Be Careful What You Wish
Harvey Weinstein, Oscar producer/distributor and the longtime defender of human rights and political freedoms, in reference to the murders in Paris of the cartoonists at France’s satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo by terrorists wrote yesterday, “This preamble hopefully illustrates the humanity and the affection that I think people have for cartoons. From the Sunday funnies like Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie that helped us through the Depression, to Peanuts and Doonesbury, they sometimes provide better wisdom than known philosophers. I’ll take Charlie Brown over Rene Descartes, and put Linus in Socrates’ class, any day of the week. Although it’s Lucy who has the voice of a cartoonist — ironic, funny and eye-opening.”
How very much I relate to his thoughts. When I was a little girl in the late 1940’s living on a farm in Ohio, one of the popular radio shows was called “Archie Andrews” from a comic strip of the day, “Archie”.
Growing up in a farmhouse surrounded by cornfields and livestock, far away from the nearest neighbors down the dusty road, the concept of living in a place like Riverdale with best friends in the same building or next door fascinated me. When my brother clicked on the radio on Saturday mornings so we could eavesdrop on what adventure Archie and his friends were having that week, for that small moment in time, my brother and I lost our isolation and became part of Archie’s family.
Archie’s parents, Mary and Fred Andrews became our parents. His high school, Riverdale High, not the one-room schoolhouse that my brother attended, became ours. Everything about this teenager and his friends Veronica and best buddy, Jughead, were interesting to two kids living a less-than-exciting life on their grandpa’s farm. We longed to live in Riverdale and go to a school just like Archie’s.
Well, as my story unfolds, a few years later, it would be that life threw us a piece of that emancipation pie. We were headed toward Archie’s teenage dream life. I clearly remember looking back, the dust beneath the tires of Daddy’s shiny new Ford slowly obliterating the view of the house as it got smaller and smaller going away from Grandpa’s farm. We were traveling eighteen miles east to live in a real house and in a real town close to Daddy’s work.
My brother and I soon found out that life on Archie’s radio show was much more exciting than it was in our smog filled industrial town. It wasn’t the Riverdale my brother and I had dreamed about. We got our wish alright and we couldn’t wait to graduate from our high school so that we could leave. We would be free to follow our Archie dream once again.
From the time we eagerly drove away from life on Grandpa’s farm those many years ago, I have lived in exactly six places. Several were big city apartments, several suburban houses near big cities and the one that means the most to me is the house on an ocean cliff with the view that fills my heart every day I look out it’s windows. I can stretch my arms wide without touching anything, see and hear no neighbors and have the silence of only what nature brings to me. This house gifts, yes, gifts me peace from all the static in the world around me. Freedom to live where and how I want.
Now in every writer’s toolbox is a thread that ties everything together. It contains the embryo, or idea of the story you want to tell and how it sews neatly together the message you want share with your reader. A quilt of words.
This particular quilt I’m sewing today is, ‘be careful what you wish for in this life’ and be sure to be ready to protect it.
I have been able to live in what I believe to be the greatest country in the world with the best choices in life available. For me, FREEDOM is one of the most important words in the English language. Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Speech. Freedom to be me.
So little Archie girl beware of what you wish. Your dream life in your imagination from the radio or Archie comics may never come true if you and humanity are not careful to honor, appreciate and protect the right to dream.
I don’t ever want to feel stifled. I don’t ever want to feel, as a writer, that I am in a box knocking on the lid crying, “get me out of here!”
Copyright Sandra Hart 2015. All rights reserved.