Today Julie Andrews turns 72. I've admired Julie Andrews for as long as I can remember. She is the star in many of my favorite memories.
I saw her in The Sound of Music when I was a little girl. The movie was shown in a fancy movie theater (or picture show back then) in Memphis. We had assigned seats, and an usher took us to the seats. I had on my Sunday dress, and souvenirs were sold in the lobby. This was a special event for my family. At the end, as the von Trapps were traipsing over the Alps, I shed one tear, which was quite a lot for a child who didn't cry. I was hooked on Julie Andrews.
I saw her next in Mary Poppins, a movie that enchanted me. I remember riding in a car with my best friend, Kelli. I asked Kelli for her favorite movie star, mainly so I could tell her mine. I was so proud to be a Julie fan.
I continued to see Julie movies, and remember my first Julie record (those big black round disks). The album was The World of Julie Andrews, and I listened to it constantly. I still have the album framed in my office. In my high school senior yearbook, my friend Carol wrote, "Don't stop collecting Julie Andrews records - otherwise everybody else will forget her." Fat chance. In college, I worked in the library, and photocopied every article I could find on Julie. Yes, I had a scrapbook (which disintegrated over time). When Julie started writing, I read and bought her books, which continues to this day.
I still keep track of Julie, because she is still a part of me. Last Thanksgiving my family went to New York City to see the Macy's parade. Guess who was on a float - Julie Andrews. It was such a thrill to see her in person, even though I was high up in a building.
My family often asks me, if I were to see Julie on the street, would I speak? My answer is always no, because I really have nothing intelligent or original to offer. There are fans like me all over the world. There is nothing I could say that could adequately convey the joy she has given me over the years.
In a world full of chaos and confusion, there are those things that are safe and comfort us our whole lives. Perhaps because of the vast distance between Julie and me, I can use her as one of those safe things. I can escape and enter whatever world she has created, and feel content.
So thank you, Julie Andrews, for all the things you have given me over the years. I hope there is somebody who has done the same for you. Happy 72nd!