So I had an interesting day on Saturday. Nothing exciting but a bit thought provoking. This weekend we witnessed a relative heat wave here in Boston. We were actually able to leave the house via the front door for the first time in weeks!! As such, I ventured out with my daughters to the movies. Aside from the fact that all of you MUST see a movie at a SuperLux theater, the movie was a very pleasant surprise.
Saving Mr. Banks is nominally the story of the making of the 1964 classic film, Mary Poppins. The heart of the story is the relationship between the legendary Walt Disney and the very staid, proper, and even stuffy English author of Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Disney spent over 20 years attempting to get Travers to sell the book rights to him. She continually refused until in 1961 when she came to California to collaborate the a screenplay. Even then the movie seemed unlikely to ever get made. Travers blocked the Disney team at every turn refusing to let her Mary become Disneyfied.
Disney, who was used to getting what he wanted was at a loss……until he realized that Mary Poppins was actually autobiographical. This was the story of Travers (nee Goff) childhood story, and it was a difficult one. Her father was an alcoholic who eventually died when Travers was a child. This was the story of promises broken. Of course, Disney had a similarly difficult relationship with his father that drove him to his success.
Anyway, I guess the point of this is that most of us are formed by our relationships with our parents. Yes it obvious, but its actually layered and complex. We spend most of our teens and early adulthood running from family only to come back (or wish we could) when we have children of our own. How many of you have been driven both for good and ill by something your parents said or did? I know that I have been. Some of you know those stories, for those of you who don’t, I’m happy to share over a few drinks. BTW, how many of you have similar strengths and weaknesses to your parents?
I was left thinking about this. We all make promises that we do our best to keep. It is the promises both said and unsaid that we make to our children that in the long run matter the most. We all know someone that has suffered from a parents broken promise.
Now the flip side of all of this occurred last night. We went to a friends 40th birthday party. Plans got a bit messed up and our party got split into a group of smaller tables. Kim and I sat with a much older couple. At first, I wondered what we would discuss. A very silly concern. Carole and Ted (no Bob or Alice around) were amazing. Well traveled and foodies with so many interesting stories of life well lived. Although they are probably 30 years my senior, they showed no sign of slowing down. Out late enjoying life and thinking not about what they’ve done but what they are doing next.
They are my new role models.
Anyway a very simple but very interesting day…….