arborweb's culture blogFriday, April 5, 2013
My Mother and I drove through a summer thunderstorm in the mountains of West Virginia. The torrential downpour had forced us to pull off the highway under a bridge. We watched as semis roared past, oblivious of the elements. I was worried about my brother and my husband who had been in front of us, driving the U-haul. I squinted into the distance trying to make out shapes. Several other vehicles had pulled over to wait out the storm. I couldn't tell if one was the U-haul. But it was companionable sitting in the car next to my mother, listening to the sounds of rain drumming on concrete and metal car roof We decided to have ourselves a snack. I reached into the back seat and found by feel, the shape of the Wise potato chip bag. I pulled it forth.
"There are some grapes back there too", my mother said from the passenger side. I felt around again and found them. The potato chip bag had not been opened yet, showing my mother's marvelous self-control. I ripped it open, starting with my teeth. The two things together made a delicious combination. The salty crunch followed by an explosion of green grape. We munched for a while, while the rain began to let up some.
We had left Pittsburgh at noon that day. My husband and my brother had packed the U-haul with all of mother's possessions. Things accumulated for over seventy four years. Neighbors had helped and we had all said our last, last, goodbyes, exchanged hugs and hopes for the future. My mother had lived in the city for most of her life. She had raised four children by herself after a divorce. She had owned and operated a small business, a dress shop, to support us. During this time she had been successful and capable and had a network of lifelong friends. She traveled. All over the US and Europe. She gave dinner parties, went to plays and concerts.
But in recent years, hints of an unraveling process had begun to reveal itself First she broke her femur bone. That's how she put it. Not her hip bone. She recuperated at home and it wasn't that long before she resumed her aerobic classes. I didn't live in Pittsburgh anymore. My second husband and I lived in Michigan. But we visited. Everyone else lived away too, but a neighbor man had become quite interested in her. He was in his nineties, a tiny Italian who just kept on going. They went to the movies together. It was kind of cute. She never would have married him but he was devoted to her. There was a supermarket within walking distance and mother shopped there using one of those small carts she kept next to her front steps. One day, on her way home, a guy swiped her purse right off her shoulder and ran off. She wasn't hurt. She even laughed about it on the phone, later.
On one of my visits without my husband we drove downtown to this piano bar. My mother knew the singer. So we stayed and had a few drinks. We had her car so she drove. Pittsburgh is transected by many, many bridges. Three rivers meet, so almost anywhere you want to go you have to cross a bridge. We left the bar, mother driving, turned and got onto a bridge. Cars started honking. Headlights flashed and I realized that we were going right into on-coming traffic because we were going the wrong way. Cars were behind us and I suddenly wondered. Had this happened before? Was mother a capable driver? We fmally got off the bridge and went another way home. Mother didn't seem to be real concerned about it. So I wasn't. But I was.
The townhouse she lived in faced an elegant courtyard. Everyone knew everyone else and the outside details of their lives. They looked after each other. If anyone got sick, soup was brought over. Old Mr. Whistler was in a wheel chair. Someone always volunteered to run errands for him now. But that was just it, all the neighbors were getting old, although a few young couples had moved in. The property itself was very much in demand. Four rows of townhouses facing each other with small yards but old trees forming arches to walk through. In spring, daffodils, dogwood trees, tulips, a hallelujah chorus of pastels. The buildings them selves made of brick buffed by time, casement windows of wavering glass, hardwood floors, fire places that worked. A small oasis in the city. Half were privately owned, the other rentals. My mother had rented for years, the price never changing. But one day a letter arrived announcing new management. Improvements were offered, but the rent was going to go up accordingly. As it was, mother was just making it. Supplementing her mutual funds with other endeavors. Even though she had only one spare bedroom, she occasionally rented it out to college students going to the nearby university.
