The lovely Beth from Squid Whale Designs has got my memory going ~ Beth included my Gwynedd Hudson Green Tiger Press "Advice From A Caterpillar" card in a great Alice Treasury.
But, you know ... Alice in Wonderland really isn't for kids, is it? I found Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass all too frightening when I was a kid.
There is no doubt that I was a voracious reader but, even for someone as well read at aged 10 as I may have been, the Tweedle Dee and Dum thing just plain and simply creeped me out. And the Jabberwock? Good Lord! The image created in my head by the poem and then reinforced through the John Tenniel black and white illustrations of my volume ... those are downright frightening, for kid OR adult!
Poor Alice, even Disneyfied, wasn't made palatable for me. Even with her Alice-blue gown and long, perfect and perfectly straight blonde hair, even that homogenized-pretty, prim, and English Alice seemed cold and heartless and pretty much unsympathetic to me at 10 or 12 or ... now, much later.
What is it, then, about this story that draws us back, again and again? Because there is no denying that the story is loved. Or perhaps it is not exactly love, but a curiosity and an empathy toward Alice that we feel. Just as Alice was curious.
I was drawn into this discussion once with my mother and I can remember the exact time: it was 1967 and I had heard Gracie Slick and Jeff Airplane's 'White Rabbit' for the very first time and, typical over-examining teenager that I was, wanted to know if the song was about drugs as all the kids were saying. You know, that 'One pill makes you small ... ' thing. Yes, 1967 was a very different time that now.
Although my mother was seldom this serious for this long, I look back now and realize that it was the drug possibility which more than likely snagged her attention. I do not remember all the conversation but I do remember her musing, saying that she thought Wonderland is really 'Life': odd, beautiful, horrible,unexpected, fun, frightening, and not always fair.
Wonderland is Life. Yeah, I think that more or less sums it up. Mom was good at that. Thanks, Mom xo