By Leslie Lindsay
When my daughters came back from an outing to the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri raving about “Mary Poppins,” several summers ago, I scratched my head and raised my eyebrows. Mary Poppins, really?! Isn’t she kind of…well, old-fashioned?
But they loved her mysterious magic and fun. They were mesmerized by her wit and charm. I had to run out and purchase the movie for they wouldn’t stop talking about her. My oldest even wanted to be her for Halloween that year. I convinced her, sweetly, diplomatically that maybe she better be something else. And so she was Strawberry Shortcake.
We definitely went through a Mary Poppins phase and I guess it wasn’t all bad. There were some good, wholesome lessons from the sassy nanny.
Anita Diamont, a journalist and New York Times best-selling novelist mentioned that this was one of her favorite childhood books in Everything I Know I Learned from a Children’s Book, (Roaring Book Press, 2009).
She says, “Mary Poppins herself was the best magic of all: a free-spirit who comes and goes as she sees fit; a well-traveled person with a fabulous past; an ordinary-looking woman who adores her own appearance and whose self-regard is unassailable as the Himalayas. She was all that and more. I never wanted Mary Poppins to be my nanny. I wanted to be Mary Poppins when I grew up.”
Great lessons for any daugher…
The author of the Mary Poppins was P.L. Travers. I often wondered if P.L. was a man or a woman. I figured it had to be woman. Back “in the day,” only men were really “supposed” to be writers. I figured in order to get published, she had to use only intials. P.L. Travers is indeed a woman–Pamela. Not sure what the L stands for. She was a serious journalist and writer who grew up in Austrailia. She traveled, but eventually settled in London. (Probably not Number 17 Cherry Lane, like her character’s charges, but I suppose you never do know).