For a while she ran ads in the newspaper offering to narrow gentleman's ties. I was surprised that this could work, but the style of neckties had changed and apparently enough people had old wide ties, so instead of buying new ones, dropped them off. Mother took them apart and hand- stitched them back together, more narrow and right in style.
She walked to Fourth Presbyterian church every Sunday and this must have been where she heard about this retirement center located in southeastern Ohio. She made several trips, coming back, feeling more and more positive about it. Mother never told us anything until after the fact, so we were informed by phone that she was goingto be moving there. She gave a brief description of the retirement village. It was possible to own your own home. There was a very attractive "activity center". Offering weaving classes, quilting, woodworking, a drama group, art classes, exercise rooms, a swimming pool. Lots to get involved in and the people were her type of people.
It was barely affordable but my mother had always managed.
The rain was abating, so we swung back into traffic, heading west. We crossed a bridge and now we were in Ohio. Fields of corn and soybeans spread out to the horizon. We skirted the belly of southern Ohio, where small towns proclaimed their existences. Small green signs with names like Gnat Run and Green Up, Kentucky. Following the Ohio river. I could not imagine my mother living out here. She was used to culture and the quickness of the city.
I spotted the back of the U-haul ahead. "Life is loss." I said out loud.
"No, life is change" my mother confirmed.
We passed a sign for Chillicothe. I didn't know how to pronounce it. Blue hills began to rise in the distance and I felt more hopeful as I always do when I see hills off in the distance. Finally, a sign proclaimed our destination. Waverly Ohio. It didn't take us long to find the village. It was the first left past Kmart, the town's only department store. We pulled up to the "welcome house" and waited for the U-haul which had somehow gotten behind us. All the houses looked alike, little one story track houses.
"I think I'll go in and get the key." Mother announced.
As I waited in the car, a memory came back to me. I felt the way I had felt when my mother had taken me to summer camp as a child. Except that now the roles were reversed.
My mother returned with the key and we slowly drove down the tree lined street to her "house". Just like all the others. I wondered how she would find it again, although as I looked around me I could see small personal, distinguishing lawn decorations or other artifacts that marked each house.
The U-haul pulled up behind us and the rest of the afternoon was taken up with transferring the contents of the truck into the house. We soon had a mound of possessions piled up in the middle of the living room floor. Mother stood there as if she didn't know where she was and looked around. The men did most of the lifting and setting down but they had to be directed.
"The couch would look good against that wall" I announced. "and that table next to it, the chair over there, is that the dining room? It's only a space. The kitchen is nice and big. Oh! look our here! A sun porch! You could get some wicker furniture. It would look quite nice. You have two bedrooms. One could be made into the TV room. A desk right there, get one of those futons for when you have guests."
As I listened to myself I realized that I was just repeating the same dialogue that my mother had said in so many houses that we had moved into.
I put all the dishes, pots and pans into the cupboard. I put towels in the bathroom closet, sheets on the bed, hung some paintings, mirrors and made a fairly good if only tentative arrangement with the furniture. Details would come later. Any changes mother could make. By sundown it was a livable house but not a home yet. Mother still looked like she didn't know where she was. She just has to get used to it, I thought.
"Let's try to find a good restaurant and have some dinner." My husband suggested.
We drove back into town. Most of the buildings looked pre-civil war. Old worn brick testifying that there had been some kind of purpose that had been lost. We drove past an old hotel. "Is that a restaurant?" Yes. We parked and walked in. It was elegance concealed. The tables had while linen tablecloths. Candles burned at each table. We took the one next to the window and ordered wine. Surprisingly good red wine. A seed factory was across the street. The light, which was just right, if captured in this moment would make a good watercolor painting. Mother pronounced it "seedy." After a very good dinner we walked around the old hotel part and looked at the photographs on the walls. "It used to be a canal town," my brother observed. Sepia images of working men in overhauls stared back at us. People never smiled back then, I thought. After the pictures there wasn't a whole lot else to do, so we drove back to the village, which was called Bristol Village. The retirement area was bigger than the town, Waverly.
