May 9, 2014
I was reading a biography on J.M. Barrie, the author of “Peter Pan, ” and the origins of that narrative is highly interesting. His mother took over her deceased mother’s household when she was eight, and therefore probably didn’t have a normal childhood. Many years later, when Barrie was 6 years old, his older brother, David, was killed in a skating accident when he was 14. David was the mother’s favorite child of the eight children that she gave to the world. The one thing that made her happy was that David will never grow older and therefore never leave her. She would dress Barrie in David’s old clothes, and he would even whistle a tune that David did when alive. An existing passport exposed that J.M. Barrie, as a grown adult, was only 5 feet and two inches. Charles Baudelaire wrote that "Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will." Barrie, without doubt, had an understanding of the nature of children and how they see the world through the point-of-view of being reconciled with adulthood.
I know, as a fact, that I was afraid to grow up, because I realize that childhood for me was a sense of protection. When one came to a certain age, the world becomes real, sometimes horribly real. It is luck, and the narrative of history, that I didn't have to go to the Vietnam war. The draft got pulled back just as I reached the age of 18 years old. But I clearly remember the anxiety of the thought of turning 18, and what that would entail for my life at the time. "Peter Pan" had a special appeal for me around the age of 16.