There was a small window above the bed. Two panes latched in the middle and opened out into the room. I stood on the bed to open the window and allow the gentle breeze to cool the room. I gazed out at the stars and wished for little-girl things, magical things – to be a princess, marry prince charming, live in a castle, wear long flowy dresses, and dance. I don’t recall annoying bugs coming through the window, although there was no screen. By dawn, I pulled the blanket draped at the foot of the bed all the way up to my chin. The thermometer might have soared during daylight from the bright southern California sun, but we never went out in the evening without a sweater.
On clear days, I could see the snowcapped mountaintops through the larger dining room windows. I wished for the snow to come down from the mountain, but it never did. On Sunday evenings, I watched my favorite show, The Wonderful World of Color and drifted into that wonderful, magical world. Tinkerbell sprinkled her fairy dust to set the tone for the evening show. At the end, I thought how marvelous it would be to go to Disneyland. After all, we weren’t that far away. But POP (Pacific Ocean Park) was much closer, less expensive, and fit our conservative budget.
We moved away when I was nine years old without ever going to Disneyland, and Mr. Disney died just one year later. But his spirit lived on.
This past week, I watched Saving Mr. Banks and remembered the magical wishes and feelings of long ago. I appreciated learning the real story behind Mary Poppins and making the movie. I wished I sounded beautiful when I sang along. Movies like this and Secretariat warm my heart – true-life stories – wholesome, goodness, and hope. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I loved Pollyanna too.
All of those created characters and animated movies, too many to mention, have etched our hearts and our children’s. During my childbearing years, I decorated the nursery with a Disney theme – Mickey and Minnie, Goofey, Donald Duck – bright, bold colors and wished and prayed for my babies and the lives ahead of them.
In more recent years, I have accumulated a rather large collection of Jim Brickman CDs to choose from. But if I need a little spring in my step, a little cheering up, I put in his Disney tribute, The Disney Songbook. Before I know it, I’m **trying** to sing and dancing right along with those penguins and Dick Van Dyke.
I’m not sure if being intrigued with magical fairy tales ignited my faith and belief in real-life miracles or vice versa. It doesn’t matter, the feelings are similar and I choose to believe and hope. Sometimes life deals out sorrow and misfortune in bucket fulls. I, for one, wish that the spirit of Mr. Disney lives on forever, that someone picks up the torch and continues to run with hope, laughter, singing, dancing, dreaming, and magical times so that we can ride along for a while too.
Who knows, maybe someday I will actually get to Disneyland back in sunny California. When you wish upon a star …