As we drove down her street, we noticed a small group of people grouped around something we couldn't see. We pulled over to the curb and walked over to investigate.
"Look! There goes one now!" Someone said excitedly. I looked, and, as if pushed by an invisible button, a golden yellow blossom opened up. Then another. And then another. One by one, like speeded up photography, blossoms opened up in the deepening twilight. "What is it?'' I asked.
"Evening primrose," came the reply from an elderly gentleman.
''Every night at exactly nine o'clock, we come out here and watch the show." "They grow wild around here."
When the performance was over, we all applauded. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an older man glide by on roller skates. The same kind I remembered as as kid.
"Maybe this place won't be so bad" I mused out loud.
Before going back to our motel room for the night, we all four decided to take a walk around the parameters of the village. We came to where a street ended and a field of wheat began. The twilight was deep blue. Fireflies danced above the heads of russet wheat. I had a feeling that once every painting had been hung in the right spot, all the books arranged in the right order and the curtains hung, mother would feel at peace here. Then I remembered the roller skater.
posted by John Hilton at 3:01 p.m. | 0 comments
The cardinal rule of book reviewing is, Don't spoil the plot. Nowhere is that maxim more important than when the work in question is a mystery or "psychological thriller," like Gillian Flynn's best-selling Gone Girl. But Flynn has made it tough for critics. Her basic plot line--the disappearance of the wife on the couple's fifth anniversary--can be shared but not much more. After Amy Dunne disappears, her husband, Nick, comes under suspicion. He is evasive about his whereabouts at the time, signs of an intruder appear forced, and, most important, the marriage is troubled. Both writers, the couple have lost their New York jobs and moved, Amy unhappily, to Nick's home town in Missouri. "I simply assumed," Nick reflects in the opening chapter, "that I would bundle up my New York wife with her New York interests, leave the frantic, thrilling futureland of Manhattan behind .. and all would be fine."The story is told in alternating sections; Nick speaks, then Amy, partly through a diary. One of the story's most dramatic plot twists occurs in the middle, lurching the book in a new direction. If you've been reading closely, you might anticipate where things are heading. I felt smug when my hunch was right; however, Flynn humbled me by producing an ending I never could have dreamed.
Gone Girl has made Flynn a Golden Girl of the literary scene: it's appeared on several critics' favorite book-of-the-year lists, and sold two million copies to date. A former Entertainment Weekly writer, Flynn moves the story quickly, with lots of snarky dialogue. This isn't a book about nice people (the most sympathetic character isNick's twin sister, who's determined to stick by him even as the police close in on him as a murder suspect). But while you don't warm to either Nick or Amy, I suspect the toxicity in their marriage is a big reason for Gone Girl's success. Flynn is not strong on character development but she can convincingly convey the knot of rage in an unhappy marriage that can implode in unexpected ways. Better to read about it than live it--and who knows, maybe some married couples will close Gone Girl with a feeling that they're not doing so bad after all. We can hope.
posted by John Hilton at 10:45 p.m. | 0 comments
On November 8, 9, 10, and 11 at the Power Center, University of Michigan's Opera Theatre presented a smart, witty, and engaging production of Mozart's Don Giovanni. Director Robert Swedberg moves the action of the opera from 16th century Spain to late 18th century New Orleans, a period when the city was under Spanish rule. By placing it in a setting where class distinctions were so prominent, belief in the supernatural was so prevalent, and the festival of Mardi Gras (or carnevale) offered such natural opportunities for disguises and costume changes, Swedberg delivers a persuasively fresh perspective on the opera's story line and deftly underscores it themes.
In the original setting, the jilted Donna Elvira pursues Don Giovanni from one Spanish town to another; by making her pregnant, the director gives her a compelling reason for following him all the way across the Atlantic. Another effective detail is the introduction of a voodoo element. Donna Elvira engages a Mamba Priestess to put a curse on her betrayer, which leads inexorably to his dreadful fate at the end of the opera.
