“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
Poet Muriel Rukeyser

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....

[Rolf:]
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

[Liesl:]
To write on

[Rolf:]
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

[Liesl:]
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.