I remember my 7th birthday party. I had been so excited to share my latest obsession with my friends and cousins- the movie The Sound of Music. I didn't even care when everyone got up and started to play hide-and-seek while I sat alone and watched the movie alone for about the 100th time.
I remember tagging along with my dad when he visited Videorite in Wynberg - just so that I could convince him to hire the movie yet again. I don't know how many times I watched it, but it was enough for me to memorise most of the lyrics of all the songs.
I was ecstatic when our strict scary music teacher introduced the songs of this movie's soundtrack as part of music classes. Despite her tendency to beat the living daylights out of us if we set a foot wrong (or sang out of tune), I still have fond memories of those classes.
I even watched Mary Poppins in the hopes of seeing more of Maria, since Julie Andrews plays the lead in both movies. But alas, Mary Poppins was nothing like Maria - she did not even look much like her! I was disappointed - I spent years hoping that they'd make a sequel (like Rocky kept doing).
Now, decades later, my kids are completely obsessed with both movies. One knows that the kids are home from school as soon as the sounds of ''The hills are alive'', ''My favourite things'', ''Eidelweiss'' (from The Sound of Music) and ''A Spoonful of Sugar'', 'Chim Chim Cheree'' and ''Feed the Birds'' from Mary Poppins can be heard floating down the passage.
The only problem is that my kids are even more sensitive than I was and worry even more than I did. So Nuha (7), although she enjoys The Sound of Music, became very concerned when she saw the end of the movie and bombarded us with an unending stream of worried questions.What is war? Who was Hitler? What if the Von Trapp family didn't make it to safety? How can we be sure?
And this is why they do not really enjoy Annie much. The thought of orphans in an orphanage being ill-treated by the awful Miss Hannigan (played by the inimitable Carol Burnett) is just too much to bear. Not even the catchy tunes and agile dances detract from the sadness and misery which they associate with the fate of the poor orphans. Not to mention how paranoid the movie makes them by awakening their deep-seated fear of losing their parents. It's much too depressing to watch that movie with them.
Right now, I am listening to the kids playing inside and every few minutes one of them will break into song (singing a song from these movies). I wonder if these movies will still have appeal in another 20 years time when my kids, themselves, could possibly be sharing them with their kids. I'd like to think so.
Ever wonder what curly red-haired Annie looks like today?
Image obtained from here