The opera's four performances were double cast, with one cast singing Thursday and Saturday, and another on Friday and Sunday. I attended the Sunday matinee performance. Christopher James Lee led a smoothly elegant performance that captured the comic, ironic, passionate, and sinister elements of the score, and the University Symphony Orchestra played with refinement and infectious energy.
The singers in University Opera Theatre productions are consistently strong but there were several standouts among the soloists. Soprano Olivia Betzen gave an exceptionally mature performance as Donna Anna, with a voice that is pure, penetrating and soaring. She is a thoroughly convincing actress; her dignified bearing immediately established Donna Anna's aristocratic status, and she made the character's emotional vulnerability touching and personal. Baritone Juan Hector Periera was a charming and personable but devious Don Giovanni, a character fully aware of his charismatic power, and shamelessly willing to exploit it. Periera's voice is large, warm, and colorful, and he used it with impressive dramatic insight, and in "Fin ch'han dal vino," with great agility. (Incidentally, due to the illness of his counterpart in the opera's other cast, Periera was called in to cover for him midway through Saturday's performance, so he performed the role two and a half times in three days.) Baritone Benjamin Sieverding brought a natural gift for comedy to the role of Leporello. His directness and honesty made him an ideal foil to the title character and he sang with easy assurance and a full, rich sound. The verbal sparring between servant and master had terrific synergy.
As Don Ottavio, tenor Nicholas Nestorak's passionate and seamless delivery of "Il mio tesoro" was one of the highlights of the performance. While soprano Imani Mchunu's voice is not large, it is pure and focused, and her winning Zerlina conveyed just the right combination of coquettishness and confusion. Baritone Paul G.L. Grosvenor was an appropriately befuddled Masetto. As Donna Elvira, soprano Katherine Sanford sang with a lovely, clear tone, and bass Ronald Perkins, Jr. gave the Commendatore stentorian authority
Perkins' singing was especially powerful in the final scene. It begins with Don Giovanni dallying lasciviously with two young women--who later emerge from the gates of Hell revealed as succubi, demons who drag him to his death. There's a satisfying poetic justice in having women, on whom Don Giovanni has preyed all his life, act as the agents who deliver him to his punishment.
posted by John Hilton at 3:59 p.m. | 0 comments
These are dark times for America indeed. Not just because of all the polarization and disunity we see all around us, blue and red, conservative and liberal--not just because we can't seem to talk to each other or work across the divide anymore. But these are dangerous times because it's not safe to even answer the phone. There is always a robot on the other end, exhorting us in a DEEP SCARY MALE BARITONE DARTH VADAR VOICE that our economy will shut down and the world will end if we don't support or defeat his candidate or proposition. (Who is that voice actor, by the way, and in his real life, does he use his voice to try to get out of paying parking tickets, or bargain down the price of cars?)
Here is my solution; it's simple; it's cheap; it's within reach of all of us. After the election--or before--find someone in your neighborhood who has an election sign out front for the candidate you oppose. And introduce yourself to that neighbor, and take her a plate of cookies, like back in the old days, when people tried to make friends with their neighbors. And if you're invited for tea, the revolution--the real tea party--has begun. Maybe our elected officials have been lead to believe that they are being paid not to talk to people of the opposing party. Let's show them how it's done, and then write them and let them know it's possible, among neighbors of good faith.
posted by John Hilton at 12:45 p.m. | 1 comment
When I left the Michigan Theater after viewing the documentary The Queen of Versailles, the world looked crummier than it did when I entered--which, to me, is one of the signs of a good movie. It didn't just disappear with the kicked-under-the-seat popcorn box, but lingered to haunt me.
