Archives for posts with tag: Cinderella

I find myself paralyzed these days as I watch the horror of the current elections with both amazement and genuine terror. When you get to my age, you hope you’ve seen everything stupid that can happen and then this…

Trying to figure it all out, I think back to the elections of my younger days when we didn’t have 24/7 news coverage, the internet or social media. We got a little news from television, more from newspapers and magazines. I’m not advocating we go back, because we can’t, but it has definitely made an impact on how we live through the news ad nauseum as it unfolds minute by minute.

To be fair, and because I tend to want to see all sides of an issue, I try to watch and read as much as I can from every viewpoint. I had a conversation with a university student who was turning 21 and voting for the first time in a national election. His genuine confusion was interesting as he tried to make sense of anything, even with so much information all around him. The problem is that we’re pounded with it, over and over.

When I’ve worked on projects where I need to get a message to an audience, I’ve learned that you need to send it in as many ways as possible since most of us get so much information every day that we may miss it or put it aside. Some of my friends rarely read an email and have no idea how to tweet or text. Snail mail may work best with them. Maybe. Most of us need it all to make something stand out. Repetitive jabbing at the consciousness. Obviously, politicians embrace this technique to the extreme. No publicity is bad publicity, as they say.

So, the end result of all of this constant repetition of the confusing messages is a sense of alarm, a gnawing fear that this year’s elections are leading us to a place most of us don’t want to go. Every day is some new trigger from our state legislatures, the election rallies and debates, local craziness. Always something.

It doesn’t help that I’ve just finished two books that revolve around Germany in the 1930s, “In the Garden of Beasts,” by Erik Larson and “The Boys in the Boat,” by Daniel James Brown. Read them both. You’ll learn from the first one and feel better about being human from the second. My brain is full of images of Hitler’s speeches inciting the crowds to follow him blindly into the evil chaos that was to come. Do we never learn from history?

I understand being fed up with the powers that be. When did we become a country that only worked for our political parties and not for the people? What is this stalemate that has been created in state and national legislatures where you can’t vote for your conscience or for what you know, only for what your party leaders tell you to vote for – if you want to be reelected. And who doesn’t want to be reelected, especially to a national office where you get perks for life even if you’re an idiot and only serve one term. Wow!

In the past months, I’ve had nightmares, real nightmares, about Donald Trump. That’s the result of the constant pummeling at my brain that is coming out in my sleep. I need my sleep.

I have no solution for the madness that is going on around us other than to be careful with your votes. I’m not even sure I want you all to vote if you’re going to continue voting the way you have been. “The people speak” isn’t as reassuring as it used to be.

Last year, one of my favorite movies was Disney’s “Cinderella” with its message: Have Courage and Be Kind. My new mantra.

Right now, I’m going to look away from all the nuttiness and say goodbye to Winter with it’s slanted light and lovely images through the bare skeletons of trees…DSC_0002

…and say hello to Spring with its burst of Hope we need today and every day. Maybe the Spring rains will wash away some of the nastiness that is creeping into our souls.DSC_0003



As a little girl, I devoured books of all kinds, but I had a love affair with fairy tales and magic, advancing into the OZ books as I grew older.  I can remember checking out anthologies of fairy tales over and over from the library.  I don’t know if Cinderella was my favorite, but I loved the story.  The Disney animated version came out when I was about 4, so I may have seen it later in a re-release.

We had a set of books called My Book House at home.  I still have the well worn set, which I read and re-read through my childhood.  IMG_6663One volume had the story of Cinderella, so I may have read this one before I saw the movie.  Or at least around the same time.  This is adapted from the French version, which is the one we all know so well.  IMG_6660No matter how many versions I read or saw, I believed them all.  I was a little girl who got caught up in the magic and didn’t really care if it was plausible or not.  I loved these stories.

The Disney version of the story is definitely a classic because who doesn’t love seeing Gus Gus and Jacques outsmart the wicked cat, Lucifer?  Who doesn’t want a plump Godmother to appear and wave her magic wand and sing “Bibbidi, Bobbidi, Boo?”  And a handsome prince to fall in love with.  Of course.  The vivid colors and wonderful songs and humorous characters are favorites around the world.  I met a young African American girl yesterday who said it was her favorite movie as a child.  We all seem to identify with Cinderella, even in her blonde-haired, blue-eyed version.

