#143 Mary Poppins

I grew up loving Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins the magical nanny that came to the Banks house to take care of two unruly children. She stays until she decides that they don’t need her anymore. But, it is what Mary does that makes me look at her as a role model. She takes an unusual take on looking after Jane and Michael. She decides to give them a spoonful of sugar and teaches them about charity through the song “Feed the Birds”. Jane and Michael learn many things from Mary Poppins. She takes them out to the park where they go on a merry-go-round ride and participate in a animated hunt. I think that Mary Poppins had shown them that there is a way to make things fun when you are doing them. When they are cleaning the nursery, she shows them that there is always joy in what you do. Mary Poppins is a good role model because she was able to teach patience when it comes down to raising children. When things don’t go you way, well Mary Poppins usually finds a way.

Life Does Not End After Happily Ever After

“Once upon a time” and “happily ever after” are two phrases that most people in the world are familiar with. They follow fairy tales and rags to riches stories. But, what some of us tend to forget is that life carries on after the grand wedding or celebration. There is always hard work when it comes down to keeping a good name with other people. Many works surrounding fairy tales have emerged that show tell us that things don’t always go the way that we want them to go. Sometimes things just don’t work out in the end.

Two weeks ago I went and saw the hit movie Into the Woods. The classic musical by Stephen Sondheim has Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk mixed together with a witch to complete. In the middle of the movie everyone was living their life like in a fairy tale. However, the movie did not stop after Cinderella and Rapunzel met their prince’s or when Jack and his mother became rich off the giants in the sky. All of that was covered in the first half of the movie. The second half was about the cast of characters getting through life as they know it. In the show, as well as, movie there is a baker and his wife. Through out the second half the bakers wife gets tired of taking care of the child that she and her husband had longed for. The husband says the child does not like him and that it should be the wife. These two had longed for a child. When they found out through the witch that there was a spell on the bakers house so that the family line remains barren. They went through a treacherous journey to collect all of the things that they needed for the witches potion. Obviously, in the end they had succeeded, they were shown to be happy. If the story with the baker and his wife were to end their, then most people would assume that they were a happy couple with close to no problems at all. However, even the happiest of couples have their issues. Some of them just work through it, others call it quits.

Through out the baker and his wife’s journey they come upon Cinderella. As many of us know Cinderella originally ran from her prince at the ball. When Cinderella lost her shoe the prince vowed he would find the girl and marry her. He went through the entire town, until he found Cinderella. They were immediately married and had begun their happily ever after. I believe that everyone is familiar with the story of Cinderella, probably one of the most well known rags to riches story there is. However, in the second half Cinderella expresses to the baker that she cannot leave the castle unless she is under guard. This showed that, as much as we want to believe that Cinderella was happy with the prince, there was some unhappiness within the marriage. There is a book called Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix,this book shows Cinderella is truly unhappy in her life with the prince. In this book she eventually leaves him for a life that she would enjoy better. However, I won’t give away spoilers from the movie.

Cinderella is not the only girl who met her prince in the movie, there was Rapunzel. Rapunzel was raised by the witch in the movie. The witch was shown to love her as her own daughter. But in the end Rapunzel fell in love with her prince and chose to leave and marry him. This infuriated the witch who blinded the prince, she then sent Rapunzel to live faraway. Eventually, Rapunzel and her prince meet up again. They renew their love before Rapunzel heads back to the tower she has lived in. When Rapunzel’s prince realizes that it was the witch who had blinded her, he lashes out at her. Rapunzel and her prince leave the witch behind heartbroken. The witch was shown to really love Rapunzel as her own daughter, however, she was too overprotective. The witch and Rapunzel are never to meet again. There is a difference in the musical to the movie, I do wonder if Rapunzel ever regretted not being able to make up with the witch again.

Now, onto the children, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack. Both of them at the end had similar tales. Little Red Riding Hood was able to get the food to her grandmother and Jack was able to get enough money to support him and his mother for the rest of their lives. But, when the giant does come to town from the sky in search for the boy who killed her husband, Jack, both of their lives are changed. These two are just children who one day had just what they wanted to having losing things that they loved. I won’t go into too much detail for those of you who have not seen the movie.

With that being said Into the Woods is a true eyeopener to what happens after “happily ever after”. Being a young girl I dreamed of one day meeting a prince and leading a charmed life after that. Although married life with children can be a wonderful thing to look forward to, it comes with hard work and having to look for the good when the bad times come. Into the Woods was able to show that sometimes in life there are happy endings, even after “happily ever after”.

# 144 Jane from Tarzan

In Edgar Rice Burroughs epic book Tarzan we meet a man who was raised by apes. He soon encounters a young girl named Jane Porter with whom he falls in love with. At the beginning of the book we see Jane as a damsel in distress. But as the series carried on we see her evolve into someone who is adventurous and daring. Through out the series Jane becomes capable of being able to defend herself in the wild. When Jane chose to stay with the man that she loved she knew that she had to adapt to new ways of the jungle. She was aware that she would not have the same amenities as she would back home. Learning to adapt in an African jungle when coming from a life of privilege comes with time. Jane over time learned how to take care of herself as well as her family; when she went from damsel in distress to heroine of the jungle.

