Frosty the Snowman

“Frosty the Snowman has traumatic appeal.

When I was a child, I had issues (I am thinking now in retrospect) with losses and leavings so I used to weep with immense sorrow at the song, Frosty the Snowman because at the end of the story, he melted away to nothing — and at the book (which I still have) because — ditto.

Also on New Year’s Eve because on TV on New Years Eve, the New Year was depicted as a kind of mean little arrogant baby, literally kicking out a fragile old man who represented the year gone by. I felt so sad and frightened at this mistreatment of this man after all he had given us all year. Of course Auld Lang Syne would send me into more tears because of its mournful refrain.

I wept at weddings (which I dislike to this day) because the bride was “given away” by her father which I thought horrible and barbaric — which from a child’s perspective (wondering if someone would just up and give her away to someone else), it was.

Sailing away: My mother had to bring me to the mainland to see specialists in California (to which we shortly thereafter moved and where I grew up) several times on ocean liners from Hawaii and we left my father and about 7000 relatives behind on the dock as the boat pulled away. They would play Aloha Oe which is a very sad song that echoed through the salt water of the sea — and my tears.

The impending loss I felt at airports (in our family, the entire tribe used to descend on the airport if one of us was going on even a week-long trip to wish the person well and see him/her off) was both unwarranted and severe — so again, waterworks for me baffling my parents and relatives.

Every June, I cried so hard when the school year ended I would be sick. I would never have that beloved teacher again (and they were all beloved) — and the beautifully congruent rhythm of lessons and learning, the walk to school and back through the seasons, the exhiliration of understanding and exploration, and the safe, quiet classroom were gone.

The bleak summer ahead seemed like a punishment, though it clearly had its joys — which eventually (about mid July) I would learn to appreciate. My mother made our summers delightful with library visits and art, violin and swimming lessons, shopping and lunch out in the City, picnics, museum excursions, visits with loved cousins and an abundance of free, pure, playtime. Sometimes a matinee. But it wasn’t school. A month might have been fine. Three, no.

The tears that fell, often fell unnoticed. I made no shout, no whine, no noise. I hung my head, covered my face, shut doors, turned away. Dignity in sorrow was (and remains) important.

I think about this little girl occasionally. Altogether a melancholy child. Or rather, because that is not quite true, a happy child with a melancholy streak.

Of course, I am not like that now. Not by a long shot. Sometimes I wish I were.”


And, I still find this one of the saddest children’s books ever:

~excerpt from a letter to a friend.

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