Susan's Blog

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Growing Up

Well I stood stone-like at midnight
Suspended in my masquerade
And I combed my hair till it was just right
And commanded the night brigade
I was open to pain and crossed by the rain
And I walked on a crooked crutch
I strolled all alone through a fallout zone
Came out with my soul untouched.
I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd
When they said sit down
I stood up.
–Growing Up, Bruce Springsteen

When I was little, I only did four things with my friends or my sister: draw, play dress up, play with Barbies, and play Pretend games. Barbies I would play with any of my friends or by myself; mostly just trying on gown after gown and doing their hair and dreaming.

Laura and I would draw in the back of the car on all of our family trips: funny stories about twins and stuff like that. We even made up our own language and alphabet.

Dress up I would play with my friend Debbie, when our families would visit. I had gowns that were cast-off designer dresses from my grandmother. Once I put together a great costume for Halloween: a gypsy. It was early October, I think. I remember begging my mother to let me keep it on the entire month until it was Halloween, so that I would be perfectly attired. She said no, however. I think I managed, nevertheless, when Halloween arrived.

Pretend was my favorite, though. I would lose myself for days in the Pretend games I played with Bonnie and Sharon (my friends up to age 10, after which we moved, and I started middle school, and I became friends with Cynthia, until age 18, when she dropped me like a hot potato or piece de merde. With Cynthia, everything we did was gossip, clothes, food, and boys, boys, boys.) Bonnie and I once played a game that lasted three days, in which we were stranded on an island and had to live off the land. We twisted branches together to make our shelter, we made clothes out of grasses, and that sort of thing.

I just got back from a movie that has all of those best elements of my childhood: Bridge to Terabithia. This is a kids’ movie, and yet it was several huge cuts above anything I’ve seen in a long time, especially anything I’ve seen with Beast at my side. It is a simple story, about kids who are in need of a little escape from certain difficult realities in their lives, such as loneliness or bullying or inattentive parents. The boy and girl imagine a land in the woods near their homes: Terabithia. They fix up a treehouse and lug stuff to keep there! That is the childhood dream come true. They paint stuff and hang stuff and fight the enemy. Together they become stronger and more confident and happier, just like any of us when we get a really good friend who gets us.

There is nothing gooey in this movie, although the young sister Mabel did get on my nerves a bit, even with her penchant for Barbie play. She seemed a bit like a tiny adult, the most cloying kind of kid actor. But she pulled it off, in the end. The two main characters, the funky music teacher, and the boy’s father were absolutely terrific.

I detest the evil plot turn in the movie. Ben himself told me it did not have end that way. I heartily agree. I was sitting there next to him, crying my eyes out, thinking of loss and how hard it is to say good-bye. I have recently said good-bye to someone who wasn’t even always good to me, and yet my heart was twisting as I thought about it in this context. Let go, grow up, give in, move on. Sigh.

1 comment

Yeah, I know what’s going to happen, I read the book. I cried forever when I read it, so hopefully my tears are gone for the movie.

I loved Pretend and Barbies too. My little sister and I played pretend out in the woods all the time… our favorites were building our “house” out in the woods, pretending everything was grand and beautiful. We played hours upon hours with Barbies… those days were fun.

Can’t wait to see the movie.

— added by I Wax Poetic on Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 9:14 am

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