(The second movie I loved was The Sound of Music. I think we can see a theme here, a Julie Andrews related theme. O! Julie Andrews! what a wonderful set of pipes you had! What a range! And such impeccable diction!)
What Mary Poppins was about, firstly, was the children, the poor neglected children, who just wanted a nanny who did not
|my first cinematic fixation.|
- smell of barley water
and who would
- love them as a son or daughter,
and a few other sundry qualifications such as
- no warts,
- rosy cheeks,
- very sweet
- fairly pretty.
And also, and for good measure,
- play games, all sorts
- sing songs
- bring sweets
- never cross
- nor cruel
- never feed them castor oil or gruel
(Jane and Michael Banks had mad flow and rhyming skillz.)
It goes without saying, of course, that they wanted no
- scolding nor dominating.
I loved this song so much that I rehearsed it so I could sing it at parties. Even though I was never actually invited to sing it at a party. My performance may not have been as delightful as I imagined.
I could have watched that movie all day, every day, for a protracted period in the 1st to 2nd grade era of my life. I have no actual memory of seeing it in a theater, although I'm sure that I did. I do remember, however, watching it with avid attention on The Wonderful World of Disney. I am pretty sure that I also had Mary Poppins paper dolls, although I might be making that up, since I also remember with great vividness a cloisonné ring, white with a tiny pink rose, that I apparently had when I was, like, five, but my best friend stole it from me. Or maybe I dreamed it.
I am, however, pretty sure that I listened to the music from the movie every Saturday of my young life, because, starting fairly early each Saturday morning, my father always played a reel-to-reel tape with all sorts of music for our enjoyment while we did our chores. I believe it was Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, The Singing Nun, and Camelot. Why The Singing Nun? "Dominique," that's why.
I also liked to let my voice and spirits soar with the Bird Woman of St. Paul's. Who didn't? If you ever go to St. Paul's, which I highly recommend--definitely go up to the Whispering Gallery--I defy you not to hear this song in some ancient chamber of your mind, where the old movies are playing on a continuous loop, and you are still trying to appeal to the perfect nanny to come to you, bringing sweets and carrying a carpet bag with all manner of mysteries inside.