I don’t know how many times I’ve watched Miracle on 34th Street. Must be thousands. Though, admittedly, it’s been a while. A very long while. So I was surprised when a director friend of mine in the US contacted me asking if my husband and/or I could help him with something in the script.
Perhaps I just don’t remember because it’s been so long. Maybe it’s because I had no reason then to care. But when I read the two pages of the script he sent me, I was both baffled and pleasantly surprised.
The scene takes place in Macy’s department store where children are lining up to sit on Santa’s lap. The real Santa. A little girl is presented to Santa in tears. The girl does not speak English and has no friends, but she immediately recognizes the man in red: Sinterklaas. Wouldn’t you know it, the girl is an orphan from Holland. And good old Kris Kringle instantly begins to speak to the girl in her native tongue.
My duty was to help the little girl playing the orphan with her Dutch pronunciation and my husband’s was to come up with a Sinterklaas liedje for Kris and the little girl to sing. It was funny reading through the script with my new found Dutch skills. I giggled at the funny Americanized spellings and the grammatical errors. I felt giddy at the fact that I effortlessly understood and could say everything. And my husband dug up what is now my favorite song ever. Try getting that one out of your head!
Yesterday, we spent about 30 minutes on Skype with the girl playing the orphan in my friend’s production and her father. Her dad even edited and sent us an mp3 of my husband and I reading the lines between Kris and the girl! It felt wonderful to be helpful and share my new culture, language, and lifestyle with someone “back home.” I was able to show off a bit and you could tell that my husband was proud of how much I’ve learned and how far I’ve come.
Today, I’ll be heading to the MediaMarkt and digging around for a copy of Miracle on 34th Street if they have it. And later this week, we’ll watch it – particularly that scene in Macy’s – and, for the first time, I will hear and understand that scene as the story becomes an even bigger part of me.
Update: I ended up not being able to find either version of the film on DVD here in the Netherlands. But it was gifted to us for Christmas 2009 by my parents. Interestingly enough, the song my husband found is the exact same song they use in the film!
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