#145. Deloris Van Cartier/ Sister Mary Clarence

Sister Act film poster.jpg

In the hit comedy Sister Act there is a woman, portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg, who runs into some trouble and has to hide inside a convent. When Deloris Van Cartier becomes Sister Mary Clarence she is able to show no nonsense nuns that you can be religious and have fun at the same time. The head of the order was not very fond of her because of the fun that she had brought inside. I think that Deloris Van Cartier or Sister Mary Clarence is a good example because she was able to find a way of having fun even in the darkest hour. She found away to enjoy her time in a place where she didn’t belong. The nuns, eventually, came to accept her for who she is, not where she came from when the truth got exposed. All in all, Deloris stayed true to herself, even when she was being hunted down by a mob boss.

#146 Felicia Farrell from the musical Memphis

Memphis. Beverley Knight as Felicia Farrell. Photo credit Matt ...

In the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Memphis the main female character is stunning Felicia. Memphis takes place in the 1950’s in Tennessee and Felicia is African-American. Unfortunately, that means that she was subjected to racism and had to follow segregation laws. But, she has a beautiful voice. With her voice she meets Huey Calhoun, who loves music and is oblivious as to why Felicia is not cared for in his community. Eventually, with Huey’s help and them falling in love she is able to realize her dreams of making it to the top. After getting assaulted and being called the vicious “n” word, she is able to show the town of Memphis and the world that true beauty can come from within. Felicia is a good role model because she is able to show that you can still be yourself and achieve your dreams at the same time.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today, while being snowed in, I found out that today is Holocaust Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom. The reason for this is that on this day in 1945, Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army. I openly believe that the Holocaust did happen. However, today many have yet to believe and refuse to spread the truth.

I first learned about the Holocaust when I was ten years old. That Christmas I had received a book about what it was like to live in 1944. The reason for this is because I had the Molly American Girl doll and the book had pictures from the past. In the book there was a section dedicated to the Holocaust in Europe. The first thing I noticed in this section is that there were children, like me, being held captive behind barbed wire. I thought they had done something bad, until I had read the caption and discovered that they were being held there because they were Jewish. I had known a Jewish girl in my school and my uncle had married a Jewish woman. I did not understand why they were kept behind the gate because they were Jewish. I went to my dad and asked him why they were there. He explained to me that a bad man named Adolf Hitler did not like Jewish people. He went on to tell me that people died in Auschwitz because of starvation and extermination tactics, like gas chambers. I asked him if there were any children and babies killed in the Holocaust. His response was yes. I was completely horrified by what had happened behind the gates. I could not understand why someone would want to kill a baby or a child like myself at the time. When I first learned about the Holocaust, my dad told me about what had happened. However, I did not know how grim they were going to become

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Flash forward to when I was twelve in sixth grade. It was here that the school was required to read the book Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. I had already known about the Holocaust at the time. But what I did not know is that it caused neighbor to turn on neighbor. The book Number the Stars is about a young girl, Annemarie, growing up in Denmark right after the Nazis had invaded. One day she comes home from school and her best friend, Ellen, who is Jewish, explains that they were informed in their synagogue that they were to report to a train station (I think). By this time, the Jewish people were forced to wear the yellow Star of David on on their clothing so that they can be recognized in public. Annemarie’s parents understood that this was not something good and arranged for Ellen and her family a safe passage out of Denmark. In the end the girl’s best friend does make it out. I learned through this book that the Danish people had taken a bit of a stand against the Nazis when some of the people wore a gold star of David even though they were not Jewish. However, it is here that I learned that unlike the young girl’s best friend, many Jewish people were not that lucky. I learned that many people, even those, who were friends with Jewish people, with the power of propaganda became brainwashed and anti-Semitic. I could not understand why people would do this. I learned from there that in the schools many children were forced to read books that were anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism was already in Europe, the only difference is that Hitler and his officials took it to a higher level.

Going in the future two years later I was in the eighth grade. I was informed that the class was going to read a book called Night by Elie Wiesel. The exposure of what had happened in the Holocaust was about to become real. When the rest of the class had received the book, we were told to look on the back. There was drawing on the back of three people hanging. Many of my classmates, including myself, were shocked that there was drawing like this on the back. By this time the class and myself had already known about the horrors of the Holocaust, but we were about to learn the real horror that happened inside Auschwitz and other concentration camps. The book Night starts off Elie Wiesel explaining that he had a happy and normal childhood in Romania. He explained that he was studying the Torah and had a good family. Then one day it all changed when a group of people were told that they had to go some place with the Nazis. When one the men came back he explained about what had happened. Many of the people in the village did not believe what had happened because the Nazis, ironically, were being nice to them. This older man explained that he had seen babies being used as target practice and children were being beaten daily. Still no one believed him. At this point, Wiesel and his family were put into a ghetto. His father had become a community leader inside the ghetto. One night his father had come back and explained that they were being sent away. When they go to the train station they see that they are to travel by cattle car on the way there. On the train ride there was a young mother who was traveling with her son who had to be knocked out from time to time because she would see things that were not there. The things she had been seeing were the things that were going to happen. When they get to Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel recounts the last time he sees his mother and younger sister due to the fact that they were separated by gender. From here Elie goes with his father and inside they see many children and babies being burned to death. He was horrified by what he had seen. The book goes on to explain that Elie and his father were subject to malnutrition, death runs, and hypothermia. Eventually, Elie’s father does die.