The real-life couple at the heart of the film aren't the type of people you expect to linger in your mind, except as a source of derision or possibly envy. Ridiculously wealthy at the film's start, David and Jackie Siegel are squeezed when the Great Recession hits--but even in "poverty," they are living better than most of us with their huge house, nanny, and swimming pool. So they've had to give up their private plane and private schools for the eight kids (including Jackie's niece, whom they're raising). True, dog poop is everywhere because after firing most of their household staff, there apparently aren't enough servants in this 26,00 square foot mansion to keep up with Jackie's dozen or so pooches. But these people think they have troubles? Derisive laughter broke out several times during the showing I caught.
And yet. It's a sign of the power of The Queen of Versailles that absorbed silence, not ridicule, was the audience's principal reaction. Filmmaker Lauren Greenfield got a remarkable break when David and Jackie agreed to let her into their lives and their huge home. (They're suing her now for defamation.) When the film started, the couple is excited about the next adventure of their life--building a home that will be the largest residence in the country. Not that they aimed to set a record, the surprisingly likeable Jackie, insists. It's just they kept thinking of things it would be nice to have--a bowling alley, a skating rink, bigger servants' quarters. And why not? David, who grew up in a modest home, has become a billionaire through his time-share business Westgate Resorts. He chums (or did) with the like of former President George W. Bush, Donald Trump, and--which seems to him give special joy--the beautiful, beribboned competitors for the Miss America contest. Apparently more introspective than Trump--granted, that's setting the bar low--David recalls how he "used to cry" when watching the pageant as a kid. (The tall, gorgeous Jackie is an ex beauty queen.) David also talks about the many people he employs, the jobs he creates, and his assistance--here he turns coy--in helping W get elected. You may not believe this man has led a good life--in the moral, not the consumerist, meaning--but you believe that he believes it.
When the stock market goes bust in 2008, the Siegels' money tree teeters. Timeshare customers can't pay what they owe; banks can't give him loans. The brand new Westgate Resort in Vegas goes literally dark. When a reluctant David finally decides to sell the unfinished Versailles, more surprise--there are no takers. Even billionaires and millionaires who came through intact don't necessarily want someone else's ersatz French palace. While the Siegels adjust to their downscaled life--a bewildered Jackie speculates that now her children will have to work for a living--the beast comes out in David. Pride in his wife turns to disdain; when a child, at Jackie's coaxing, tells David he loves him, he merely says "Thanks." And Greenfield, for whatever reason, is allowed to keep filming it all.
David and Jackie themselves aren't all that deep or interesting, but they're not the source of the movie's power. What stuck with me was how, despite their gazillion dollar wardrobe and furniture, they seem not that much different from the "ordinary" Americans who got caught in the housing bust. Which seems to point to a moral--or several of them--about the fascination America has with power and beauty, our rampant consumerism, and the obsession with home ownership as the embodiment of the American dream. Houses and homes, from the Filipina nanny's creating a personal hideout in the kids' playhouse to the excesses of the "palace," are a recurring theme here. It's been suggested that the Millennial generation will be less eager to buy homes than their parents. This depressing, suck-you-in film makes that seem like good news.
posted by John Hilton at 3:22 p.m. | 0 comments
The arts, be it visual, music, or theatre, bring enrichment and a sense of joy to the beholder. But what about those who participate in the arts: the photographer, the painter, the musician, the actor? What do they stand to gain? The answer is: a lifetime of accomplishment, self-esteem, creativity and a sense of being.
As a community theatre working with adults of all walks of life and with youth, we see the benefit of the arts every day. Lifelong friendships are made on a regular basis; in fact, a remarkable number of partnerships and marriages have resulted from participation in this art. Folks who had a hard time speaking in front of a crowd, let alone a handful of business associates, find their voice and are in command of the audience; sometimes having a creative outlet like theatre is just what someone needs to escape the intense work of their daily profession. And let’s not forget that some of the world’s classics are set to stage, so our literary education continues!
We have a Junior Theatre program which is for young , aspiring actors in grades 4-12. There are 20-30 kids in each production, working together and offering performances for kids 3 and up.
