Friday, October 31, 2008

Clap your hands

I became enchanted tonight. For a couple hours I fell into a world that has intrigued me since I was a child. Peter Pan and Neverland.

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.

My Mom had me sit on the porch and hand out candy. So I handed out candy -while in costume which made it fun, but still not as much fun as running from house to house. My mother had made my outfit and it was cool. Of course she made all of our costumes. I lovaed that we didn't have store bought and may have even snubbed our noses at the silly masks and plastic that was supposed to be a costume. Not realizing that for some it was all they had (what snobs we kids were.) Mom's creativity and ability to what is now called 'think outside the box' was a wonderful plus to our family. I am lucky because my Dad was very creative also. It made life in our family interesting. I try to follow in their footsteps.

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.

"I won't grow up!"
When Jim died there seemed to be no choice. As we grow older, we discover that there is pain greater than the cuts that we used to cry about when we were children. Sometimes the pain can be so bad that the only thing that can seem to end it is if we end our very existence. And we wonder why. It is then that if we are lucky, and have some fairy dust sprinkled on us, we learn that there are friends and family that can support us in our time of need and help us stand and be strong when the feeling comes to just lay down and give up. Our friends and family are the 'tribe' that works together.

I can put my hand on my chest. I can close my eyes. I can hear Peter whispering in my ear "think of a wonderful thought" and I can feel the heavy weight lift a little.

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