Some adults try to erase their early histories. Having been a rule-loving, inherently nerdy child with the taste of an old woman, I understand. This is why I rejoice when I remember something I loved as a child that still stands; something that doesn't make me want to hide my head in shame, or have to laugh about because it's so tragic. I'm afraid the list probably isn't extensive; lollies are the first things that come to mind. However, yesterday I watched The Sound Of Music with my niece, and when Baroness Schraeder appeared on screen and I realised I had stopped following the story to try to figure out how I might make my skirts looks like hers, I remembered my fascination with her from many moons ago, and I was glad.
I don't remember the first time I saw The Sound Of Music, but my memories of watching it as a child are all at my Aunty Anna's. I don't know why my sister and I got to go and stay at her house sometimes, or where her youngest daughter who is only a couple of years older than my sister was at the time, but I remember staying there, and all of the things it meant. Dancing nude to Splish Splash before jumping into the bath. Appletise. Peanut chocolate, from the tin under my aunty's bed. Her walking around topless, and trying to coax us out of the prudishness our father had instilled in us. And The Sound Of Music.
I am certain that Baroness Schraeder won me over immediately. She was beautiful, she reminded me of my mother, she had poise, elegance, and above all, a wardrobe to die for. At the time I probably didn't appreciate her "casual" wardrobe (which is amazing) so much, but her ball-dress had me in raptures. All I wanted for my Mrs Hart (an alternative to Barbie of which my mother approved because Mrs Hart was married, brunette, and modestly attired) was a dress like that; light gold, with that shoulder detail! Eventually I was a given a set which included a maroon evening gown with a fishtail that felt like something the Baroness might have worn on another night, and my heart sang. I had no illusions about ever growing up to be like her; she was a symbol of what I realised was unattainable, although I'm not sure why... and so she stayed perfect to me, even though I was pretty sure she became a nazi, and Maria was better for the children, and she said that thing about boarding school to Uncle Max which was reminiscent of Vicky in The Parent Trap (although even then I'm pretty sure I knew their tones were not the same.)
As an adult, Baroness Schraeder remains completely enchanting. I love when she tells Maria if she has any problems becoming a nun, she'll be happy to help, and her speech releasing Georg from their engagement makes me cry. And her wardrobe... oh her wardrobe.
And my favourite outfit these days; the long skirt with the sash, and the blouse that hangs just so. Baroness Schraeder. Thank goodness some things are forever.