In pottery class we put down old newspapers because, well, I guess because the class is held in the basement of an old school and they want to protect those tables from the ‘70’s, or maybe because the clay tends to stick to those tables from the ‘70’s but not to the newspaper. And newspaper is cheap, easily available, and disposable because nobody reads newspapers anymore—except me, that is, in pottery class, where at least once a session I point out how old the newspapers are and say, “Hey, the Titanic is missing!” Or, in reference to more recent events, I’ll say, “Hey, it says the Cubs might win the World Series. Yeah, right.”
And then the other night my eye was caught by a headline about an Olympic athlete in the biathlon who couldn’t go so she was sending her twin in her place.
I pointed it out to the guy across the table from me and I said, “Is that really a story? It sounds like a riddle.”
He laughed and said, “Yeah, whoa, we’ve got some Parent Trap action happening here.”
Suddenly my brain was making lightning-fast connections and my mouth blurted out, “Hayley Mills or Lindsay Lohan?”
He didn’t hesitate. “Oh, Hayley Mills, definitely.”
Let me pause for a moment here to explain to those who might be unfamiliar with some corners of the Disney oeuvre. The Parent Trap was a 1961 romantic comedy starring Hayley Mills as a pair of twins separated early in life when their parents divorce. By sheer coincidence they’re reunited at a summer camp, hatch a plan to switch places, and, spoiler alert, everyone lives happily ever after. In the ‘80’s there was a series of sequels starring bona fide triplets and a remake with Lindsay Lohan.
I didn’t see the original on its first release, mainly because I hadn’t been born yet, but I did have a paperback adaptation of the film—Disney being Disney of course no credit was given to Erich Kastner’s 1949 novel Lottie and Lisa–that included a cast list and some shots from the movie. Disney being Disney of course the camerawork is amazing enough that it’s hard to believe it’s really one actress playing both roles.
In fact one Saturday night The Parent Trap was featured on The Wonderful World Of Disney and the next day I got into an argument with the other kids in Sunday school because I knew Hayley Mills played both roles and the other kids didn’t believe me. Even my best friend turned on me. They all found the idea of films having such advanced special effects in 1961 laughable.
I finally gave up. All I could do was sit there and stew, knowing that someday they’d look back and know I was right. Someday they’d know I was far ahead of them.
Or more likely they’d forget the whole thing, which I should probably also do.
And that moment in pottery class was therapeutic. When the guy across from me knew what I was talking about that’s when I knew I was not alone. For a moment it felt like we were twins.
And, if you’ve seen The Parent Trap, you’ll know what I mean when I say I’m the one from California.