When the class was done with this book, I learned that the Holocaust was something demonic and inhumane that had happened. I vowed to share the truth about what had happened with the next generation. The people who had survived the Holocaust are going to pass on one day, but their stories will not go away. I have chosen today not to write about the men who had caused this because today is about the victims.

#147 Anita from West Side Story

Anita from the famous musical West Side Story is a beautiful role model. The loving girlfriend of Bernardo and loyal friend of Maria stands by her choice to live a better life in America than she would in Puerto Rico. The musical takes place during the 1950’s, so things were different back then. In the song America, Anita goes on to say about all the opportunities she has in New York City versus Puerto Rico. Despite Bernardo taking on her stating about how people are prejudice against them for not being born in America, she stands her ground and reminds him of the opportunities that America has that Puerto Rico does not.

Also, Anita stands by Maria when she decides to become Tony’s girlfriend. Tony is not an immigrant and was part of the Jets gang, a rival to Bernardo’s gang the Sharks. Unfortunately, their relationship is considered forbidden, so they have to runaway in order to have a life together. I won’t give too much away in case you haven’t seen West Side Story. But, all in all Anita is truly loyal and brave for standing up for friendship and recognizing the freedom she has in America versus Puerto Rico in the 1950’s.

Here is a link to watch America from the movie West Side Story (1961) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy6wo2wpT2k

2015 Blizzard

Snow! And plenty of it...

In case you have not heard there is a blizzard happening in New England right now. Today my mom did some last minute shopping for food and water, while my dad filled up gas cans. I also left for work an extra hour early because I needed to get gas in my car. Although with snow comes a huge clean up getting snowed in and hunkering down does have its perks. For example, getting to sleep in, doing nothing for a day, and eating all the yummy junk food.

The biggest downside to having a snow storm like this is losing power. The main reason for all the gas that my dad got was in order to make sure that we have enough to power the generator. In case of storms like this I would definitely recommend getting a generator because it keeps the power going, and that keeps the hot water for showers going. A generator may be loud, but it is definitely a good thing to keep in the house in case of bad weather or just a power outage over all. If you do have a generator please make sure that it is properly ventilated and read the instructions on how to start it or call a help line. Also, when you are out looking for a generator ask for suggestions on which one to get. As long as you have a safe place to put the generator, then look into stores for a good one.

So with that being said I won’t be going anywhere for a day or two due to the mass amount of snow that Connecticut, as well as the rest of the northeast, is set to get. By the way in the case of a storm please make sure you have water, food, batteries, flashlight, etc. You really don’t realize how much you depend on something until it is gone for a couple of days.

Honoring Christmas Year Round

Christmas Movies How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

The end of December, for me, means that the holidays are over and things are going back to the way they were. Christmas (right after Halloween) is my favorite holiday. It is too bad that it only comes once a year. The importance of Christmas is celebrating Christs birth and honoring why He came down to save us. Christ, for me, is a very important part of Christmas.

But, I do love the Christmas movies. So on the twenty-fifth of each month I watch a Christmas movie. By, watching a Christmas movie every twenty-fifth I am reminded the importance of Christmas and what Christ did for me. One of my favorite Christmas stories is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. At the end of the story Ebenezer Scrooge realizes his sin of avoiding and running away from Christmas because it created to much hurt for him. As we know, before this, there were the three spirits that had come to visit him that had showed him the wrong that he had done. For me A Christmas Carol does have a Christian meaning with it because of what Scrooge had realized through the spirits and Tiny Tim who famously said “God bless us everyone.”

Christmas movies that have a meaning surrounding Christs birth are not the only ones I watch. If you know me, then you know that I LOVE Home Alone and A Christmas Story. Don’t forget the Rankin Bass classics of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. As well as the classics such as White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street (the original). The list just goes on and on of all the Christmas films that I love! All of these movies remind me of family time during the holidays, as well as during the year. The holidays only come once a year but watching a Christmas movie on the twenty- fifth of each month make them seem closer and not so far away.

#148 Jessica Day

On the hit Fox comedy New Girl, Zooey Deschanel plays a young girl who had moved out of her boyfriends house when she discovered he was cheating on her. When she was looking places to stay she found an ad for a room in a apartment with three men. However, Jessica thought these men were women by how the ad was done. Jessica Day is a good role model to me because she was able to find her feet after heartbreak. In the first episode, there is a scene where she goes back to her ex-boyfriends house and takes all of her belongings. This made me respect her more becaust not that much time had passed since they had broken up. I think that Jessica Day is a good role model by just being herself in a world filled with cynics. She wears a lot of bright clothes adding a brilliant touch to her personality. She finds that there is always something good to look forward to when something bad happens. Therefore, Jessica Day is a good role model I believe women, as well as teenage girls, should look up to.