Can You Imagine?


The first little traveller chose Amelia Earhart. We were relatively new to the school when she began to gather information for her very first essay. It began with research and moved on to paragraphs with a purpose for a beginning, middle and end. A poster board was made, it was then condensed to a 60 second presentation. She needed a costume, we sufficed with a bomber jacket, scarfe and jodhpurs. I curled her hair that morning, while she practiced her speech again and again and again. When I came to the school to see what it was all about, I found her and her class mates frozen like statues waiting for their “push” button in front of them to be activated. I listened in awe as she and her classmates gesticulated with oracle brilliance on their chosen subjects. Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Anna Pavlova, Helen Keller and Harry Houdini.

“Hi, I’m Neil Armstrong! How would you like to walk on the moon?” said a boy in a space suit after I’d pushed a button on his sleeve.

I went home that day beaming, their energy was infectious.

The second little traveller was Queen Elizabeth. I sat up late sewing the lace onto a collar, it sat up perfectly around her neck. Public speaking was always going to cause some tension, I listened on the other side of the door as she ran through her lines in the bathroom. On the day she stood in the middle of the corridor, surrounded by friends as she blushed her way through her speech, she was mesmerising to me. I watched her do it over and over again as other parents walked by, children from different grades. The girl who hated to speak to strangers giggled her way through the compliments of others.

“This is my favourite school event” I told her teacher.

The third little traveller chose Babe Ruth. He was up at 5 this morning, dressed and ready to go. His speech memorised, not an ounce of fear, he told us all to look out for his friends. “Wait until you see Sandy! Mum, he’s Alexander the Great he’s made the coolest helmet. Do you get it Mum? Sandy’s real name is Alexander…so cool” his voice trailed off. As we walked towards the rooms I saw one of the third little traveller’s friends in a wheelchair, I was about to approach to see what had happened when I remembered he was FDR.

I walked past a friend with a daughter in the same year “this is my favourite school event” she said.

What was it? How was it that a hallway full of ten year olds dressed as icons had such an effect.

This morning Walt Disney told us of his struggles as a child. Houdini spoke of his great love. FDR looked at the fourth little traveller who was by my side “you may be surprised to learn I was only getting C’s at University, who would have thought I’d end up the President of the United States?” He leaned back in his wheelchair. It was Amelia Earhart who finally provided the answer, with a question. As she stood with her swimming goggles resting on her forehead and a silk scarfe borrowed from her mother around her neck, she looked me in the eye and said “I was courageous, I inspired others by following my passion. Can you imagine a world if we were all like that?”

Can you imagine?

It’s my favourite event at the school.

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