Lest We Forget

Lest we forget the love of our parents rich in wisdom and knowledge.

Lest we forget our unique essence, our own genetic pattern.

Lest we forget our ability to love, to go outside self.

Lest we forget the fragility of life, the special beauty of now.

Lest we forget the steps we have taken, the bridges crossed, the fences climbed.

Lest we forget the kindness of others; the thoughts shared, the memories formed.

May we never forget our higher purpose; our link to the sky, our leap to the stars.

When Opposites Do Not Attract: Veronica di Angelo Meet Lisa Atwood

When Veronica di Angelo and Lisa Atwood meet for the first time there is a clash of opposite personalities; Veronica is domineering, coldly analytical, concerned with power, and sarcastic, while Lisa is gentle,  guided by her feelings, willing to share, and sensitive to the feelings of others.  The writers and directors of Saddle Club Series 2 were astute enough to recognize the drama in the confrontation of capable actresses Heli Simpson and Lara Jean Marshall.  Therefore, much to our delight, Lisa and Veronica confront each other in several episodes. It is a tribute to the ability of Heli Simpson that Veronica can change in an instant from a domineering, commanding teenager to a clinging, whining, wheedling Daddy’s girl.   Veronica is probably given some of the best, most memorable lines, which Heli Simpson delivers with brio, a malicious, self-satisfied smile, and mocking eyes.  Lara Jean’s beautiful, questioning eyes are also not neglected by the camera, nor is the girlish smile she often can’t suppress. Together Veronica and Lisa spark off some of the most intense verbal and facial fireworks in the series.  As the series evolves, Veronica changes gradually as she begins to reveal hidden qualities such as warmth and understanding, and Lisa grows in confidence and riding ability.  At the end, the two diverse personalities of Veronica di Angelo and Lisa Atwood, reach an understanding that comes from maturity.

Veronica di Angelo And Her Struggle For Perfection

Veronica di Angelo is nonplussed when things go awry in her life.  In one episode she attributes her misfortune to is superstition.  More specifically, a curse.  She believes that nothing will go right with her until the curse is removed.  This belief hearkens back to ancient times, representing a primal fear of chaos.  Mrs. Reg advises Veronica”to save perfection for heaven, for you certainly won’t find it here.”  It is only when Veronica accepts her circumstances that her life returns to normal.  The situation is surely an instance of Barry Stevens’s famous saying,”Don’t push the river, it flows by itself.”  The Saddle Club, though decidedly a program for young teenage girls, contains many nuggets of wisdom such as the one above.

Lisa Atwood As Mother Figure In The Saddle Club

Of the three adolescent girls that form The Saddle Club, it is Lisa Atwood who is the mother figure.  She is the one who is constantly looking out for others, even when they don’t want her to.  Lisa is guided by a strong love of horses and compassion for human beings. She attempts to gain the trust and love of an abused horse that everyone, including her own friends, consider hopeless, and succeeds!  She also has the courage and will to follow her maternal instinct no matter where it leads her, and it sometimes leads her into trouble!  Lisa asks people about their past so that she can learn how to help them.  She is acutely aware of people’s feelings and the members of the Pine Hollow family have deep affection for her.  When Lisa is lying in a coma in the hospital after suffering a severe concussion, her friends from Pine Hollow come to express their feelings, including the often cold, condescending, Veronica di Angelo.  When she does waken, she encourages Phil to discuss his problems with Stevie with her, even though she was near death!  The beautiful, understanding, and highly expressive eyes of actress Lara Jean Marshall add much to our perception of Lisa Atwood.  In her we can truly see the mother that is, and the mother that will be.

