When I was six, I walked down the block, around the corner, and into the little hometown movie theater in the still-light of a Summer day. Though the grown-ups sitting on the porch after supper had lauded the movie as “real good” and “you’ll like it,” nobody seemed to want to stir from their post-supper swing-and-toothpick relaxing, so I just took my dime and marched off.
The usual newsreels, previews, cartoon time were interesting, and then when the music began, all the people and land the-same-color-as-our-old-family-pictures didn’t impress me much, for ALL my previous movies had been in black and white.
The tornado got it a bit exciting, and the house-spinning spun me into the story, and back down with the same bump that lifted the little girl from the bed.
And then---when Dorothy opened That Door---that magical, heart-stopping door into the colors and music and charming small folk halfway ‘twixt fairy and flower--it was as if my own little khaki sunsuit were transformed into pink petticoats and my drab rag-curls into shining ringlets. I was THERE.
I didn’t know WHERE, exactly, for I’d never seen color on a screen before, but it was so drinkable, so sweetly flavorful, like Mrs. White’s pink lemonade at their yearly party, I just gulped it down in great greedy mouthfuls, and anytime I’ve seen it since, I just sit down and drink it in.
I’d TIVOed it way back in May, and yesterday, with the sunshine streaming down the stairs, and us just in, hot and dusty from the yard---we got something cold to drink, a good cold washrag each for faces and arms and legs, and sat down together---her in her Snow White dress and dusty bare feet, and me in the tatty old shorts I’d just swept the patio in.
“Now watch this,” I said, “it will be kinda brown for a few minutes, then it will be BEAUTIFUL!!”
And we did watch, marveling together at HER first peek through the door. And to her, so accustomed to a finger-touch into magical Princess kingdoms and bright cheery worlds---still it was magic. After we’d cooled off a bit, she eased over into my lap, and then we stretched out onto the chair and ottoman, like ladies on a chaise. She lay down on her back on my front, head on my bosom, with her feet way over on the stool, and we watched that entire movie.
She’d turn a bit and ask a question, and or I’d murmur a comment, then she’d spin back into her mesmerized posture. I provided the gentle comfort of an arm-around as the hokey monkeys flew and those OHHH-EEE—OHHHH fellas marched, and it was just the loveliest sharing of a childhood memory I can imagine.
No phones or doorbells or delivery people interrupted us---not for one moment while we enjoyed. It was just the perfect First Watching.