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Sunday, 23 March 2014

Raindrops On Roses & Whiskers On Kittens

Dear friends,

Somewhere in December last year, after my parents and my sister left for home, I needed a moment to recollect myself and my thoughts. I was freshly married and after having my family home with me for a week I somehow felt weird and sad not having them around... Before I could get too sad or sentimental I rushed in the Galeria Krakowska and went to my magical favourite place: American Bookstore. I can tell you it always works out for me, like magic. It makes me smile and think of all the amazing books and stories that surround me. I bumped into this book by mistake/chance, you pick it ;) I say it was meant to be, to soothe me up and talk to me about HOME!
My mobile upload on FB while reading the book, in mid-February
"Home: A Memoir of My Early Years" is the Sunday Times Bestseller written by none other than the magical Julie Andrews. Oh! I loved this woman ever since I can remember and I can sing by heart all the songs from The Sound Of Music & Mary Poppins! I watched this movies countless times and I even have the DVD from Vienna of The Sound Of Music. Not to mention that when I was small I wished I had a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious nanny like Mary Poppins. Or at least have a magical carpet bag like she did, where a whole house could fit it! She was practically perfect in every way!
Julie Andrews in The Sound Of Music
The book takes you on a warm and touching - sometimes sad and dark - fun filled journey from a hard upbringing in the Britain torn appart by war, to her beginning of being the international star living in America. The books tale begins in 1935 when Julie was born - her mother was an aspiring vaudevillian and her father was a teacher - and takes readers to 1962 - when Walt Disney himself saw her on Broadway and cast her as the most famous nanny: Mary Poppins!
The book tales how she grew up and how well she even remembers the London Blitz of World War II; her parents’ painful divorce; her mother’s turbulent second marriage to Canadian tenor Ted Andrews, and a childhood spent on radio, in music halls, and giving concert performances all over England. Julie Andrews began her career at the early age of 12 and in 1948 she became the youngest solo performer ever to participate in a Royal Command Performance before the Queen. When only eighteen, she left home for the United States to make her Broadway debut in The Boy Friend, and thus began her meteoric rise to stardom.
One of her first publicity photos - private collection
Home is filled with numerous anecdotes, including stories of performing in My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison on Broadway and in the West End, and in Camelot with Richard Burton on Broadway; her first marriage to famed set and costume designer Tony Walton, culminating with the birth of their daughter, Emma (check the adorable picture below, that also can be found in the book); and the call from Hollywood and what lay beyond.
Featuring over fifty personal photos, many never before seen, this is the personal memoir Julie Andrews’ audiences have been waiting for.
Awards: #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list 4/27!
Also a Wall Street Journal, London Times, LA Times, Washington Post, USA Today and national BookSense bestseller!
With Emma Katherine Walton, a few days after she was born
Now I can tell you many things about this wonderful book but if you grew up - like I did - with Marry Poppins & The Sound Of Music and later on The Princess Diaries, then I suggest you pick up a copy of this book and learn more about this lovely lady. She was strong enough to keep her family going and get them out of debt and problems, ensuring them a roof over their head and food on the table. Sadly enough now, due to a wrong medical procedure, she has lost her voice :( but that does not make her less of a lady. I even love how she grew old and how she holds herself in front of the camera - not speaking unless she is spoken to, not interrupting and being gracious and kind to one and all. She is an old fashioned lady and even though she did not go to any school/university/college she is still more than anyone would dare to think or ask of...
The most adorable nanny: Mary Poppins
Here are a few quotes I marked while reading the book:
  • "On May 8th 1945 peace was declared in Europe. My mother, Pop, Don and I travelled to Walton-on-Thames to join some friends and to see the festivities, and everywhere there was an incredible sense of celebration: bonfire on the village greens, people spilling out of the pubs, flags waving in all directions. This became known as VE Day - Victory in Europe. / Almost immediately afterwards, the newspapers printed the most horrific images of the concentration camps in Germany. Once our troops arrived and all the camps were liberated, teh press was allowed in. Our newspapers were emblazoned with headlines of the atrocities at Belsen, Auschwitz and elsewhere, and the photographs were unbearable. The state of the surviving prisoners was appaling beyond words, some so emanciated they couldn't move. I saw pictures of mass graves, bodies dumped one on top of the other, bones sticking out all over the place. The photos resembled the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, only worse, and England - along with most of the world - was horrified"
  • "Opening night was October 23rd 1947. Mum escorted me  up to London on the train. As we walked from the station to the theatre, we saw an English flower seller tucked into a convenient corner of Leicester Square, with her baskets and flowers  spread around her. "I'll buy you some flowers for luck", said my mother. / "What does she need luck for, dearie?" the flower seller queried in a strong cockney accent. / "Well do you see that name on the bottom of the poster there?" Mum pointed at it. "That's my daughter and she's going to be opening tonight, singing in the show." / "Then you ain't buyin' these," said the lady, handling me a beautiful fresh bunch of violets. 'I'm giving them to 'er for good luck.""
  • "She has that terrible British strenght that makes you wonder how they ever lost India".
  • "Paris certainly was the perfect city in which to recover from two years of hard work".
  • "In those days a pregnancy test involved the use of a little mouse. If the poor creature died from an injection of one's urine it confirmed you were pregnant".
Et voila! You never knew about that method presented in the last quote, did you?! It was a shocked for me as well and I just needed to share it :)

Yours truly,
The Ever-Loving LadyBug :)