Maria von Trapp: Beyond the Sound of Music – Candice F. Ransom

24 Jul

Some days the library makes me feel like a grumpy curmudgeon.  I find myself thinking “kids, today!  They don’t know that the library is a place to be quiet.”  But then I look around and half the people who’ve got my dander up are my age or older.  Apparently it is hard to use a computer without repeatedly laughing out loud or talking on a cell phone.  I find myself eyeing the guy at the reference desk and silently willing him to stop asking loud questions about checking out maps.

And then when there actually are kids that are loud I feel so very old.  Was I ever that loud in a library?  I seriously doubt it.  I remember being careful not to turn pages too quickly in fear that I’d be heard.  There was a small fish tank in the children’s section and you could hear it bubbling from anywhere in that room.  It’s totally possible though that I’m kidding myself and that adults were glaring at me as I bobbed along the shelves.

Anyway, when there were loud kids at the library the other day I gave up the book I was reading to go peruse the shelfs.  And that’s when I found this book that I should probably start blogging about now.  It was a really quick read with big print but I would have happily have read a longer book because Maria is as interesting as Rodgers and Hammerstein thought she was.

She had a crap home life, living in fear of her foster parents.  Most of her time was spent inside and her one true joy was music.  Though she became a nun, her first introduction to the church was only after the music she’d been hoping to hear at a church was preempted by a sermon.  She also didn’t wish to be a governess.  She was actually cajoled into serving as one of the young girl’s tutors while she was ill with scarlet fever.  The children’s names and sexes were changed for the musical, by the way.  Anyway, she slowly started caring for the other children.

She did teach them music and Captain von Trapp did become close with his kids through this but this singing also saved their lives.  When Georg refused to bow to the Nazis they escaped and made a living with their singing.  Their visa would eventually expire and they would have to return to Austria but they would again be able to leave thanks to their singing and this time, WWII would prevent their return for some time.

They toured the United States and would give thousands of concerts.  They built a farm, then a camp for music, where they did all the labor themselves.  They enjoyed being together and they worked to share song.  It’s really interesting to read about such a large family and such a spirit as Maria.  I may even read some of the books she read about her family’s experience.  There’s a chance reading about her might make me into a more patient person with kids.  Or at least keep me busy at the library.



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