Several years ago, I was working with a curriculum called “Different and the Same,” developed by Mr. Rogers’ company for students in grades 1-3.  The programs are wonderful and I was privileged to be able to take this into some of our public schools to talk to the students about diversity.  One of the units was called “Cinderella and Me,” and my research while preparing for classes found that there are over 1,200 versions of the Cinderella story, which appears in every, yes every, culture.  There are even versions with boys in the lead role.  I know of a cowboy and an Irish male version, among others. Because many of the students I met were Hispanic and Native American, I took versions from those cultures with me to read to them.  You can’t imagine the joy on their faces seeing versions with heroes and heroines who looked like them.  I borrowed the Hispanic version, but I still have my copy of “The Rough Faced Girl,” an Algonquin Cinderella.  Look at this illustration of the cruel sisters off to try and marry the “Invisible Being.”

IMG_6662I also have a copy of the Thai version of the Disney classic, which a friend gave me to show the students.  It was an easy lesson to show them that children around the world enjoy the same things.IMG_6661My grandchildren have grown up mostly with the Disney version.  I hadn’t though much about it in the last years until I heard that Walt Disney Co. was bringing out a live version of Cinderella.  I was a little doubtful, thinking that it might be a bit silly, being a live movie from a cartoon.  Still, it looked interesting and I took my 5-year old granddaughter along with my friend and her 6-year old granddaughter.  They were both familiar with the animated version, being of a princess generation.  Like all little girls, these two have their own personalities, with my granddaughter liking dresses and frills and her friend liking monsters and sporty clothes.  Mine hadn’t been to a movie except animated ones, so this was a definite adventure.

Well, I have to tell you that the reason that we love Disney movies is still there.  This is a wonderful version, one that I keep thinking about.  The story is ages old, but there was magic and love and humor and some lessons to be learned, no matter how old you are.  I sat down in the theater next to a couple I know well, who laughed that they didn’t have their grandkids here as an excuse, so they came by themselves.

In this modern age with amazing computer generated images to take your breath away, the movie is lush and the characters are well developed.  In this one, we learn more about Cinderella’s parents and their life before the mother dies.  At one point, my friend’s granddaughter was frightened that everyone would die, since we had seen Cinderella lose both of her parents.  The evil step-mother is still evil, but we have more of her story and there is a chance you might even sympathize with her situation in life, although not her treatment of her stepdaughter.  I found that very brave of the movie makers to not make her just a black and while villainess.  At my age, you can have a second of pity for her.  A second.  There’s still no excuse for being mean, no matter what has happened to you.

Cinderella promised her mother to always “Have courage and be kind.”  How simple does that sound?  Those words get Cinderella through all the cruelty that her stepmother and comical stepsisters heap on her and win the heart of the Prince, who has his own issues with his father and his lot in life.  This is no wimpy Cinderella and mindless Prince.  They actually discuss what his marrying a non-princess will mean.  They make choices.  Very cool.

I was mesmerized with the scenes where the Fairy Godmother worked her magic, without uttering one single Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo that I detected, although the loudness of the sound track scared my granddaughter.  She was also frightened by the final scene with the Stepmother, although I reminded her that she should know that Cinderella will be ok and marry the prince.  Such is the way our minds suspend what we know in the throes of a story.  Who knows what goes on in the minds of our little ones?  I was more obsessed with the tiny waist Cinderella had, hoping they used computers for that and didn’t cinch up the lovely actress.  That’s where I am in life.

In the end, this will be another Disney classic, another version of the timeless story.  The final conclusion was that we all loved it.  My friend and I were actually blown away, in our grandmother ways.  I plan to return with my three daughters, daughter-in-law and 13-year old granddaugher, if she’ll go with us.  Me?  I recommend you read all the versions of Cinderella you can find, watch all the versions you can see.  We’re following a tradition that has found its way around the world again and again through centuries of telling the story.  This new one is definitely a keeper!  IMG_6628



The trouble with all the fairy tales I read and watched growing up is that I believed them.  My prince would come and we would live happily ever after.  I found my version of the prince and we did live happily ever after until we had to stop living that chapter and I accept that. What I can’t accept or believe is that I don’t have an army of magical helpers when I start to clean the house.


Where are those cute little birds and chipmunks and mice that whip their tails and brush away the dust and scrub the dishes and do the laundry?  I’ve got three dogs and two cats who are sitting here looking at me while I pick up the dust balls of hair they leave all over the place.  Where is that magic wand that will transform them?


Oh well, I’m procrastinating and daydreaming and dilly dallying and it’s two days until Thanksgiving.  The things I can come up with to get out of this are infinite, starting with writing, but the dirt is still there.  I don’t even have that silly work excuse this year.

Sigh…where is my fairy godmother?