By 1982 I was kind of a mess. My Mom was really trying to help me get through my parents divorce which had already been several years, but I just wasn't coping. There was however one glimpse of hope for me in the form of a big sister. Not a real big sister but from the actual organization. Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. Being a single Mom was hard enough for her but add on top of that, a child who was completely angry and out of control, or constantly sobbing, well, it was hard times all around. So she did all she could and one day, she brought me a gift by the name of Tory.
Tory was my new Big Sister and I was instantly drawn to her. I was happy around her and felt like maybe someone understood me. She was a teenager with long curly brown hair. I couldn't wait for my visits with her!
She would take me out to dinner or to her friends apartment to go swimming in the pool. But one time, she took me to the movies. She took me to see Savannah Smiles.
It is a magnificent film about a little girl who feels ignored by her parents. She decides she must run away. Yes, extreme I know. But hey it was the 80's.
I remember sitting in the theater next to my Big Sister, watching this movie. I didn't take my eyes off it, I was enthralled! I felt so connected to Savannah. I loved her little bedroom. I remember she had a framed Strawberry Shortcake poster hanging on the wall. Her brass bed was covered in frilly, yellow and white bedding. There was a gumball machine next to her little tv.
But alas, even amidst all these wonderful "things" all she really wanted was her Mom and Dad's affection and attention. So to cut to the chase, she bolts. She sneaks off and climbs into a beat up car which happens to be the automobile of 2 escaped convicts named Alvie and Boots. Who actually turn out to be wonderful people and return her safely to her family, but not before a whirlwind adventure!
By the end of the movie, my eyes were welling up with tears. This is the first movie I can ever remember crying at and I was so embarassed. I did not want my Big Sister to see me cry but I know she saw me.
From that moment on, Savannah Smiles was embedded in my memory bank. All my life, Savannah was there. And of course now, more than ever!
There are certain fictional characters that I hold so close to my heart because they are the only ones I felt I could relate to. No real person ever helped me cope. That was, until I met my Tory.
I still think of her so often and wish I could see her.
I moved out of the state and lived with my Dad around 4th grade and I thought I'd never see Tory again. But I did one time. Someplace I never thought I'd see her. My dad took me to a Michael Jackson concert, the Victory tour, which by the way was in July (I think) of 1984 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. So we were walking to our seats and there she was, sititng at a booth selling Tshirts. She was working the summer concert. There was my Tory! We hugged tight and said our hello's and goodbyes and that was the last time I ever saw her.
I think it's kind of magical that the concert tour was VicTORY and her name is TORY.
So yes, my memory of her is pretty epic!
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