My First Sigh (first published January 3, 2011)

Everywhere we go, Amy and I are always asked questions about our work at Milestone and we usually answer them with stories. Simple “yes” and “no” replies really aren’t for us. It’s the way we communicate – with friends, with interns, with co-workers, with people we meet in the field. It’s just the way we are. And for those we don't drive crazy, this is sometimes followed by the suggestion that we write a book. Well, that’s just not going to happen. We are film archivists and distributors and it’s a lot more fun working at Milestone than to spend months writing about it. But Amy’s sister Karen convinced us that we should at least start a blog and here it goes.
Well, before I go, I should share my favorite line and my favorite story about memory. The first was from Bob Hope and it was simple. NEVER LET THE TRUTH GET IN THE WAY OF A GOOD JOKE. I think that is self-explanatory.

And then there was Luis Buñuel. He wrote a brilliant autobiography called MY LAST SIGH and he introduced it with a small warning. He remembers a wedding many years ago of his good friends. It was a beautiful wedding in a cathedral with all their friends surrounding them. He recalls it in great detail. And then he remembered. He and his friends were all devout communists back then and there was no way there could have been a religious ceremony in a cathedral. So remember Bob and Luis on the road to our memories. PLEASE! Feel free to contribute your own memories, stories, comments and ideas. We look forward to hearing from you!

And so this leads to my first memories of the sigh. I (and my brother Paul) worked from the age of 12 at my father’s warehouse in New Jersey. It was manual labor and my father pushed us to work harder and faster than anyone in his place. Ten summers and two full years after I left college were spent there lifting and sweating. My father’s partner, Bill, was an old-time salesman who, on the road, also loved to tell stories and could usually share a new risqué joke with his customers on a daily basis. When he had to work in the warehouse, he was usually unhappy since it wasn’t half as fun as charming the mom-and-pop owners of the local candy stores. 
Anyway, at the warehouse, with every question, every comment, every decision, he had the same response. He always sighed. A lot. At least a hundred sighs a day, rain or shine. (I wish I had counted.) And the sighs were very dramatic. He must have had a sigh for every occasion. Bill was a real master of the exhaled expression of depression. And yet, he was a successful businessman, happily married, raised three successful children and died a fairly content man.
So if any of my writings sound like I’m sighing, don’t let it fool you. Though our work can be difficult and the paychecks slow in coming, it’s exactly the life we’ve chosen for ourselves and we’ve got to work on some incredible films. 
Speaking for myself, and considering my lovely wife and president Amy, the smart and healthy teenager Adam, the two beagles (Evie and Giada), two cats (Merian C. Cooper and Fay Wray), the gecko (Dragon) and some good friends — there’s a lot to be happy about. And here ends my first blog.  -- Dennis