Saturday, October 21, 2006

Calling Mary Poppins

I had one of those Disney push button phones when I was a kid—the kind where you could dial up different characters and they’d squeal the same sentence over and over again into your ear. (I tried to find a picture of one—no luck. They probably all broke pretty quickly).

It was a fun enough toy, except for one thing: it had Mary Poppins on it. I just could not stand Mary Poppins. Cloying, umbrella-carrying, able to fly for no apparent reason. Yuck. Eventually my parents caught on to the fact that I was steering clear of her every time I used the phone. “Don’t you want to call Mary Poppins?” they’d ask, as if they were surprised. And they’d very specifically give her a ring.

Fine for them. But no way was I going to call Mary Poppins. I just had too many other phone calls to make: to Mickey, to Minnie, to Donald. Mary did not make the cut. And the more my parents called her the madder it made me. They made such a point of it. They were all “Oh, Mary Poppins, it’s so good to talk to you” and such. Like they weren’t making it up. Prissy priss with her umbrella, hogging my parents. “Oh you want to talk to our daughter? Here she is!” they’d say. And then I would be pressured, because there she was, on the line. I held firm though. I did not answer the phone. She could wait all day, if she wanted.

Because of my grudge, I was 11 before I ever watched the movie. Spoonfulls of sugar, votes for women (step in time), chalk drawings, canons. Of course I liked it. Good old Mary Poppins. She was just hillsarealive Maria after all, singing her heart out with those funny looking kids who wanted to feed the birds for tuppence a bag.

Today, I’d totally take her call.


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