Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wild Things & Warm Memories: Remembering Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are
courtesy of www.arts-wallpaper.com
 "I believe there is no part of our lives, our adult as well as child life, when we're not fantasizing, but we prefer to relegate fantasy to children, as though it were some tomfoolery only fit for the immature minds of the young. Children do live in fantasy and reality; they move back and forth very easily in a way we no longer remember how to do." ~ Maurice Sendak

NPR– Fresh Air Remembers Maurice Sendak - The interviews are a delight. Listen through the years as NPR interviews this amazing man.

Sadly, the wild rumpus is a bit quieter tonight; Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are” died today. The news reports shared that he was an author and illustrator of over 50 books and a frequent collaborator on operas, television programs, films and theaters, but to my family he was so much more. Here is my small tale of our connection to Maurice and the wild things. What's your story?

Like many young boys when my son Christopher was in kindergarten he began to ask for a puppy. I was in college at the time and wasn’t sure if I had the time to care for and train one properly so we hadn’t yet made the decision. And then one day, while standing at the end of our driveway waiting for his school bus, the “decision” came bounding down the road in the guise of a large black lab. Since there was a leash law in town we rarely saw dogs loose in the neighborhood.  I was cautious at first, making sure Christopher stood behind me until I could make sure he was “friend” rather than “foe.”  It turned out he was a huge bundle of lovable mush and Christopher immediately fell head over heels in love with him.  

Every day, for almost a week, the dog reappeared. He had a collar but no name tag. With a bit of investigation we found out he belonged to a neighbor down the road. Even though Christopher had been asking for a puppy, the minute he laid his eyes on Max no puppy could compare. So when the neighbor told us we could keep him that was it! Chris quickly decided to change the dogs name from Bud (short for Budweiser Beer) and without hesitation he picked the name “Max” after the boy in his favorite book, “Where the Wild Things Are.”

Max was with us for twelve more years; a faithful companion to all, a guardian of Christopher, protector of the home, lover of freshly fallen snow and the best frisbee catcher around!  He could also create some of his very own "wild rumpus" whenever storms filled with thunder and lighting would race across the sky. Some nights Max would sleep at the top of the stairs, ready to challenge anyone who might enter the home in the middle of the night and try to make their way upstairs. Other nights, he would be right at the side of Christopher’s bed, making sure he was safe from “the wild things!”

Maurice Sendak's loveable "wild things" came to life for a young boy in a small town twenty years ago in the form of our beloved Max. Sendak was a man who left his mark in the literary world but more importantly, in the hearts and minds of millions of children (and adults) around the globe; certainly a life well-lived. May the wild rumpus he began so many years ago continue in our memories forever.

 “Live your life. Live your life. Live your life.”  ~ Maurice Sendak

Karen Chace 2012 ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at storybug@aol.com. Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.