The SuperBowl has been on my mind as it has recently passed. My family weren’t football fans but totally baseball mad. Tom watched it in full for the first time in decades. Anyway, my mind was just drifting along and I remembered “Heidi loves the Super Bowl”. Yes, you have to be of a certain age to remember and appreciate that bumper/sticker joke. I was one of the children breathlessly awaiting the broadcast of Heidi. I don’t recall the exact details as I was a child and football not a religion practiced in my home, but it was at some critical juncture in the game, that the network cut over to Heidi. It must have been around 7 o’clock and of course, on a Sunday evening I was one of those children who adored Heidi. It was one of my favorite childhood books. I would not have been allowed to stay up late on a school night.
Heidi’s story, as filtered through memory – Heidi is a miserable child and sent to live with her grumpy, mean Grandfather in the Alps. He forces her to go outside, play, herd goats and get apples in her cheeks. Somehow, she encounters Klara, a young sick girl, who reading between the lines, is not expected to last long. Klara can’t walk either. Heidi enlists Grandfather to do for Klara what he has done for her. She drinks goat milk from the herd. And with exercise, good air and clean food, Klara is cured and can walk. More or less. It’s been decades. I shall have to gimp upstairs to my childhood shelf and have a read.
One of my other favorite books as a child and yes, just a plain favorite is The Secret Garden. Again, the condensed via me version: Mary is a miserable, spoiled brat baby and sickly. She is sent to live with her uncle in England. Again good air, good food and a new friend lead to a change in her. She discovers her cousin Colin hidden away – bedridden, can’t walk, not expected to live. Good air and food plus exercise and he walks again.
My parents used to tease and call me Pollyanna or Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. No recollection of Rebecca but a memory of the film Pollyanna with Hayley Mills. I did want to be Hayley Mills. My recollection is that Pollyanna is a positive child, gets ill, loses her ability to walk; in this case she doesn’t get to walk again but everyone loves her more. No memory of Rebecca except that she was cheery.
So, where is this leading? I have been steadily deteriorating over the last few months. I have attributed this to bad eating and lack of activity. The last week has been particularly brutal. My doctors have pooh-poohed me. It’s the nature of the disease. It’s supposed to progress and it is. There is no cure at this time and it is inevitable. From day one, I have never bought into that. I do believe that food and notjust “eat healthy” impacts walking. Not walking and being as active as I used to be takes its toll. It’s a vicious cycle – less activity, more fatigue, more stress, less activity…. Eating needs to be tweaked and healthy is relative. I am still sorting it out, But do not, do not tell a woman who has metabolized Heidi and The Secret Garden into her DNA that she will not walk again and wheelchairs and scooters are inevitable. Obviously, you have not read what I did as a child.
Here’s to Colin, Klara and me, perpetually Pollyanna and proud of it.