So, the other day, the kids had a play date with their younger uncle. Yes, my girls have a “baby uncle”. It’s a little weird, but I digress.
His nanny brought him over and I decided to put on the newest (to my knowledge anyway) Peter Pan movie. It’s live-action, fun, visually striking, and did accomplish my goal of having at least one of the kids beg to read the book.
The kids started getting into the movie, gleefully watching Peter, Wendy, John, and Micheal ready themselves for their adventure. To be fair, this was supposed to be a play date, and I hadn’t thought about the fact that the kids were enjoying the movie so much, they weren’t actually playing anymore. I was just hoping they’d enjoy it enough to read J. M. Barrie’s book!
Apparently, little mister baby-uncle couldn’t stay too long – he had another play date scheduled for later that afternoon. So, his nanny (a middle aged woman, in her thirties or forties, who grew up in Europe, and has lived in the U.S. for quite some time now) asks me if the movie is almost over.
This is how that conversation went…
Nanny: “Is this movie almost over?”
Me: “They just flew off to Neverland”
Nanny: *blank stare*
Me: “You know… Neverland?”
Nanny:”Oh, I’ve never seen this movie before.”
Me: “Okay, but it’s Peter Pan.”
Nanny: *blank stare*
Me: “Peter Pan…. the story? The book?”
Nanny: “I don’t know.”
Me: “Are you serious?”
Nanny: “I never read the book.”
Me: “I’m sorry, I’m just a little shocked. Umm, no, it’s not almost over…”
We ended up turning off the movie, to encourage the kids to play outside, take a walk, and hang out before their uncle had to leave.
I’m still a little shocked. I honestly had NO idea there was anyone who hadn’t heard of Peter Pan.
I mean – okay, you haven’t seen one of the movies. Not a big movie watcher, they didn’t make any movies based on Peter Pan in your country of origin, you simply weren’t interested, whatever. I can understand that.
You haven’t read the book. Okay. No problem, I can understand that as well. Still makes me a little sad. But, again, everyone’s tastes are different, maybe the book was highly unpopular where you grew up, maybe you thought the story sounded dull or weird, whatever.
You haven’t seen the play, and your school never did the play. Again, I can get it.
But… you’ve NEVER even heard of Peter Pan… or Neverland… or J. M. Barrie… NEVER?
She’s lived in America (where I happen to know this is a popular story) for quite some time now, and she’s been around (on this Earth) for longer than ten minutes, so I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that NO ONE she’s EVER run into has even made a reference to something as classic as Peter Pan.
This is classic literature we’re talking about. As I pointed out to her, this isn’t even an “American” book. It was written in the 1800’s, in England. So, America can’t be the ONLY place were this is still a classic.
And, she’s a nanny! She takes care of an American child! You’re telling me that some, even adapted, version of Peter Pan isn’t on the book shelf, the Disneyized version isn’t in the DVD player, and there’s NEVER been a conversation, in a house with a child, that so much as referenced SOMETHING to do with Peter Pan… really? Seriously?