Katie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.

I have always enjoyed theatre.  It was always one of my favorite things. I was involved in the drama club and plays in high school (most famous role was as a corpse….stuffed into trunks and fell out of closets). My mother would take me to community theatre, and during the summers in high school I worked as a stage manager for several plays.

My Favorite Things

My parents, grandparents and uncle

So, I was excited to see the “Sound of Music” being performed live on TV.  This was not an easy task, as live TV is not forgiving of mistakes.  Most live talk shows have at least a few seconds delay in the programming just in case something dreadful is said.

After the performance, there were several “experts” in the media who pronounced Scrooge-like comments regarding Ms. Underwood and the performance in general.  I say to them “Bah Humbug”.  I’d like to see you running around on a live set, changing costumes, and singing your lungs out in a small space of time.

So, as a lover of live theatre, I was enchanted and pleased.

Due to the comments, I watched the re-run of the event a few days later.  I still didn’t see what they were complaining about.  It was delightful.  Miss Underwood was a convincing and gentle-spirited rendition of Maria.  The Baroness was gorgeous and conniving and also vulnerable when she realized that Baron Von Trapp would not be choosing her as his wife.  And Baron Von Trapp was, dare I say, handsome and brave.

Perhaps I’m biased. This play is probably one of the first I ever saw as a youth. Seeing it this time, I was sobered to think of the peril it represented to the actual people who lived the story.  The Nazi portrayers in this performance were scary, let alone being face-to-face with them in a life or death situation.

I remember my paternal grandfather speaking of leaving Poland in search of safety and freedom.  My grandmother arrived in Ellis Island when she was 3 years old with her parents and 6 siblings.  And my guess is that they were seeking hope also.
My most favorite point in the play is when Baron Von Trapp looks at Maria and says, “How will the little ones get over the mountain?”  She smiles and says, “We will carry them.”
As I reflect on the courage my grandparents and their parents had to leave Poland and head to Ellis Island, I realize the mountain they carried me over.   They arrived here before both World Wars, and sent their two oldest sons back overseas to fight in WWII. My own dad was not sent overseas, because the tragic event of the five Sullivan Brothers from Waterloo, Iowa.  All five were servicing on the USS Arizona and were killed when their ship was attacked in Pearl Harbor.  The military changed the draft policy so that at least one son would remain in the states for his service.

My departed father-in-law, then serving overseas in WWII

Thankfully, both Dads’ brothers returned home.  Uncle Mitch flew a bomber and got shot down a few times, per the stories.  Uncle Gene was involved in intelligence (he had a college degree).  And Dad served stateside.  From the old photos I’ve seen, he was quite the character.

Bruce’s (my hubby) dad and his brothers served in WWII.  They all returned also.  Pops, as we called my father-in-law, served in the Philippines.  He shared only the funny memories….robbing a local brewery in the middle of the night, rowdy fistfights, etc.  So often during his last years, he would sigh and say to me, “Honey, war is hell…but I had the best time of my life”.

So, here I am living in a warm home, with plenty of food, will little fear for life, realizing how lucky I’ve been. This is when I love thinking of my favorite things.

I recently read the book, “A Secret Gift” by Ted Gup, regarding the Depression in the United States.  There was story upon story of families who had lost everything due to the financial crash.  The book takes place in Canton, Ohio and it isn’t fiction.  The author researched birth and death records, and old newspaper accounts to get to know these people and chronicle their strength in dark times.

Many Americans died due to starvation, lack of warmth, and loss of will.  Many children simply disappeared.  Parents would leave to search for work and never be heard of again. And as I sit in my warm spot at my computer, I realize the strength of my ancestors, and I am so grateful for the sacrifices of previous generations.   My life isn’t perfect, but it’s great.

We have many blessings and joys.

And it is due to my loved ones “carrying me over the mountain” of life into safety.  Their knowledge and support has strengthened me to help carry the next generation further over the mountain.  May their trials be few and their blessings noted.

What are some of your favorite things? 

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Category: Grandparents

Tags: ancestors