Monday, December 31, 2007

The Sound of Music

Lasst night I watch, while I knit, The Sound of Music. Everytime I see this movie it reminds me of the first time. I've probably seen it 30 times over the 50 years I've lived. The first time I saw it I was 7 or 8. It was playing in a movie theater in SLC. It was, I think, the first time I had been to a movie theater. At least it's the first time I remember. Going to see this movie was my reward for getting good grades in school. At least, that too, is what I remember.

I remember it was night, Christmas time, and the street was glittering with white lights. There was a festive feel to the air and much excitement. Oddly enough, that is what I remember, waiting to go into the theater. I don't actually remember sitting in the theater and watching it. Did we have popcorn? I have no idea. Still, when I see this movie, I recall the sense of excitment, of Christmas, of possibility.

Watching it last night was a very different experience. I think in some ways this movie has shaped my life...not always in the best of ways. I wanted to be Liesl singing "I am sixteen going on seventeen." But the world really changed in the years between 1965, when I first saw the movie as a 7 year old, and 1973 when I was sixteen. The world has changed even more between then and now.

Last night I found myself wondering why I didn't latch onto the words Julie Andrews sings in one of the early scenes, as she is going to the Von Trapp home: "I have confidence in me...." Pretty good lyrics it seems. Or maybe that's just where I am struggling these days. Having confidence in me.

Last night I heard all the ways the movie is dated. Here's an example....

You wait, little girl, on an empty stage
For fate to turn the light on
Your life, little girl, is an empty page
That men will want to write on

To write on

You are sixteen going on seventeen
Baby, it's time to think
Better beware, be canny and careful
Baby, you're on the brink

You are sixteen going on seventeen
Fellows will fall in line
Eager young lads and rogues and cads
Will offer you food and wine

Totally unprepared are you
To face a world of men
Timid and shy and scared are you
Of things beyond your ken

You need someone older an wiser
Telling you what to do
I am seventeen going on eighteen
I'll take care of you

I am sixteen going on seventeen
I know that I'm naive
Fellows I meet may tell me I'm sweet
And willingly I believe

I am sixteen going on seventeen
Innocent as a rose
Bachelor dandies, drinkers of brandies
What do I know of those

Totally unprepared am I
To face a world of men
Timid and shy and scared am I
Of things beyond my ken

I need someone older and wiser
Telling me what to do
You are seventeen going on eighteen
I'll depend on you

Then, after watching the movie I read "Boom" in bed, (Tom Brokaw's latest book). The chapters on women in the 1960's and their struggles to be heard, understood, build careers, and live a different life.

It makes me think just how much the world has changed. How much different my life is than what I imagined it would be when I was 7. Then I never imagined moving away from SLC. I never imagined being in the middle of a race riot in Chicago, the night my family took a wrong turn and we literally drove through it. Somehow unharmed...I never imagined having a real career, let alone being an Episcopal priest. I never imagined being the family bread winner. I never imagined that my life would continue to hold the same pain and struggles that I knew even at 7. Somehow I thought life would "get better." I never imagined internet or cell phones or computers.

Looking back over 2007, and the years past, there is a lot I never imagined. And yet, here I am. This is the life I have. Somethings are really different. And yet somethings are very much the same.


Gannet Girl said...

Great reflections.

I watched the end of TSOM last night -- I was watching Jane Eyre on MP Theatre at the same time, but I know TSOM by heart, having played Kurt, the younger von Trapp boy, in a school production when I was 12 (1966; yes I am older than you!). I was in a Catholic boarding school and of course all the nun scenes totally resonated with us. The girl who played Liesl was a senior whose beauty was far beyond my reach, so I am sure I romanticized those lines that now strike me as so utterly silly. And I didn't understand a thing about the German takeover of Austria, something that I have since taught many times to high school world history students, always with a nod to how innocent I was of the dark forces behind the movie.

I did always expect to have a career, though the switch to ministry was not something I could have envisioned. By the time I was ready for law school 10 years after my tone-deaf performance as Kurt, I was married but had abandoned any idea of a man writing my life for me. Probably THE great gift of an all-girls' school education.

Wyldth1ng said...

I haven't seen the Sound of Music in a long time, and this may sound naive of me but I seem to always mix the movies, Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, and 10 together.
Wacky I know.

Diane said...

Like you, I have seen TSOM many times. one of the few movies we actually went to the theatre to see. I remember both of those songs, "I Have Confidence" and "Sixteen going on Seventeen", and like you, imagined my life turning out much differently -- really thought I would get married right out of college, and have kids and do what my mom did, help by working in an office somewhere, not have a career.

So your reflections are so true and profound, both sad and happy for me. thank you!

RevDrKate said...

I completely ignored Liesl...I was so busy being Maria...there is a message in here somewhere I think. Thanks for posting brought back memories of the many times I've seen the movie...oh, and I wore out my soundtrack, besides!

Katherine E. said...

Oh, yes, The Sound of Music holds powerful memories of my growing up years as well. And adult years, too, I must admit. "I Have ME!" was a song that came to me, just BAM!, out of my memory banks, about 10 years ago when I was doing some intense therapy. Living alone, I remember once standing in my kitchen, singing those words out LOUD--and I do mean LOUD!--and then dancing through my house, still singing that song. Wow! Talk about feeling empowered, and silly at the same time. It was great. (Did you ever watch Ali McBeal? Her therapist gave her "song therapy." The idea still makes me smile.)

Anyway, as usual, mompriest, I so appreciate this post.

I'm wondering about your last paragraph. You are in my prayers.

mompriest said...

Well, some of the darkness has returned...sigh...

and it has a lot to do with my concerns about the potential job, or not....won't know for another 10 days...

but mostly I'm thinking about a loss of innocence. My innocent ideas of what life might be like. And the loss of innocence of our country, after the decades from 1960- until now, post 2001.

This loss of innocence is not all bad, some of it is very good. But also some of it remains very sad, the changes hoped for not manifested...

Jan said...

I wish I'd learned "I have confidence in me" when I first saw the movie in high school--I'm still trying to live that out at this late date in my life.

Live in the moment. Easier said than done, I know. Right now, you are safe, and God is in charge. Each moment that is true.

Happy New Year.

Rev SS said...

Ahh the sweet myths of innocence. (((o))) Mompriest .. and a couple of quotes about darkness: "In a dark time the eye begins to see" Theodore Roethke; and "When it gets dark enough, you can see the stars." Lee Salk. You're in my thoughts an prayers.

Barbara B. said...

Profound reflections here. The first time I saw TSOM I was 8 (but almost 9)... I think somebody could do a whole book on how it influenced/impacted 'our generation' of girls.

Homily for the Festive Eucharist at the closing of the Episcopal Women's Caucus

The readings that we chose for the service tonight were all picked specifically for this service because they lift up the role of women ...