Streep buying some clothes at a Mystic shop that she ended up wearing to the Oscars in 1989.

I imagine there was tittering in front of at least a few Mystic television screens when the black moiré pants she bought for $60 here turned up.

Streep also gave the Mystic shop credit in a subsequent piece on her Oscar outfit in Women's Wear Daily. The store has long since closed.

The actress's mother, Mary W. Streep, a housewife and artist who kept a studio behind her house, was a volunteer for a lot of local organizations, including Mystic Seaport and the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic, according to her obituary in 2001. She was 86 when she died.

Meryl Streep's father, Harry Streep, a drug company executive of Dutch descent, died in 2004. He was 92.

Streep married sculptor Don Gummer on Sept. 15, 1978, at her parents' home on Masons Island.

The marriage has been a long laster by Hollywood standards. The couple, still together, has four children.

"I don't know what I'd do without my husband. I'd be dead, emotionally at least, if I hadn't met him. He's the greatest," is a quote from Streep I found while looking around for Streep in Mystic trivia.

Honestly, how can you not love her?

I count myself among the many Streepers out there. That's what Meryl Streep fans like to call themselves.

I tried for a quick phone interview, a long shot, I know. Her publicist, predictably, wrote back a polite note to say Streep was busy and unavailable.

Curiously, the movie "Great Hope Springs," which will also star Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell, is about a couple contemplating divorce. They come to a small town to visit a renowned therapist, played by Carell.

Of course the happily married Streep could play anyone, even someone struggling to keep a relationship alive with marriage and sex therapy.

In the end, the theme of "Great Hope Springs" might be what could make it as much a long laster as "Mystic Pizza."

After all, 20 years hence, the post-boomers that are now nostalgic about the adolescent love in "Mystic Pizza" will be nostalgic instead about how they kept their marriages together.

And maybe they'll come back to Mystic to help remember.

This is the opinion of David Collins.


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