Well into my early adulthood, I used to imagine I would one day meet Julie Andrews; it would be like a reunion with my childhood nanny, called away to pursue a theatrical career after spending only a short time with our family. But, that short time left a profound and tender impression on me. She had helped me discover my hidden talents, gain greater confidence in myself and become better able to relate to those around me.
I don’t know when I first became aware that others had similar feelings for this great singer and actress. She has touched so many of us such that we feel she was actually part of our lives.
Maybe it’s that I saw Mary Poppins when I was very young, remembering later in life only a few specific scenes while retaining an image of the eponymous eccentric, but empathetic governess she portrayed. And The Sound of Music has been one of my favorite movies since I first saw it at a special screening at the Carousel Theater on Reading Road in Cincinnati.
Yes, I can still remember the theater where I first saw that movie. I can even tell you that I was sitting in the back of the center section on the right side, near an aisle.
So much do I love Julie Andrews that when I bought her book, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years, last week, I moved it to the top of a large pile of books to read. I started it right away. Not only did it keep me up all night, but it was something I looked forward to reading every night of the week for as long as I needed to finish it.
I couldn’t put it down, felt as connected to it — and as part of her shows — as I once felt she was a part of my life. And this despite the fact that it’s not very well written.
That is perhaps the book’s only flaw. Julie Andrews tends to write in simple declarative sentences, using the verb “to be” a little too much. But, she succeeds in telling her story such that I will be first in line to buy her sequel (she leaves off as she’s about to start filming Mary Poppins). And I recommend this book, very highly, especially to those who have been touched by this great lady and/or are eager to learn more about Broadway toward the end of its Golden Age.