Of all the things I credit with nurturing and fueling my childhood imagination, I suddenly realized that I seem to always manage to leave out Willy Wonka. Or, more accurately, Gene Wilder's portrayal of Willy Wonka.
His passing left me quite saddened but the fact that he hid his Alzheimers because he was afraid that it would lead to sadness if people knew is a last gesture of grace from the great dreamer of dreams himself. He, as his nephew said on NPR, "could not bear to be responsible for one less smile in the world."
I am only now sifting thru the memories of the Chocolate Factory and how the movie was such a part of my youth. How my friends and I would make our own "golden tickets" to hide in our Hershey Bars. How we all wanted to be the enigmatic showman who made dreams come true.
How we emptied out a few cans of chocolate syrup in our day because all wanted to know what it might be like to tend to have our action figures explore a chocolate waterfall and river. : )
Somehow I forget to list it among the influences of my place in the world today.
But today, when I look at the things I create and the impetus behind them. . . it seems so clear. I may never be the caretaker of a chocolate factory but I do believe that any of us who build, dwell in or create little worlds of imagination probably owe at least a bit of thanks to Willy Wonka.
Gene Wilder made me laugh thru the years. Some of his scenes from later movies remain etched in my head and heart. . . but none more so than that of the reclusive Willy Wonka, straining to make his way to the front gate with his walking cane, then lose said cane, fall forward face first only to roll over and bounce up on the soles of his feet with the biggest, most wonderful and warm smile on his face. . . doff his top hat and then, he let us ALL in.
The truth is, I never left Mr. Wonka.
I never left. . .
|"If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it."|
|"We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams!"|