I watched Mary Poppins last weekend for the first time in perhaps 25 years – maybe more. There were some obvious indicators that I have aged – my husband and I had to watch the movie in two sittings (I almost fell asleep in the first one, and not because I was bored), I noticed how young and beautiful Julie Andrews looked, and I noted my lack of adult classiness as I lounged in my husband’s sweatpants, a grungy t-shirt and holey socks.
I remember being enamored of Mary, and loving the singing and dancing nanny so much that my 33 record had scratches on it from overuse. I wanted to be a nanny for a rich couple. I loved that every situation could be explained in a catchy song. I wanted to be a dancer and a singer, and so this was MY MOVIE for all of that. I memorized the choreography. I loved her parasol…I loved her SHOES. It was lovely, really, my impression of the movie.
Watching it as an adult, I picked up on so much more than I did when I was young. Mary actually REBUFFS Bert’s advances when they are wandering through the countryside during “It’s a Jolly Holiday….” Mr. and Mrs. Banks are unbelievably terrible parents of what any other parent would consider to be great kids. (One of them, Michael, looks like he is about 40 years old. ) Mrs. Banks is a walking contradiction – a champion for women’s rights, but subservient to her husband. Mary Poppins is, while magical and willing to provide creative solutions, a bit cold and standoffish. The fact that the whole family is out flying a kite at the end does not make everything good again – it’s just a beginning. And DANG is Dick Van Dyke talented!! How about that “Step in Time”? Watch it HERE.
Sure, and thank goodness. I’ve unfortunately seen my fair share of bad parenting. I’ve never had experience with a nanny (being one or having one), and I don’t know how many times I’ve rebuffed a guy who was interested in me (yes I do – once). I’ve never been so wealthy or such a workaholic that I couldn’t attend to my family. I do my best to be authentic.
Here’s what I do know – Mary Poppins is magical. It was landmark, it was uplifting, and it was fun. The emotions were beautiful, real, and honest. The talent is amazing. The music is palpably good. The lessons are true: childhood is fleeting. Role models are important; it takes a village to raise children. Fun and humor are essential. Creativity should be encouraged. Work and money are not everything.
And just a spoon full of sugar... well, you know the rest. Go watch it, and be delighted that we have this kind of fun in the world.