I watched Little Women (the old 1994 film) last weekend, for the first time in years. Going into it I had this vague impression that I’d seen it once or twice when I was much younger, but I couldn’t recall anything specific.
As I watched, however, that impression totally changed! The whole film was like a weird deja vu moment, like I was experiencing something deeply familiar and somehow new at the same time. I realized that I must have watched it (at least the first half) a lot more as a kid than I’d thought, although it had been a long time indeed since I’d seen it last. Though I couldn’t remember many plot points at all, certain lines of dialogue would just hit me like I’d heard them a thousand times.
It’s almost eerie how things you take in as a child, with a child’s wide, wandering mind, can settle down into your subconscious and reemerge years later when you didn’t remember they existed, and you’d never even understood what they meant until now.
The scene that most struck me was when the four March sisters, all costumed like the gentlemen of Pickwick Papers, gather in the attic reading their own “Pickwick Portfolio” they’ve written. I suddenly remembered LaRae and I making our own little publication, modeled exactly on what the March sisters did.
I rummaged in our attic, and yes, I found our portfolio! We’d copied the style of Little Women as closely as we could, down to the pseudonyms drawn from Dickens’s Pickwick Papers and the gluing of little advertisements onto a large parchment-like roll.
Of special interest to me was the beginning of a fairy story, no doubt attempted in imitation of Jo March’s early writings. I think I was just starting to dream about becoming A Writer when I started “The Paralyzed Princess” (or “paralized,” as I misspelled it then), and sadly I don’t remember ever finishing the story. That said, I was delighted to rediscover this early writing attempt, thanks to Little Women!
“One naturally doesn’t invite witches to christenings.” A truth universally acknowledged.