Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Peter Pan, my first love

I don't guess I've really talked about Peter Pan before, but I can't not talk about him any longer.

Peter Pan was my first crush.

Many years ago, when I was just a young tot of two, (maybe younger, but I don't remember that far back) I had a record player.  I listened to music and stories on my record player.  I remember having several versions of the story of Peter Pan that I loved listening to.

Peter Pan frequently sent Tinker Bell to my home to visit me.  I remember more than once, sitting in my living room while a light darted about the ceiling.  I spoke to it.  My parents might tell you that it was my dad holding a hidden flashlight, but that wouldn't be the truth - it was Tinker Bell.

I'm sure I visited Never Never Land after falling asleep many nights.

When I was three, just before Halloween, I fell and broke my left arm, just above the elbow.  I already had my costume and no broken arm was going to stop me from dressing as, you guessed it, Peter Pan.
My brother and I. 1978

At the preschool Halloween class party.  Most of the time, I wore my sling inside my shirt.
Peter was on my 4th birthday cake and I had either a mobile or a lamp from my very early childhood that featured Peter.

One of my favorite records as a child was a theatrical performance of Peter Pan on LP.  It was a very groovy recording with original music.  I LOVED that record.  I can still sing the opening song from it.  "There's a magic place I know, where it's summer all year through.  A land at rainbows end of games and let's pretend, Never Land is waiting for you!"

Terrytown Players, I love you.
The record was made in 1977
I was given a beautiful story book from my parents in 1980 for Christmas.  It had the most amazing pictures in it.  I looked at those beautiful works of art over and over.
Stunning art work.
It really set my small child's imagination running.

I went to see Peter Pan when it came to Dallas and starred Sandy Duncan! (late 70's early 80's, I don't know the year)  I remember going to see that.  It was such a thrill.  Years later I was introduced to the Mary Martin version of Peter Pan.  I taped it off the TV and had it on VCR tape so I was able to watch it over and over and over.  "I have a place where dreams are born and time is never planned.  It's not on any chart, you must find it with your heart, Never Never Land."  Then, as a teenager, the Cathy Rigby version came to Dallas and I saw that performed.
The Playbill for Cathy Rigby's Peter Pan
I have several versions of the books to read.
The book on the left is a nice hardback, the center book I got for super cheap at a used bookstore.  It's great for just reading without worrying about destroying the book.  The blue book on the right it the one with the beautiful artwork that I got for Christmas when I was very small.

The first unabridged book of Peter pan that I read.
I learned very quickly when reading Peter Pan, that it was much more than just a children's book.  The language was difficult first of all.  It's much darker story than the plays and movies I had seen.  Peter is still lovable, but less so.  He is an mischievous imp.  You get so annoyed with him in his complete lack of understanding of Wendy's feelings, and yet, when he is hurt and about to die, alone on a rock from a wound inflicted by Hook, you want to cry for Peter. 

There were movies, like Hook, in 1991 that were lots of fun.  There were other movie versions that were well done, but not my favorite telling of the story....  I was in the play Peter Pan when I was 10 or so years old.  I played the snake.  I got to hang out with the crocodile.  I was in every scene the crocodile was in.  I don't have any photos of my in my snake costume, but I know my mom has at least one, somewhere. 

I tried to convince my husband to name one of our children Peter, but I never could get him to go with me on that.

I had the most awesome record ever of the Disney's Peter Pan:

Yes, amazing pictures from the movie printed right onto the record.
As a teenager, probably 16 years old, I did a cross stitch of Peter and the gang:
It hangs on the wall in my home now.

Then, six years ago, I had the opportunity to go to London for about 36 hours.  I didn't care what I saw or did in London, as long as I visited the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens.  It took several subway trains from my hotel and a very, very long walk through a huge park before I found Peter, but found him I did. A kind stranger took a picture of me with Peter Pan.  I was 8 months pregnant at the time with baby #4.  Sadly, I haven't seen those pictures since coming back from London.  I have no idea what happened to them.  I hope one day to find them, but until then, just know that I've been there.  I've seen Peter.  I sat on a bench across the walk from him, looked at him and thanked him for the many, many wonderful years we've know each other.


stoups said...

I remember looking at the photo of you when you had your broken arm in your shirt and not understanding. I thought that your are broke off. Totally missed that.

Deb and Barbara said...

I have to make sure Deb sees this! She will especially love the books and records. Oh, man, I hope you find that photo!!

SLC said...

I have many memories of Peter Pan thanks to you - I remember the tinker bell light that you talked to (I must have been little - but I remember it dancing across the wood paneling on the wall in the living room). I loved that old Disney record - we also had a Strawberry Shortcake one too, didn't we? And of course I remember the groovy version. I remember the snake costume, but barely. I'm glad you kept all of that stuff- it was fun to see it again.

Molly said...

Thanks for the lovely comments. :)
Yes, Susan, we had a Strawberry Shortcake record. It was from the same time period, very groovy. It had the gang singing The Candy Man Can, Animal Crackers, Little Brown Jug (which is really funny now that I know what a little brown jug is.) We had some awesome story records!