Early in my tenure at A2CT, I observed auditions for a Junior Theatre production. Two middle school boys came to auditions; half a dozen fellow auditioners whispered to me, “They’re the tough kids. They won’t really ‘get’ acting and they won’t be nice.” Well, the director cast them all and by curtain time, every single one of those kids were genuinely friendly to each other, and worked together to put on a great show. And, the ‘tough’ kids found such a calm, happy side to themselves, giving a wonderful, touching performance!
So often the participants in these productions inspire us to offer more programs and, really, to stop and say Yes! The arts enrich kids’ lives. Kids gain a sense of belonging, of teamwork, of self-esteem and pride. They walk in as shy, quiet, individual kids and leave as confident, expressive, cooperative young actors.
Kids who have had a difficult time reading have a new-found desire to read when they receive their script and realize they need to read it to learn their lines. Cognitive skills, creative skills, problem-solving skills all increase, and any socio-economic boundaries cease to exist.
And certainly all this is true in the other arts. For the past several years, the Ann Arbor Public Schools have offered opportunities for classes of all grades to participate in art shows in their schools and in the district library, displaying the work they do in art classes. The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair offers participation in a Kids Art Fair at the Townie Street Party, allowing kids to display and sell their art work. The sense of pride and accomplishment is palpable; and what better way to learn about art than to make art.
When we purchase a piece of art, or read a book, or see a live theatre production, we feel so many emotions and feel inspired. Imagine how the creator of the work of art is feeling!
posted by John Hilton at 1:42 p.m. | 0 comments
When I was a young I spent most of the year dreaming and pining for those wonderful months of summer - days filled with sandy feet and sun burnt noses and evenings spent lying outside looking up at the sky with my sister and parents as we pointed out constellations and shooting stars. My sister, who was only a year younger, was happy to be led into never ending adventures as we entertained ourselves with sticks and rocks and built fairy huts under the pine trees and caught snakes and toads. One summer we rescued a baby bird and nursed it back to health. Another summer we fed baby raccoons off our deck almost every night. We lived in a big city. But nature encroached on us and we cherished it. We built forts with our neighbors and declared ourselves the Rulers of our kingdom. We became detectives and made posters with our 'services,' which we stapled around the neighborhood (Lost your cat? We will find it! ). We built boats out of the woodpiles in one neighbor's yard with only one nail / hammer injury. My mother set up tea parties in the backyard and blankets on sticks and we were given free rein to her closet to dress up and walk our pet dogs (stuffed toys on strings) down the block. Our bikes were our stallions and we named them black beauty and Northern Dancer and galloped on wheels around the neighborhood. Now I am older and the leader of my pack of nature loving dreamers. We count the days until summer vacation arrives, not because my children are desperate to finish up school--they all love school in fact. But because with the summer comes the imagination of being able to live in a two month dream of magical adventures that only kids can have. Yesterday we all visited a nearby lake ... the boys climbed aboard an $11 inflatable crocodile and paddled out to 'the ocean' to fish for sharks. They dug tunnels in the sand and built castles that 'reached the sky'. They ate magic fruit (watermelon) that gave them superpowers and turned their arms pink. Several nights ago my husband set up his telescope and we lay out at night and counted the stars looking for planets and imagining that we were all astronauts ready to explore the universe. The children pitched their tent and pretended it was a spaceship. Their quest for adventures excites me and even as I get older and my back hurts more and its taking a little more will power to keep my eyes open as the kids are counting those stars, I am still in love with the magic that summer can bring. I can't help but want to climb into that tent and also pretend it's a spaceship. After all, for one entire summer of my childhood I too was planning to grow up and be an astronaut. I never realized that becoming a parent would give me access to my childhood again, the enchantment of not only inspiring a little magic in the day to day, but also reliving it. My sister likes to call me on the phone (she lives quite far away now and can't play with the kids as much as she'd like). She'll say "what are they all up to today? Did they climb any mountains or find a deserted island?" She was really keen to hear about my 6 year olds crocodile adventures. "Do you remember the summer we lived on the cloud?" she asks? Oh, that gives me some ideas, I said. And perfect timing, because my youngest explorer has just climbed up on my lap and asked me, with wide eyed curiosity, what sort of adventure we will have tomorrow. "I know the perfect place to go "I said. " But you have to think like a bird! ""Oh mummy! I love Birds "she says and off she goes pretending to fly through the house and calling the other members of our flock to tell them we are going to see some birds tomorrow. And I know, because we live in beautiful Ann Arbor, that it will be a breeze to find a wonderful place to visit some birds. Sutton lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and four adventurers, ages 3, 6, 8, and 11?
