I’m sure I’m not the only one who grew up with not only animated Disney movies but the old live action ones. We probably watched Swiss Family Robinson a million times, and I mourned when Disneyland switched their treehouse to be Tarzan’s instead because I had always wanted to live in that house with the organ and the ceiling that opens above the master bed.
Looking back, it’s harder to pinpoint why that one appealed to me so much. She didn’t get to live on an island with all those animals as pets and build a super cool treehouse to live in (not just play in). But I loved it, and I find that it’s one of those childhood movies I still think about as an adult.
In case you haven’t seen it, probably the most famous thing about Pollyanna is the story she tells about the origin of “The Glad Game.” She’d been hoping for a doll for Christmas, but there was some mix-up and in the missionary barrel she found a pair of crutches instead. To make her feel better, her dad invented the game, saying, “Well, let’s be glad we don’t have to use them!” It became their method of dealing with disappointments: finding a reason to be glad about them.
Funny how much a simple story like that can influence you for life, isn’t it? Stories are so powerful.
Lately I haven’t been able to work on mine — on the novel that is so close I’d hoped to send it off any week now. But the baby, now seven weeks old, is so fussy that it’s all I can do to keep up with teaching and my other kids and stay sane. Writing has had to be shelved for now.
But I think about how famous writers have said that if your life were easy, you wouldn’t have anything to write about, so as a writer you should always be thankful for the rough patches.
Today I thought about how I’m glad I have a fussy baby because it’s finally forcing me to learn about nutrition. I’ve never eaten junk food and such, but I’ve never been so good about vegetables and fruits and whole grains and lean proteins and such as I suddenly am. And as I learn about nutrition, I’ve been learning about medicine and so many other cool health-related things.
For example, here’s the random trivia of the day: the term “blue bloods” comes from during the plague, when wealthy people drank from silver cups and so the silver would get in their bloodstream and make them look slightly blue. Everyone thought they survived the plague simply by being wealthy, but really it was because silver is a natural antibiotic.
Isn’t that awesome? As a writer, I eat this stuff up. I love to learn about all kinds of different things because you never know how you might be able to use it in a story.
So, even though I’m barely getting in one blog post a week, barely getting any sleep, barely maintaining my sanity, and not able to work on my novel at all, Pollyanna has affected me for life. I can’t help it. I’m glad for all the current chaos of my life; it’ll give me something to write about down the road.
What disappointments are you glad about? What stories from childhood have affected you for life?