We stride confidently through the lobby of the lodge and flop onto one of the couches. I
nonchalantly pick up Time Magazine, her copy of Time magazine, from the coffee table and flip
through it while Steven surveys the room. On his whispered “go” I drop it onto my lap and look
around while my right hand quickly peels off the label. I palm it as I pick up the magazine again, flip
through a few more times for effect, then toss it casually back on the table as we saunter out.
Safely inside the car I breathlessly examine my booty. The mailing label from Maria Von Trapp’s
copy of Time Magazine, July 1977. My heroine. I’d wanted to be her for years.
Not the gray-haired, dowdy, dirndled Frau Maria Augusta Kutschera Von Trapp, of course. I wanted
to be the Fraulein Maria, the one played by Julie Andrews, the slim, pretty, plucky girl who married
the dashing Captain Christopher Plummer, who was only 6 years older than Julie, rather than the
25 years Commander Georg von Trapp had on the real, 22 year-old Maria. A little creepy in real
life, perhaps, but so-o-o-o romantic on the screen, with the sounds of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s
music masterfully orchestrating our emotions.
And the timing had to be right, after Maria/Julie left Nonnberg Abbey where she climbed a tree and
scraped her knee, but before the Germans came to Austria and Himmler set up his headquarters in
their Salzburg home and they were forced to climb all those mountains.
I felt such a strong connection. Hadn’t Larry Silva told me in the eighth grade that I looked like Julie
Andrews? And hadn’t Father Murphy sung to me from the pulpit one hot summer Sunday morning
that same year at the 10 o’clock Mass? Didn’t he sing How you solve a problem like Maria which
wasn’t nearly as creepy as it sounds, just really, really, embarrassing.
And not only did both families have 10 children, we even shared a feature my mother referred to as
“9 plus one in heaven.” We had Joseph, Andrew, Maria, Brigid, Cecelia, Robert, Valentina, Justin
and Jerome, and they had Rupert, Agathe, Maria Franziska, Werner, Hedwig, Martina, Rosemarie,
Eleonore, Johanna and Johannes. Our Joseph and their Martina both died in 1951, though she
lived 30 years and he lived only 30 hours.
The Judges and von Trapps both made beautiful music, they in concert halls and stages around
the world, we in high school auditoriums and marching bands. They played jokes on their
governesses, we played them on our babysitters. We both had bossy sisters, tattle tale brothers
and troublemaking toddlers. We traveled a lot, lived in many houses, spoke several languages,
worked together, followed rules, cared for younger siblings …
I guess I’m not the only Judge with a von Trapp alter ego.