Thief! J’accuse!


Good gravy! Today I learned that an icon, someone we all look up to for her strength, pluckiness, perseverance, and belief in true love is a doggone thief. J’accuse! I have a book to write, but I must get this out or it will eat at me for the rest of my days. Or at least until I have another cup of coffee.

Look…I’ll be straight with you, my loyal readers: I am an author, yes, but I have a day job. And a night job. And I have family to take care of. But sometimes—just sometimes, mind—I have to take a night off and be a zombie. Usually said zombie behavior involves rewatching a movie I’ve seen a hundred times but have no problem watching a hundred-and-first time. (I almost typed “hundred and oneth” as a joke, but I’m trying to retain what little respect I might still have with you.)

Anyway, last night’s hundred-and-oneth watch (eh, respect is overrated) was The Sound of Music. Did you know it’s on Disney+? It is! You don’t have to wait for Easter to see it on network TV! (And when did it become an Easter movie, anyway?) After Hamilton, The Mandalorian, and a hundred-and-twoth rewatch of Tangled, I needed something else to watch on Disney+, and there it was!

Now, I really have seen The Sound of Music literally dozens of times—no hyperbole there. Another confession of mine is that I’m old enough to have seen it in theaters. No, not during its first run, but once upon a time, kids, before DVDs and even VCRs, sometimes movie studios would put feature films back in theaters years after their initial release. Sometimes it was the only way you’d get to see a movie you missed the first time around. Horrifically primitive, I know, but it was all we had. Now get off my lawn.

Anyway, one day, my aunt decided to take the fam to the movies. That didn’t normally happen in my Italian family—you just didn’t go to the movies, and certainly not with the whole family. But either my little old Italian grandmother wanted to see it because of the nuns, or my aunt thought she would, so off we went.

I was dazzled. It was sweeping, it was gorgeous, it was tuneful, it had an intermission! I felt so grown up. I think that was my first grownup movie musical ever (I must have been around eight years old, maybe?), and it blew me away. It made me a musical junkie, an addiction I have no intention of breaking even today. Didn’t make me want to be a nun, though. Sorry, Catholic family. Did, however, make me want to fall in love with a dashing captain and live happily ever after, singing all the way. (Seven stepchildren were subject to negotiation.) I didn’t marry a dashing captain and take on seven stepchildren, but I did become a romance writer, and I’ll bet anything The Sound of Music influenced me in that regard.

Now about that thievery thing. (J’accuse!) I was yesterday years old when I realized that Maria is a doggone thief! And I have screencap proof! Observe. (I don’t have to warn anybody about spoilers, do I? Come on, now.)

Quick synopsis for anyone who’s been living under a rock for several decades: Maria is kicked out of the abbey for goofing off and not behaving in a nun-like manner and goes to work for the Von Trapp family. Maria falls in love with the dad, the captain, and he with her. The captain’s insecure fiancée realizes this and convinces Maria to leave. She runs back to the abbey, but gets kicked out again by the Mother Superior who apparently believes in romantic love, no matter what her own vocation. (Hey, I’m not surprised. I went to a school run by the Sisters of Mercy, and we had a sister who used to read Harlequin romances—hidden under a decorative bookcover—when she proctored our study halls, so.)

After all this palaver, Maria goes back to the family, wearing a pretty blue dress.

Nice dress. Where’d you get it?

An unremarkable detail, unless you ask…where’d she get the dress? Early on, Maria mentions when a novitiate enters the abbey, they give all their clothes to charity, and she only had the one dress that was so ugly even the poor people didn’t want it. The captain bought her fabric and she made some dresses but obviously left them behind when she ran back to the abbey, thinking she’d just put on the black habit and be done with it for the rest of her life. So where did she get the blue dress?

From this chick right here!

Nice dress. Be a shame if somebody stole it.

Yep, just before Maria was called in to see the Mother Superior and get all “Climb Every Mountain” sing-lectured at, there was a new recruit in the office. Mother Superior has a line about taking her to the “robing room.” Which means to enter as a novitiate, she’d have to give up that pretty dress and put on the black stuff. And Maria pinched it! (My Fair Lady Julie Andrews callback for my musical theater peeps—heyyyy!)

That dress barely had the chance to get pitched into the Goodwill bag before Maria dove in after it. So…okay, she didn’t actually steal it. Like, she didn’t rip it off the poor innocent lamb’s back or anything. The dress was up for grabs, and she took it. (Hamilton reference just for fun.) The poor novitiate didn’t even get any lines in exchange for the dress! Bad form—they could at least have let her get her SAG card.

But…I mean…are people aware of this?? Is this common knowledge? Have I been in the dark all these years? All I know is now my childhood is forever altered by my realization last-freakin’-night that Maria was a light-fingered Louie who knew where to get the good stuff when she wanted to make an impression on Captain Von Trapp. Worked, too, because happily ever after and all that.

Yeah, this is what I do with my time when I should be writing my latest novel. But it needed to be said! Now I can go back to my manuscript with a clear conscience. Carry on!

Also? Just FYI my newly rereleased romcom Your New Best Friend is still 99 cents for Kindle for a few more days, and always free with Kindle Unlimited! Just in case you now have a hankering for some happily-every-after. No nuns in it, though.


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