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Magical phone calls

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, January 31, 2007

When my little sister, Evelyn, turned three last year, my mom called from home with a special request: Could my roommate call Evelyn and pretend to be her favorite Disney princess, Cinderella?

I understand how cheesy this sounds. I get that some people think that encouraging children to hold unreal beliefs does them a serious disservice. However, anybody who lives over half way across the country from their little siblings knows that you do what you can – even if it means awkwardly asking your freshman year roommate to be a Disney character. Fortunately, my roommate quickly agreed, found her inner princess voice, and called to wish my sister a “magical” birthday and to inspire her to be the best princess she could be.

Last weekend, Evelyn turned four and I had to ask a similar favor. Evelyn no longer preferred Cinderella, but would love it if Belle and Ariel could give her a call. My current roommate and some of our other friends readily expanded on this, and by the end of the night, Evelyn had reminisced with Jasmine about her pet tiger, Raja, and Ariel about her sidekick, Flounder. Snow White had told her that her gift would soon be in the mail. We carefully plotted so that when Evelyn answered the phone, the princesses were already on the line. If she knew that I was involved, it would ruin the pretense (at least that’s what we thought).

Later that night, Evelyn hurriedly told me about her presents (and shamelessly called me out for not sending one). Suddenly, her voice grew really excited and she anxiously asked me if she could talk to Snow White. Somehow, she had discovered that I was associated with the princesses. That’s when I realized that either my sister thinks that I go to college in a castle and hang out with a bunch of Disney princesses, or, as another friend suggested, she knows it’s all pretend and just chooses not to care. Knowing Evelyn, it’s probably a little bit of both.

After laughing with my friends over their princess impressions, I found myself admiring Evelyn. She did not waste any energy overanalyzing her phone conversations. If she had, she could have noticed that half of the princesses had the same voice. She may have realized that at one point, when I accidentally took the phone too soon, she was really talking to me when she thought she was still chatting with Belle. Sure, if she had thought about it a bit more, she may have seen through to the real. In this situation, though, if she had seen the real, I think she would have missed the point.

Maybe in this case the real is a matter of interpretation. Despite its less-than-enchanting exterior, Pangborn Hall might really be a castle. And in my opinion, Evelyn really did talk to some princesses on the phone… Cheesy? Yes, but at least I can claim that it runs in the family.