I was reminded recently of the all time number one tear jerker movie in my life...The Miracle Worker. (I do remember SOBBING uncontrollably to Amistad, but somehow the movie didn't STICK with me the same way...Spielberg is too manipulative, so he can get the tears flowing, but it's not deep...at least, not for me.) ANYWAY...I have two stories of crying to this film. The first time I sobbed at The Miracle Worker, I was living in San Francisco, and home alone in the afternoon. I had a friend who was attending USF, which was right down the street from my lovely flat, and she had to stop by and do some paperwork. Her husband was with her, and didn't want to go to the purgatory of the admin office, so he came over to my house to shoot the breeze with me while he waited. I didn't know he was coming. It was the scene where she has her hands under the water spigot, and she GETS IT. OH.MY.GOD. So here I am, sobbing like a freak, (Honestly, I'm getting verclempt right now as I type), and he rings the doorbell. So I answer the door, and he is freaked out, wondering what could possibly be wrong that I'm crying so hard. I try to explain it to him (He is from Pakistan, and somehow I don't think Helen Keller is a big part of their culture or folklore), and I'm gasping, and blurting out, "She's blind...and deaf...and she doesn't understand WORDS...and she's so ALONE...and it's so DARK...and now...she...GETS IT...) and he just sat there, thinking, I'm sure, that I was a complete freak. And who knows, maybe I was.
Cut to a few years ago, something horrible was going on in the world. I don't remember what anymore. I don't think it was September 11, but maybe it was, or maybe some kid had been kidnapped somewhere, or something to do with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I don't know, (UPDATE: It was the pictures from Abu Grahib, which pretty much took my naive ideas of American morals and righteousness (which weren't THAT strong to begin with...I was an International Relations major at SF State, which is pretty Left Wing) and threw them down the toilet with a stick of dynamite and blew the whole thing through the roof. I was so down, so depressed, really close to tears like I hadn't been since Sept. 11) and I really needed something to cheer me up. So, on my lunch hour, I walked over to our local library to pick up a Shirley Temple movie, thinking it would be a fun, cheerful distraction, and Maya would love it too. Well, they didn't have any, but they had The Miracle Worker. So I got it. Brought it home that day, and we watched it. Maya HATED it. She was SO UPSET at Annie shoving spoon after spoon into Helen's hand like that, could NOT understand WHY Annie was being so mean to her, that she went up to her room crying, and slammed the door. I did manage to coax her out in time for the 'wa-wa' scene, and she relented in her hatred a bit, but boy, she was PISSED. I cried and cried that time as well, and you know what? Maybe the tears were cathartic enough, because I felt so much better after. Whew.
Seems like maybe Maya will be this way when she's older...because she got so upset, that makes me wonder if she'll be as emotional as me.
I get it from my mom. She can't listen to a recording of the Hindenberg tragedy without crying...which I thought was sappy and funny when I was a teenager and they were playing it on the car radio for some reason, and she was trying to explain it to me, much like me trying to explain Hellen Keller to Waqaar. Now that I'm an adult, I can't listen to it without crying, either. Sigh. I have not yet gotten QUITE as mushy as my mom...her all time best was crying before the opening credits of "The Fox and the Hound". That's sappy.
p.s. to any east coast readers...can you look at a WaWa store without thinking of Helen Keller? We lived in Philly for two years, and I could never say, "I'm going to the WaWa, you need anything?" without a small part of me thinking of Helen. It didn't make me cry, though. I'm not THAT insane.