Random Thoughts

14 years have passed since I closed Medford Education International, Inc.(MEI,Inc.).  It is curious that the last proposed project was a symposium devoted to the work of Polish educator, and children’s writer, Janusz Korczak.  Recently, I completed a three act play based one one of Korczak’s novels, King Machush the First.  So life repeats itself or reappears in different guise.  Also, I have written fragments of plays, but have not completed one since childhood.  Two musical plays were performed at Murietta and Highland Hot Springs and Riverside Drive Elementary School.  There was also a performance in Grandma Lillian’s backyard.  Afterwards, the cast enjoyed a glorious swim in her swimming pool.  However, Jonathan Micas, and One Week in a Policeman’s Life were distinctly juvenile efforts, and until now I haven’t given them a second thought.  I did write a series of short plays, including an unfinished one about Native Americans, a subject my father held dear.  The others represented the interests I had:  reading, baseball, minerals(The Pacoima Canyon Mystery).  I adapted Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory into play form, which was given a reading by my 7th grade English class.  And my fascination with mysteries led me to adapt The Mystery of the False Fingertips into a play.  So, many years later I’m looking at a play manuscript of 51 pages, double-spaced of another adaptation.  What is strange is that the work touches on the recent history of MEI, and childhood memory at the same time.  The play is like a bright light that is illuminating dark, forgotten passages of my mind.  Janusz Korczak reawakens my interest in foreign educators, which was so important to MEI.  He also reacquaints me with the play form, which invigorated, and watched over my childhood.”Curiouser and curiouser.”

A Daily Dose Of Veronica di Angelo? It Just Might Work.

Veronica di Angelo, the overbearing, conceited, self-absorbed, and highly intelligent member of Pine Hollow, might offer the proper medicine for girls with low self-esteem.  A daily dose of Veronica’s qualities diluted in water could supply the necessary strength and polish to boost any girl’s self image.  Veronica is a doer, and never lets any doubts interfere with her goals.  She is confident that she understands life, and hence can master it.  She is conscious of her appearance, and knows how to look her best.  Low self-esteem in girls(and boys) is something which plagues our society.  Measuring self-esteem is as important as measuring blood pressure.  How wonderful it would be if every girl could be supplied with a daily dose of Veronica!  It just might work.

Another Look At King Machush The First By Janusz Korczak

King Machush the First is regarded in Poland as one of the noteworthy contributions to Polish children’s literature.  It has been translated into many different languages, has inspired an opera, plays, and much criticism.  Korczak was one of the leading children’s rights activists of his day, and his book about the psychology of the child, Jak lubic dziecko, is as applicable today as it was when he completed it.   King Machush becomes a kind of philosopher-king as he learns about other children’s impoverished lives and struggles to bring about reforms.  Perhaps the character that most resembles Korczak is the Melancholy King, who is sad, reflective, and all too aware of the obstacles one must face to bring about reform.  The following excerpt from Act 1 Scene 8 gives some idea of the major theme in the work.

Machush:  And why is one King?

Melancholy King:  Not just to wear a crown.  But to give happiness to the people of his kingdom.  And how do you give happiness?  You introduce different reforms.

Machush(aside):  Oh-ho!  This is interesting.

Melancholy King:  And reforms–they are the most difficult.  Yes, the most difficult.(Melancholy King plays a sad melody on his violin.)  You are surprised, because you think that Kings can do anything they want.

Machush:  I don’t think that at all.  I know that protocol forbids many things, and so does the law.

Melancholy King:  Oh, you know already.  Yes, we alone issue bad laws, and then we have to follow them.

Machush:  Isn’t it possible to issue good laws?

Melancholy King:  It is possible, and one should.  You are still young, Machush.  Learn, and issue good, wise laws.(King takes Machush’s hand, and places it on his own, stroking it very tenderly.)  Listen, Machush.  My grandfather gave people freedom, but the outcome was bad.  They murdered him, and afterwards the people weren’t happy.  My father raised a great monument to freedom.  It is beautiful, but wars go on.  Then there are the poor and unfortunate to consider.  I ordered this great parliament building to be built, but what of it?  Things are the same as before.(Suddenly, he remembers something.)  You know, Machush.  We have always done badly when we have given reforms to adults.  If you try with the children, maybe you will succeed.  Now sleep, my dear child.  You came here to have fun, and I’ve disturbed you.  Good night.