Tuesday, November 28, 2017


William D. Turner, remembered in Coco.
Our daughter bestowed a lovely, lasting gesture, telling us this Thanksgiving shortly before showing us.

Go see Coco, the new Pixar/Disney movie, and you'll see it too — if you know where to look.

At the end of the movie, after the closing credits, Pixar created a virtual ofrenda — an altar in the Mexican holiday tradition of Dia de Muertos, honoring and remembering those who have passed away.

On the black screen, surrounding the words, "To the people across time who supported and inspired us," spring dozens and dozens of images.

Three rows below the words, to the left, is this photograph of my dad, William Turner, grandfather to our children, who called him "OomPapa."

Dad passed away 14 years ago this week.

Coco is a wonderful movie, as rich in story as in color, about remembering family and finding one's whole self in those who have gone before. Images placed on the ofrenda are crucial to the story because they allow the dead to visit the land of the living during this holiday, which coincides with All Soul's Day.

By hard work, adherence to a plan she kept close to her heart, and great good fortune, our daughter got a job at Pixar Animation Studios. Coco was the first project Maura joined. She couldn't tell us anything about it at first. In time she got permission to tell us the name of the movie, but not much else for a while. In the nature of the business, our daughter has moved from project to project at Pixar, working in teams to help move each along to production. Coco has been like home to her.

She got two screen credits! "Hey, there she is!" we said aloud in the theater as her name rolled by, and then again. Only one other group besides our family remained in the theater to have heard us. Staying for the credits is a lost art. Besides seeing someone you're related to, you get to hear music that inspired the movie makers. Pixar often uses what look like development sketches in the credits, and I like to look at the rough art that turned into the final ideas.

It's hard for me to tell when and where the photo of my dad was taken. Well before me, at least. It's one of those photos from a time he seemed so different from my dad, with the look of a rakish charmer.

Coco's crew got to each choose one image for the onscreen ofrenda. It was hard for Maura to choose, I could tell, because as in the movie, all who have passed on in her life have shaped her and still shape her in their own way. Barry "Papa Bear" Lewis, her other grandpa. Grandma Bonnie, my mom. Her Uncle Stephen. She'd like to have another chance to talk with OomPapa, she says, and ask him about his life.

You and me both, kid.

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