Sunday, October 5, 2014
Saving Mister Banks
CAUTION!!!! If you have not seen Saving Mr. Banks and WANT to see it, proceed no further. I may ruin it for you. Jodi mentioned it to me when it first came out. I wanted to see it but life got in the way. I found out 2 days ago that she and Babs had neither one seen it. TSK. What a great movie. I think Babs has it so maybe we can all see it. Anyhoo, I saw it twice in about one week recently. It's just fabulous. It's all about Walt Disney, Mary Poppins and the lady (named Pam) who wrote the story. Pam had a disastrous childhood in Australia.
Her banker father, whom she loved very much, died a terrible alcoholic death when she was 5 or 6 years old. His nurse assured Pam that she would see her papa through his crisis. The nurse bore a strong physical resemblance to the character later known as Mary Poppins. Imagine Pam's pain when this nurse's promise failed. Note, then, that Mary Poppins was a person who had full control of everything. She could glide UP a banister. She had a magic umbrella. No earthly worry was a concern to Mary.
The movie slowly confirmed that Mr. Banks, in fantasy, was stable and perhaps heroic. Pam's work was all about preserving the image of her beloved father. Incredibly touching.
We saw Mary P. in about 1964 when it first came out. Fun movie, but nothing earth-shaking or life-changing at the time. But, watching Tom Hanks tell Pam that the entire story was about her own father and not the 2 cute children, I found myself relating in many ways.
I had not one, but two parents caught up in the tragedy of alcoholism. My dad was a hard workin' hard drinkin' hard fightin' fun lovin' hard rock miner. When a county commissioner died, some friends came to Dad asking him to finish that term, and then to run. When they were gone he said to Mom, "I can't do it. I'm too big a drinker." Eddie heard that sorrowful confession. I heard it from Eddie some 40 years later. After retirement, Dad quit drinking and died at about age 75.
Mom took to her drinking quietly, probably in desperation over a failing marriage. She spent the last few years of her life living back yard to back yard with her daughter, my sister, Mildred. Mildred was instrumental in helping Mom get rid of that awful monster, gin. Losing Mildred to cancer surely brought on her stroke and to her death at age 89.
I had no idea that my life had a loose parallel to Mary Poppins. I have become quite emotional and tearful in my advancing years. I am glad to be writing this instead of trying to verbalize it. I cried all the way through Saving Mr. Banks, especially as Walt Disney told Pam of his difficult young life in frozen Minnesota.
My life was without meaning or direction. I barely got through high school. I stumbled forward, knowing nothing about anything. When Mary Poppins arrived, without her umbrella, I married her. Life is great.