the sound of music

Lately, Lyd and I have been on a BIG kick for the movie “The Sound of Music.”  The soundtrack has been playing frequently, and the movie has been played a lot too, although it’s been requested more often than it’s been played.  Lyd now knows at least the melodies of all the songs, and she knows at least some of the words for most of the songs, too.  I know that she knows the entire five minutes of the song “Do-Re-Mi,” as we’ve sung it together a capella in the car. 🙂

Lyd’s favorite scene, however, is the wedding scene.  “How long until the wedding scene?” she asks me when she watches the movie.  She likes to dress up in a while slip, put a (green tulle) veil on her head, carry a bouquet of artificial flowers (the same flowers I carried as a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding) and pretend to be a bride.  Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to be a problem for her that she’s lacking a groom!

She found it completely hilarious when we read the book “Giggle, Giggle, Quack” at bedtime the other night for the first time.  The animals in Farmer Brown’s farmyard are going wild while he’s on vacation: ordering pizza, taking bubble baths, and watching a movie.  Guess which movie the cows choose to watch?  “The Sound of Moosic!”  Lyd laughed for five minutes at that one!

This newly-discovered emphasis on “The Sound of Music” has caused me to pull my tattered and torn copy of “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers(that is missing both a front and back cover) off of my shelf and read it over again.  It’s so worn out (it got read a lot before the book mysteriously moved with me to CA 8 years ago…) that I considered buying a new copy.  So, I looked around on Amazon and found that not only could I get a new copy, but that Maria von Trapp wrote some other books, too.  Plus, her step-daughter Agatha von Trapp (“Liesl” in the movie) also wrote a book about the life of the von Trapp family from her perspective, called “Memories Before and After The Sound of Music.”  I ordered a used copy of the Agatha von Trapp book online (because our library system doesn’t carry it), and have very much enjoyed Agatha’s alternative perspective on the von Trapp story.  I was able to order two books from my library system: “Maria: My Own Story” by Maria von Trapp, which is specifically about her life, and a book about the making of the movie “The Sound of Music,” written about 15 years ago.

So, there’s a lot about Maria von Trapp and “The Sound of Music” in our house these days.

I learned something interesting in all this reading.  Maria was a VERY strong-willed woman.  She was decidedly not happy about marrying the Captain.  In fact, it took her a month as well as a spiritual experience at church on Christmas to finally choose to open her heart to her new husband.  Maria was 22 when she got married, and the Captain was 47 — they were 25 years apart in age.

When the von Trapps emigrated to America, they gave concerts for many years to earn money, as all of their money had been lost in a bank collapse back in Austria during the war.  So, they toured for many years.  All of the seven original von Trapp children were adults when they emigrated to America, and they toured for 20 years.  None of the older girls ever got married; Maria insisted that the entire family perform together, and except for the oldest son, Rupert, who was a doctor, everyone else did.  Maria could not be argued with.  One of the younger girls actually had to run away to get married.

That super strong-will of Maria surprised me, especially when I read Agatha’s book and realized that the children resented her a little bit for that.  At the same time, Maria’s strong will and drive to succeed probably saved the family from complete financial ruin.  Her drive helped make them a success in America.  I found this interesting quote from Hedwig, one of the younger daughters: “You know, if it weren’t for Mother [their name for Maria], we’d have all been cooks and maids.”  Maria was a difficult woman, who got loud and threw things when she was angry.  She also had a very difficult childhood, devoid of affection.  She should have been a juvenille delinquent, but somehow decided to become a nun instead.  Of all the songs in The Sound of Music, the song “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” is probably the most true to life — Maria really did NOT fit in at the abbey, and she DID take to kissing the floor when she saw the Mistress of Postulants coming, “just to save time,” just like Julia Andrews says in the movie.

So, it’s been very interesting to be on this “kick” for The Sound of Music.  It’s been fun to see Lyd delight in these songs, and it’s neat to hear her singing them around the house.  I’m wondering if any local theater company in the next year or so will be putting on “The Sound of Music.”  If so, I may think about letting Lyd audition for a role as one of the younger girls – she would be perfect for it.

Also as part of my Sound of Music kick, I got two biographies on Julie Andrews out of the library.  Both are interesting, especially the one she wrote herself about her early life, entitled Home.  I had forgotten about her early stage success as Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady.”  It’s neat to read her memories of that time, as well as her next Broadway show “Camelot.”  I grew up listening to the soundtracks of both of those musicals when I was a child.

On my mantle above the fireplace stands a plate with a picture of Julie Andrews in the opening scene of “The Sound of Music.”  My aunt gave me that plate.  She loved that movie, too.  I think it’s kind of appropriate that Lyd is now learning to love that movie.  Aunt Pat would approve.