Monday, February 14, 2005

The Little Mermaid Is Alive and Well

When Rachel was 6, The Little Mermaid was the hottest movie around. For her birthday party, we invited Vivian, Burgundy’s drama teacher, to choreograph and stage the play in the basement of Generous George’s Pizza Parlor, with of course Rachel as Ariel (with a deep red wig) and her friends as all other characters in the movie. I made costumes for everyone and we have it all on film. It was a remarkable rendition. Soon after the play, the costume got packed off to the attic, where it has languished for these last 14 years.

Last night we had some new friends over to dinner. They have a beautiful daughter, Julianna, whom they adopted in Hungary. I wasn’t exactly sure what she was going to do while we grownups cooked Indian food and talked about grownup things. So I had gotten a couple of boxes of costumes out of the attic. When Julianna showed up at our front door in a princess dress, I knew this was the right activity. She looked through the entire box and then chose The Little Mermaid (Ariel) costume, replete with mermaid tail. She put it on over her undershirt and wore it for the rest of the evening, the tail flopping around as she went up and down the stairs. Our dog Jake barked incessantly at her at first until he realized that she wasn’t a real mermaid! She seemed to feel a real connection to the original Ariel who wore that costume and asked a lot of questions about Rachel.

It was so much fun to remember that long-ago birthday party and those difficult decisions about who would get to play which parts. I love my daughter as a bonafide adult, but seeing Julianna in the old costume made me long for the little girl again! Maybe I will some day get the thrill of seeing my granddaughter as another Little Mermaid...


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