When I was a young I spent most of the year dreaming and pining for those wonderful months of summer - days filled with sandy feet and sun burnt noses and evenings spent lying outside looking up at the sky with my sister and parents as we pointed out constellations and shooting stars. My sister, who was only a year younger, was happy to be led into never ending adventures as we entertained ourselves with sticks and rocks and built fairy huts under the pine trees and caught snakes and toads. One summer we rescued a baby bird and nursed it back to health. Another summer we fed baby raccoons off our deck almost every night. We lived in a big city. But nature encroached on us and we cherished it. We built forts with our neighbors and declared ourselves the Rulers of our kingdom. We became detectives and made posters with our 'services,' which we stapled around the neighborhood (Lost your cat? We will find it! ). We built boats out of the woodpiles in one neighbor's yard with only one nail / hammer injury. My mother set up tea parties in the backyard and blankets on sticks and we were given free rein to her closet to dress up and walk our pet dogs (stuffed toys on strings) down the block. Our bikes were our stallions and we named them black beauty and Northern Dancer and galloped on wheels around the neighborhood.
Now I am older and the leader of my pack of nature loving dreamers. We count the days until summer vacation arrives, not because my children are desperate to finish up school--they all love school in fact. But because with the summer comes the imagination of being able to live in a two month dream of magical adventures that only kids can have. Yesterday we all visited a nearby lake ... the boys climbed aboard an $11 inflatable crocodile and paddled out to 'the ocean' to fish for sharks. They dug tunnels in the sand and built castles that 'reached the sky'. They ate magic fruit (watermelon) that gave them superpowers and turned their arms pink. Several nights ago my husband set up his telescope and we lay out at night and counted the stars looking for planets and imagining that we were all astronauts ready to explore the universe. The children pitched their tent and pretended it was a spaceship. Their quest for adventures excites me and even as I get older and my back hurts more and its taking a little more will power to keep my eyes open as the kids are counting those stars, I am still in love with the magic that summer can bring. I can't help but want to climb into that tent and also pretend it's a spaceship. After all, for one entire summer of my childhood I too was planning to grow up and be an astronaut. I never realized that becoming a parent would give me access to my childhood again, the enchantment of not only inspiring a little magic in the day to day, but also reliving it.
My sister likes to call me on the phone (she lives quite far away now and can't play with the kids as much as she'd like). She'll say "what are they all up to today? Did they climb any mountains or find a deserted island?" She was really keen to hear about my 6 year olds crocodile adventures. "Do you remember the summer we lived on the cloud?" she asks? Oh, that gives me some ideas, I said. And perfect timing, because my youngest explorer has just climbed up on my lap and asked me, with wide eyed curiosity, what sort of adventure we will have tomorrow. "I know the perfect place to go "I said. " But you have to think like a bird! ""Oh mummy! I love Birds "she says and off she goes pretending to fly through the house and calling the other members of our flock to tell them we are going to see some birds tomorrow. And I know, because we live in beautiful Ann Arbor, that it will be a breeze to find a wonderful place to visit some birds.
Sutton lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and four adventurers, ages 3, 6, 8, and 11?
posted by John Hilton at 1:36 p.m. | 0 comments