I watched the movie "Finding Neverland" and while the movie was about how James Barries created Peter Pan and his inspiration, I still heard the echoes of Mary Martin. My first Peter Pan. I even could picture the Disney Peter and the fairy dust sprinkled around the room.
Peter Pan is the boy who won't grow up. The very spirit of youth, he travels from the enchanted isle of Never Land to London just to hear Wendy Darling spin tales about him and his adventures. While his ego may seem inflated at times, even his arch-nemesis, Captain Hook, knows that Pan's no ordinary boy. Time makes little difference to him. Life is nothing but fun, whimsy, and adventure when you never grow up. That is what life should be. Fun, whimsy and adventure.
One of my earliest childhood memories is of watching Mary Martin as Peter. My eye big and round and then jumping on couch and chair with blonde hair and endless energy. I tried so hard to fly. I have to say, I think I may have done it. For a second or two in the time between leaping from the couch to the chair there was that almost timeless moment of flight. I told my father I never wanted to grow up. I wanted to be a Lost Boy. Neverland would be just a wondrous place to live.
There is an entire generation just like me. Baby boomers that grew up with this stagy but magical production, somewhat like the Cinderella stage production that was filmed and shown on tv and starred Leslie Ann Warren and the guy that went on to be Dr. Quartermaine from General Hospital. I remember that one also. Singing "I Won't Grow Up," "I've Gotta Croooow," and "Neverland." It's hard to know what sophisticated CGI youngsters of today would make of it, but their parents will gladly sit and watch with them. I can still sing the songs and remember the lyrics.
I had a great Peter Pan costume one Halloween. Only I couldn't go trick or treating. I had fallen and hurt my ankle just a couple days before. No, I had not been trying to fly exactly, but I was trying to show my Mom how many porch steps I could leap off of in one time. "Watch me Mom, watch me!!!!!" I was trying to be the Evil Knevil of our house.
I have finally learned that adulthood is inevitable, and the world is not the Neverland that I imagined as a child. I was speaking to some friends the other day and we talked about how we have changed from when we were in our 30's till now and how subtle it has been. I think it was when Jim died that I had to 'grow up'. While we were a team, there was still some small hint that Neverland could be found - that house with a yard that we were searching the net for in April 2007 so when his transfer came thru we could move. I mentioned this to my Dad last year and he said he was sad to hear that I was losing the magic of Neverland. Of course, then I was sad. He told me it was okay to be an adult and still remember the magic.