Anyone who knows me knows I believe in dreams. I named my son Joseph Paul because of a dream I had when I was pregnant during which a baby boy told me what he wanted his name to be. I also had dreams when I was pregnant that I spoke to Elvis for more than an hour and that I was a roadie for Bon Jovi… so some dreams are more realistic than others!
But I also believe in the power of the dreams we have when we are awake… the dreams that lead us toward our goals in life. Some dreams are the far-off variety… "I hope I can retire someday," or "I hope I win the lottery." Some dreams are more tangible… “I hope to go to Hawaii," or "I hope I get married.”
But no matter what kind of dreams you have, it is quite an amazing experience when one of those dreams actually does come true.
I am a huge fan of the movie, The Sound of Music. How huge? I own two DVDs and the double-VHS tape. I have seen the movie more than 40 times, and that is quite a feat since I didn’t own the movie until I was in my 30s. I have seen the stage production at least three times, and one of those times, Captain Von Trapp was played by an adult Greg Brady. I saw the great grandchildren of Captain and Maria Von Trapp sing in a concert this past spring. I have some of the vintage sheet music for an organ, and I don’t play an instrument of any kind, especially not an organ. I actually have a collector’s plate… oh, and I met Julie Andrews once at a presentation she did at my university, and of course, I was speechless! So, yes, I am a fan. I consider it my favorite movie of all time. I still remember the first time I saw it on TV when I was five years old, and when I watch it, I sing along to all the songs… So to actually go to Salzburg, Austria, and see where the movie was filmed has been something I have wanted to do since I first saw the movie more than 40 years ago. After two weeks in Germany, my husband, John, met up with our group, and we planned a few days in Salzburg together…
We drove to Salzburg on a rainy Tuesday. Great, I thought, the hills are alive with the sound of thunder and rain! So our views were next to nothing as we drove into the Alps, but I had arranged for us to stay in the original home of the real-life Von Trapp family. The home was not used in the movie, but the real family lived there before they left Austria, and it was turned into a bed and breakfast in 2008. The home is really an incredible estate, and we were in a room on the top floor that had been used as servant’s quarters and also as a living room. Our balcony overlooked the park-like back yard, and although it was cloudy and rainy, it meant something to me to look out onto the yard below and realize the family in the movie had been inspired by a real family. The house is decorated with family photos and memorabilia, and I learned more about the family as I read and observed. I had a chance to just sit in the formal living room all alone one night and imagine the people who had called the beautiful house their home. They gave it all up, like so many others, and started their whole lives over again in the United States. Most of them never returned, and yet, here I was in their living room…
On Wednesday, we were scheduled for our "official and original” Sound of Music tour. The clouds were starting to break a bit, and we were hopeful for good weather as we enjoyed an early breakfast in the dining room of the house (without pinecones). We were actually early for the bus (so you know I was excited if I was EARLY for anything!). The bus was going to take us to several places where the movie was filmed in and around Salzburg. I had warned John, who is not really all that familiar with the movie, there would be a lot of picture-taking and general cheesiness. First, we stopped at the house and saw the lake where the kids fell out of the boat during the movie. We saw THE gazebo, and I made John pose for a “dance” photo. We saw the lane where the kids climbed the trees. And then we were off into the mountains. I was excited and enjoying the trivia and good humor of the tour guide… and then it happened. The sun had finally come out, and the Alps appeared before us in all of their wonderful glory. As we drove up into the hills past farms and green meadows, the bus driver was playing the sound track from the movie… and I started to cry. I just couldn’t help it… this is what I had always wanted to do, and I was finally doing it! When a dream really does come true, even if it is a silly one, it actually takes your breath away. I hadn’t expected to be so overwhelmed. John was more than a bit taken aback. But that’s the thing about dreams…they are powerful and awe-inspiring and incredibly special, and I knew I was lucky just to have the chance to experience a dream-come-true.
I did get my emotions under control by the time the bus stopped at the next destination. The guide showed us a lake outside of Salzburg where we decided to spend the day the next day riding bikes and exploring. The “official and original” tour was over before I knew it. I never did get a chance to twirl around on the top of a mountain though… I guess I have a reason to dream about going back there someday!