Is remembering the past an important activity of life? I don’t mean dwelling in the past or hoping the past could have been better, but the value of recalling past events and fitting them into the framework of our lives.

Perhaps we can develop new behaviors from the mindful use of our past. Herman Woulk, in the forward to his anti-war novel War and Remembrance, writes, “The beginning of the end of war lies in remembrance.”

Perhaps the past is just memories that tug at our hearts and either cause us to smile or remind us to cry.

Regardless, I think there is value in remembering our past. Some call this process Reminiscence and Life Review when working with older adults (See for more about this area).

There is real value in using a film to stimulate our thinking. When thinking about a good film to use with older adults in East Texas my thoughts turn to Horton Foote‘s play and  subsequent film, The Trip to Bountiful. This story, see summary below, is set in a fictional Texas town and was based on a real place, written by a real son of the soil, and connects with true Texas experiences. Foote was raised in Wharton and many of his plays are “rooted in the tales, the troubles, the heartbreak, and the hopes of all he heard and saw there.” (From comments by President Bill Clinton cited at

So, should you wish to wander down your own corridor of time a quick trip to Bountiful might just prime the pump.


The Trip to Bountiful

The film, set in the 1940s, tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts, who wants to return home to the small town where she grew up, but is frequently stopped from leaving Houston by her daughter-in-law and an overprotective son who won’t let her travel alone.

Mrs. Watts is determined to outwit her son and bossy daughter-in-law, and sets out to catch a train, only to find that trains don’t go to Bountiful anymore. She eventually boards a bus to a town near her childhood home. On the journey, she befriends a girl traveling alone and reminisces about her younger years and grieves for her lost relatives. Her son and daughter-in-law eventually track her down, with the help of the local police force. However, Mrs. Watts is determined. The local sheriff, moved by her yearning to visit her girlhood home, offers to drive her out to what remains of Bountiful. The village is deserted, and the few remaining houses are derelict. Mrs. Watts is moved to tears as she surveys her father’s land and the remains of the family home. Her son eventually turns up, and drives her back to Houston. (From: and copied here based on


to images: