Thursday, February 19, 2009

Destination: Moon

Quick, tell me, when you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? The better question might be, "Who did you want to be?"  Did you have heroes who influenced you?  Were they people you knew or people from media, whom you thought you knew? 

Dan Mitchell Allison's Veronica Lake  in "Destination: Moon"  from our art collection.

Picture frames influenced me.  Yes picture frames.  You see when I was a pre-schooler, every five-and-dime store displayed picture frames in their windows. Within the frames were black and white photographs of movie stars.  That's where I first saw her, Veronica Lake, the sultry blond actress.  I wanted to be Veronica Lake.  I remember pulling my hair over my right eye and believing I looked exactly like her.  "Do I look like Veronica Lake, Mama?"

"No, your face is too round and your hair is too short."  I wanted to trade that mother for Veronica Lake!  

Photo of Shirley Temple courtesy of Wikipedia.
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Then one day there was a little round-faced girl in the picture frames.  "Who is she, Mama?"

"Shirley Temple, the little actress."

Summer nights, at our neighborhood park, a projectionist would show old movies on the side of a building.  One night, with fireflies glowing in the dark around us, we sat on our blankets and watched a curly-headed Shirley Temple dance and sing her heart out.  I was suddenly Shirley Temple!  Never mind that I couldn't dance and my voice would frighten other small children and large dogs.  I had the round face and the hair.

Later, my heroes would be a special teacher, a writer, a scientist, or often, one of my courageous patients.  Ever the optimist, I'm still trying to figure out who I will be.  Do you think I look like Isabel Allende, the writer?