Why We Need Once Upon A Time
by Stephanie A Wiltse (@MysticKid)
Hook awakening on the Nautilus awakened in me memories of the Disney film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, where I first heard J.S.Bach played on an organ. I was reminded of how perplexing for a child (and therefore, fascinating) a heroic "villain" and a villainous "hero" could be. I was also reminded of how the idea of a submarine that could travel in serene calm beneath a raging storm with THAT music streaming through it and those written thoughts spoken aloud within it, well, felt like home:
Not so far-fetched since one of my family’s tenants was himself an organist and my mother loved to read aloud to me even before I knew what the words meant. But now thanks to “Once Upon A Time’s” master craftsmen’s latest reinvention, I saw a pumper-organ like one I once owned myself transformed into Nemo’s iconic keyboard.
This nifty arrangement in turn reminded me of getting to play with a similarly steampunky tracker organ at a Masonic temple where my teacher was once organist.
But I’ve come to expect such thrills of recognition and trips down memory-lane from “Once Upon A Time.” Cora wore a silver fastener that I once gave my mother for her birthday when she (Cora) did away with poor Daniel. It was sewn on a favorite coat, along with a very gold new lining, by a tailor down the street that I was sure WAS Rumplestiltskin since my grandmother had proclaimed he, "worked magic!"
Mr. Gold’s shop has my grandfather’s canoe in the rafters and my father’s transistor radio amongst its hoarded memories.
I wouldn’t be surprised if every OUAT episode has in it something not only new, but familiar for someone watching. Fan reaction was mixed at best to the moment when Henry mounts the steps of the New York City Library to beseech the people of our realm to “Believe!” Yet I saw the moment with the eyes of a six-year-old who, when asked to clap by Peter Pan, helped save Tinker Bell’s life by believing in her.
You better believe that there are children growing up today who will always remember Jared Gilmore’s performance just as fondly as I do Mary Martin’s “Peter Pan.”
We do need magic in this world right now. Dreams are dying or being lost all around us for lack of our believing in them. That’s why we need such shows as Once Upon A Time. Its characters we hold so dear are not only made of the people who make their make-believe, they are made of us doing the believing. Mind to mind through the fourth wall of our television screens we are renewed together each week through new or remembered memories of past lives or fantastical ‘What-Ifs.’ …Led back to a place in our present day where pennies can still grant wishes.